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Places of interest

State of the art architecture meets a rich heritage on our campus

We are continually transforming our campus, which means the sandstone buildings of our past now stand alongside the contemporary and modern.

We may be known for our sandstone ‘Hogwarts-style’ buildings and the neatly trimmed lawns of our Quad, but many other buildings make up our campuses.

The new Law School building received rave reviews and won several architectural awards when it was completed in 2009.

Designed by architects Francis-Jones Morehen Thorp, Sydney Morning Herald architecture writer Elizabeth Farrelly called it: “A serene yet commanding presence on the campus edge, a town-gown interface whose glorious transparent walkways and subtle generosities effortlessly dignify staff, students and visitors.”

The Charles Perkins Centre is equally as impressive. The $353 million purpose built research facility combines the past and future perfectly.

Its central full height atrium and iconic sweeping white staircase give a sense of space, while its sandstone cladding gives a respectful nod to the university’s past.

That past is enshrined in the buildings that make up the Quad, including the Great Hall designed in the Tudor Perpendicular Gothic tradition by Edmund Blacket in 1854.

Many of our alumni will have strong memories of graduation day there although the rest of the year it hosts productions, festivals, banquets, public lectures, balls, book launches and a vast array of social and academic events.

Art and war

The Nicholson Museum is the oldest university museum in Australia and was founded by Sir Charles Nicholson, our second chancellor, in 1860. It now boasts nearly 30,000 artistic and archaeological pieces from around the world.

Nicholson was also instrumental in helping to build the University Art Gallery collection, donating 30 paintings, sculptures and other works it in 1865.

However, art isn’t something that needs to hang in a gallery. The famous Graffiti Tunnel, which was originally part of student protests against the Vietnam War, has become a living work of art.

“If archaeologists could scrape away each layer, recording as they went, an extraordinarily rich vein of the University's social life would spring to life," wrote Trevor Howells, senior lecturer, in his book University of Sydney Architecture.

The sound of music

Located in the Quad you’ll find the Carillon, a baroque organ and among the largest musical instruments in the world.

On Anzac Day 1928 it was dedicated as the University of Sydney War Memorial Carillon in the clock tower in honour of the 197 undergraduates, graduates and staff who gave their lives in the First World War.

Carillon recitals are still given on Tuesdays during semester from 1pm-2pm. The main recital is every Sunday from 2pm-2.45pm and you can tour the instrument tower immediately afterwards. While the organ itself might have a long history, our recitalists often opt for the more contemporary, including a recent tribute to Game of Thrones. 

You can even send requests – contact our carillionist to ask for a favourite piece of music to be played.

Our carillionist and organist

Amy Johansen performs on the organ in the Great Hall and on the 54-bell War Memorial Carillon for graduation ceremonies (over 60 each year), recitals and special events, and teaching carillon. She leads a team of 10 honorary carillonists who share the playing duties.
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