The interior of the Great Hall has already been well documented, as it should. From the wonderful stained glass windows, the lighting (permanent lighting was not available in the hall until 1884), statues, busts and portraits, the dais tapestry, and, the marble floor.

For more information on any of the above consult Stained Glass and Stone by Bertha McKenzie (University of Sydney, 1989)

Carved Angels

The hammerbeam roof resembles the roof of Westminster Hall, London. The hammerbeams are decorated with twelve carved wooden figures of angels. James Johnstone Barnet (1827-1904), Clerk of Works to the University in 1859, and later Colonial Architect of New South Wales, is credited with the design and painting of the roof decorations.

The figures to the left and right above the dais bear scrolls inscribed Scientia inflat, Charitas aedificat (Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth), and Timor Domini, Principium Sapientiae (The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom).

The other ten angels carry books inscribed with symbols referring to the Arts and Sciences over which they preside. Grammar has a papyrus roll, Dialectic has Aristotle’s diagram of the three syllogistic figures, Poetry has a harp, Ethics has a St. Mary’s lily, Metaphysics has a symbol of the Deity, Arithmetic has an abacus, Geometry has the forty-seventh proposition of the first book of Euclid, Astronomy has a star, Music has a lyre, and Physics has an ancient air pump.