Students at the University of Sydney

Students in the early years

This webpage provides brief information about the beginnings / establishment of the Faculty of Law, and photos of its early students and graduates.

View more information and photos about early women Law students.

On this webpage:


Click on images for enlargement.


FACULTY OF LAW 1890 (now Sydney Law School)

Milestones

1856:  Senate introduced a by-law to establish a Faculty of Law but its work was mainly examining rather than teaching. 
1864: A Board of Examiners was appointed and by 1886, nine candidates had been awarded a Bachelor of Law and sixteen a Doctor of Law.
1890: Pitt Cobbett was appointed to the first Chair of Law.
  The proposed five-year Bachelor of Law course was changed by Cobbett so that candidates began the 1st of three years in Law after the completion of two years in Arts, except that students who had graduated in Arts could go straight to the final two years of Law.
  There were fourteen students in first cohort of the new Bachelor of Law  course: Edwin Beilby, Albert Creagh BA, Herbert Curlewis BA, Henry Davis BA, G Fitzgerald Evans, H Hale, Arthur Kelynack BA, Gustav Leibius BA, Frederick Lloyd BA, Sidney Mack BA, William McIntyre BA, John Meillon MA, A S Perks and Arthur Saddington BA.
  There were five teaching staff (4 were part-time lecturers).
1891: Pitt Cobbett became Dean of the Faculty of Law, which marked the commencement of the Faculty as we know it today.
1892: The first graduates of the Bachelor of Law course were Arthur Kelynack (Second Class Honours), John Meillon (Second Class Honours), Herbert Curlewis (Third Class Honours) and Sidney Mack (Third Class Honours).
1894: George Flannery BA graduated Bachelor of Law with First Class Honours and the University Medal.
1896: The Law School moved to No 174 Selbourne Chambers, a 3-storey building on the site of the present Selbourne Chambers in Phillip Street.
1897: Albert Creagh from the first cohort graduated Bachelor of Law.
1899: Ada Evans was the first woman Law student.
1901: Colin Davidson graduated Bachelor of Law, and in 1927 became the first Law School graduate to become a Judge of the Supreme Court of NSW.
1902: Ada Evans graduated Bachelor of Law but was denied the right to enter the profession until 1918.
1914: The Law School moved to the former Wigram Chambers in Phillip Street (now demolished).
1918: Women were granted the right to enter the profession under the Women's Legal Status Act.
1938: A 13-storey building for the Law School and tenants was erected and opened in the city. It contained a well-appointed law library occupying three floors.
1969: The Law School moved again, this time into a building of some 16 storeys bounded by Phillip, King and Elizabeth Streets, now known as the ‘St James Campus’.
2009: The Faculty, now referred to as the Sydney Law School, moved into its new state-of-the-art building on the Camperdown Campus.
2010: The Faculty had 2,503 student enrolments, more than half (1,406)  of whom were women.

Gallery

In the 1890s
Professor Pitt Cobbett

Professor Pitt Cobbett, appointed to the first Chair of Law in 1890, photo G3_224_0685, University of Sydney Archives.

Arthur James Kelynack

Arthur Kelynack was one of the first four Bachelor of Law graduates from the new Faculty of Law in 1892, photo, 'The Sydney Morning Herald', 8 May 1923, National Library of Australia.

In the early 1900s
The first woman Law graduate 1902, Ada Evans

Ada Evans was the first female Law graduate at the University, in 1902, photo G3_224_1647, University of Sydney Archives.

Vernon  Haddon Treatt a Law student at the University at the outbreak of WWI.

Vernon Treatt was at St Paul's College 1915-16 while studying for a BA. In 1916 he interrupted his studies and enlisted as a Gunner in the Royal Australian Artillery, serving in France from 1917-19, and being awarded the Military Medal. After the war, he graduated BA in 1920 and resumed his law studies, becoming NSW Rhodes Scholar in 1920, photo, courtesy of 'juris diction', Summer 2010.

The Law School occupied the former Wigram Chambers in Phillip Street in 1914

The Law School occupied the former Wigram Chambers in Phillip Street in 1914, photo G3_224_0967 taken in 1968, University of Sytdney Archives.

In the 1920s
The Law School Football fifteen 1920

The Law School Football fifteen 1920: Allen; Curlewis; York; Hersheim; Stuckey; Hill; Heron; Loxton; Treatt; Mitchell; Rosebery; Phillps; Newton; Stevenson; Walters; Wilson; Harvey; Street, photo G3_224_0928, University of Sydney Archives.

The Law School Rowing eight 1921

The Law School Rowing eight 1921. From left: John Mant, Adrian Curlewis, Henry Holt, Alan Mansfield, Bernardine Burnes, ?, Frederick Berne, ?, Kenneth Hunter, Leslie Herron and David Hunter, photo G3_224_0929, University of Sydney Archives.

In the 1930s
A Law School float in the 1938 Commem Day Procession

A Law School float in the 1938 Commem Day Procession, photo, Mitchell Library, State Library of NSW, Digital order number: hood_18216.

The proposed University Chambers, 1937 

The proposed University Chambers
 in Elizabeth Street, to be at the rear
of the University building in
Phillip Street, photo, The Sydney
Morning Herald, 13 April 1937
,
National Library of Australia.

 

The Law Library in University Chambers, 1938

The Law Library occupied three floors
in the new 13-storey building,
University Chambers,
 for the Law School and tenants,
which was erected and
opened in 1938,
photo, The Sydney Law School
Reports newsletter, October 2005.


In the 1940s
The Law Ball held at The Trocadero in 1947 or 1948

The Law Ball held at The Trocadero, George Street, Sydney, in 1947 or 1948, The Sydney Law School Reports newsletter, October 2004.

In the 1950s
Andrew Rogers, Janette Clarke, Mary Cummins and Warren Nicholl at the 1954 Law Ball at the Trocadero

Andrew Rogers, Janette Clarke, Mary Cummins and Warren Nicholl at the 1954 Law Ball at the Trocadero, photo from The Sun-Herald, 25 July 1954, National Library of Australia.

At the 1956 Law Ball

Mr and Mrs Tom Magney jun in front of the dummy figure which stood in the foyer of Trocadero at the 1956 Law Ball which was attended by more than 1000 guests, photo from The Australian Women's Weekly, 8 August 1956, National Library of Australia.

Sydney Law School students 1958

Sydney Law School students Malcolm McLelland (standing right) (in second year) won 1st prize in the Peter Mitchell Will Quest in 1958, and Murray Wilcox (seated) (in 4th year) won 2nd prize, photo, The Australian Women's Weekly, 14 May 1958, National Library of Australia.

In the 1960s
1968

From left, Karel Kearney, Peter O'Connor and Diana King at the Sydney University Law Society's "Masked and Candlelight" Ball in July 1965, photo, The Australian Women's Weekly, 7 July 1965, National Library of Australia. About 1500 guests attended the ball held at the Trocadero.

The Law School in the city, corner of King and Phillip Streets, opened in 1969

The Law School, on the corner of King and Phillip Streets, which opened in 1969, photo, The Sydney Law School Reports newsletter, October 2004.

The Law School in the city, corner of King and Phillip Streets

Photo, The Sydney Law School Reports newsletter, volume 2 2006.

In the 1980s
Life experience at Marrickville Legal aid, 1980

Life experience at Marrickville Legal aid, 1980, photo, University of Sydney Archives

Today
Around the Law School in 2003

Around the Law School in 2003, photo, The Sydney Law School Reports newsletter, April 2003.

The Sydney Law Review 2003

Poster for the Sydney Law Review 2003, photo, The Sydney Law School Reports newsletter, October 2003.

Preparing for the new building on campus

Preparing for the new building on campus, photo, The Sydney Law School Reports newsletter, 2006 vol 1.

Preparing for the new building on campus

Preparing for the new building on campus, photo, The Sydney Law School Reports newsletter, 2007 vol 1.

The new Law Building on the Camperdown campus, which opened in 2009

The new Law Building on the Camperdown campus, which opened in 2009, photo, University of Sydney News.

The new Law Building

The new Law Building, photo, Jurist·Diction (Summer 2010).

A Law lecture

A Law lecture, photo, Jurist·Diction (Winter 2011).

blackacre 2011

First published in 1937, 'blackacre' is the yearbook dedicated exclusively to final year students, photo and 'blackacre 2011', courtesy of the SULS website.

Moot win in 2011

A team of Sydney Law School students beat 130 other competing teams to be named 2011 World Champions in the Philip C Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition, photo, University of Sydney News.

Law prizewinners 2011

On 26 May 2011, the Sydney Law School held its annual Prize Giving Ceremony to celebrate the achievements of outstanding students, photo, Jurist·Diction (Winter 2011).

Information sources
  • 'A History of the University of Sydney, Vol 1, 1850 - 1939', by Clifford Turney, Ursula Bygott and Peter Chippendale
  • The Faculty of Law
  • National Library of Australia historic newspapers
  • University of Sydney Calendar Archive


Lis Bergmann, 2012