Conferring Degrees & Commemoration

The first degrees conferred in 1856 were held in the building previously known as Sydney College which is now Sydney Grammar School. This was where the University was located before it moved to its current location.

For images of honorary awards please click here

When the University conferred its first undergraduate degrees on 18 February 1856, the ceremony was described as “the Encaenia or annual Commemoration of the founding of the University”. In 1859 the Senate decided that ‘Commemoration’ would be used to refer to the public occasion when the names of University benefactors were announced as had been long done at Oxford.

The first of these occasions was combined with the conferring of degrees in the Great Hall in July 1859: The Registrar, Hugh Kennedy read the names of benefactors and their gifts, and the Provost (later Chancellor), Sir Charles Nicholson, conferred the degrees.
(Australia’s First. A History of the University of Sydney, Vol 1, 1850-1939 by C Turney, U Bygott & P Chippendale (Hale & Ironmonger Pty Ltd, Sydney, 1991)

The records of the Centenary Celebrations Committee are held by the University Archives.