University of Sydney: Wikis


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The University of Sydney
Latin: Universitas Sidneiensis
Motto Sidere mens eadem mutato (Latin)
Motto in English Literal: "The constellation is changed, [but] the disposition is the same" [1]

Meaning: The traditions of the older universities of the Northern Hemisphere are continued here in the Southern
Established 1850
Type Public
Endowment AU$829m
(31 December 2008)[2]
Chancellor Her Excellency Professor Marie Bashir, Lady Shehadie AC CVO[3]
Vice-Chancellor The Reverend Dr Michael Spence
Staff 3,081 (FTE academic, 2008)
Students 47,775 (2009)
Undergraduates 31,634 (2009)
Postgraduates 16,141 (2009)
Location Sydney, NSW, Australia
33°53′16″S 151°11′14″E / 33.88778°S 151.18722°E / -33.88778; 151.18722
Campus Urban, Parks
Colours Blue, Gold & Red                    
Affiliations Group of Eight, APRU, ASAIHL, WUN
Usyd new logo.png

The University of Sydney (informally Sydney University, USyd or simply Sydney) is the oldest university in Australia. It was established in Sydney in 1850. In 2009, the university had 47,775 students making it the second largest (behind Monash University) in Australia.[4]

The university has a number of small special-purpose satellite campuses as a result of annexes over the past 20 years, however the main campus is centred on the large Oxbridge-inspired grounds [5] which spread across the suburbs of Camperdown and Darlington on the south-western outskirts of the Sydney CBD.

The University of Sydney is a member of Australia's Group of Eight, Academic Consortium 21, the Association of Pacific Rim Universities (APRU) and the Worldwide Universities Network.



During 1848, in the New South Wales Legislative Council, William Wentworth proposed a plan to expand the existing Sydney College into a larger university. Wentworth argued that a state university was imperative for the growth of a society aspiring towards self-government, and that it would provide the opportunity for 'the child of every class, to become great and useful in the destinies of his country'. It would take two attempts on Wentworth's behalf, however, before the plan was finally adopted.

The university was established via the passage of the University of Sydney Act,[6] which was signed on 1 October 1850. Two years later, the university was inaugurated on 11 October 1852 in the Big Schoolroom of what is now Sydney Grammar School. The first principal was John Woolley. On 27 February 1858 the university received its Royal Charter from Queen Victoria, giving degrees conferred by the university rank and recognition equal to those given by universities in the UK.[7] By 1859, the university had moved to its current site in the Sydney suburb of Camperdown.

In 1858, the passage of the Electoral Act provided for the university to become a constituency for the New South Wales Legislative Assembly as soon as there were 100 graduates with higher degrees. This seat in Parliament was first filled in 1876, but was abolished in 1880 one year after its second Member, Edmund Barton, was elected to the Legislative Assembly.

Most of the estate of John Henry Challis was bequeathed to the university, which received a sum of £200,000 in 1889. This was thanks in part due to William Montagu Manning (Chancellor 1878–1895) who argued against the claims by British Tax Commissioners. The following year seven professorships were created; anatomy, zoology, engineering, history, law, logic & mental philosophy, and modern literature.

The main quadrangle
Sydney University in the early 1870s, as viewed from Parramatta Road.

Under the terms of the Higher Education (Amalgamation) Act 1989 (NSW)[8] the following bodies were incorporated into the university in 1990:

Prior to 1981, the Sydney Institute of Education was the Sydney Teachers College.

Front lawns

The Orange Agricultural College (OAC) was originally transferred to the University of New England under the Act, but then transferred to the University of Sydney in 1994, as part of the reforms to the University of New England undertaken by the University of New England Act 1993[9] and the Southern Cross University Act 1993.[10] In January 2005, the University of Sydney transferred the OAC to Charles Sturt University.

The New England University College was founded as part of the University of Sydney in 1938, and separated to become the University of New England in 1954.

In 2001, University of Sydney Chancellor Dame Leonie Kramer was forced to resign by the university's governing body.[11] In 2003, Nick Greiner, a former premier of New South Wales, resigned from his position as chair of the university's Graduate School of Management because of academic protests against his simultaneous chairmanship of British American Tobacco (Australia). Subsequently, his wife, Kathryn Greiner, resigned in protest from the two positions she held at the university as chair of the Sydney Peace Foundation and a member of the executive council of the Research Institute for Asia and the Pacific.[12] In 2005, the Public Service Association of NSW and the Community and Public Sector Union were in dispute with the university over a proposal to privatise security at the main campus (and the Cumberland campus.)[13]

In February 2007, the university agreed to acquire a portion of the land granted to St John's College to develop the Sydney Institute of Health and Medical Research. As a Catholic institution, in handing over the land St John's placed limitations on the type of medical research that can be conducted on the premises, seeking to preserve the essence of the College mission. This has caused concern among some groups, who argue this could interfere with scientific medical research. However this is rejected by the university administration because the building is not intended for this purpose and there are many other facilities in close proximity where such research can take place.

At the start of 2010, the University adopted a new logo and styling of its coat of arms. It retains the same University Arms, however takes on a more modern look. There have been stylistic changes, the main one being the coat of arm's mantling, the shape of the escutcheon (shield), the removal of the motto scroll, and also others more subtle within the Arms itself such as the mane and fur of the lion, the number of lines in the open book, and the colouration.[14] The Coat of Arms continues to be used for more formal purposes, such as on testamurs.[citation needed]

University rankings

Sydney has been ranked amongst the top 100 universities in the world by various sources. The UK’s Times Higher Education Supplement World University Rankings published in October 2008 ranked Sydney 17th in the world for Arts and Humanities, 27th for social sciences, 41st for technology, 44th for natural sciences and 27th for biomedicine, confirming its 3rd highest position in terms of its score on the Academic Peer Review (rankings for 5 major subject areas) among Australian Universities.[15][16][17] The University of Sydney as a whole has been consistently named between 31st and 40th worldwide and 3rd nationwide (following ANU's 16-23rd and Melbourne's 19-27th) from 2004 to 2007[18] in that same publication's league table. In addition, the University of Sydney has also been constantly ranked between 97th and 150th worldwide and 3rd (following ANU's 50-59th and Melbourne's 73-82nd) among Australian Universities from 2004 to 2008 by the Academic Ranking of World Universities [19] published by the Shanghai Jiao Tong University. This prominent position is also confirmed by an annual ranking survey published by the Higher Education Evaluation and Accreditation Council of Taiwan (HEEACT),[20] which uses a rigorous ranking methodology of evaluating the performance on the scientific papers published by the university and has placed The University of Sydney top 100 worldwide and second only to the University of Melbourne within Australia since its publication in 2007.

In a recent survey, Times Higher Education Supplement worldwide ranking of universities released in October 2009, the University of Sydney, tied with the University of Melbourne, was placed 36th overall in the world, securing its top-3 position with ANU and Melbourne among Australian institutions.[21]

Former Australian prime minister John Howard graduated from Sydney University in 1961

Notable alumni

Throughout its history, University of Sydney alumni have made significant contributions to Australia and beyond. Australian leaders who have graduated from the university include two governors-general, five prime ministers, four chief justices of the High Court of Australia, and twenty other justices of the High Court, as well as the first president of the United Nations General Assembly and three Nobel laureates.

Individual alumni include:


A panoramic photograph of the Physics Building from across playing fields called The Square.
The Physics Building houses the School of Physics, and spans one side of the playing fields called The Square.
Law Building houses the law faculty and the law library.

The university comprises sixteen faculties:[22]

The four largest faculties by (2009) student enrolments are (in descending order): Arts; Economics and Business; Health Sciences; Science. In 2009, together they comprise 57% of the university's students. Each contains a student enrolment over 4,850, and they are indeed the only such faculties.[23] It is notable that the Faculty of Economics and Business, disproportionately to other faculties consists of about 49% international students, whilst the Sydney-university-wide average rate is about 22% (2008).

Endowments and research grants

One of several statues at the university.
Tainted glass of McLaurin Hall retelling Australian history.

The University of Sydney currently has financial endowments totaling $829 million.

Latest figures show that the University of Sydney has received the highest amount of research grants, which may demonstrate its research competitiveness and the size of its students and staff body.[4] The University of Sydney also has the second largest (behind Monash University) body of students and researchers among Australian universities.

The University of Sydney secured more than $46 million in funding in the 2007 round of National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Project Grant, Capacity Building and Fellowship awards, the largest allocation to any university in the state. The James Jones foundation has announced the 2007 recipient of the bicentennial award in university research linked to applied agricultural economics. The award includes various grant and research opportunities that may be taken up by both staff members and senior students. Five of the university's affiliated medical research facilities secured $38 million in the Australian government's 2006 budget, part of $163 million made available for a variety of development and expansion projects.


Main campus

The main campus is spread across two inner-city suburbs of Sydney: Camperdown and Darlington.

Originally housed in what is now Sydney Grammar School, in 1855, the government granted the university land in Grose Farm, three kilometres from the city, which is now the main Camperdown campus. The architect Edmund Blacket designed the original Neogothic sandstone Quadrangle and Great Tower buildings, which were completed in 1862. The rapid expansion of the university in the mid-20th century resulted in the acquisition of land in Darlington across City Road. The Camperdown/Darlington campus houses the university's administrative headquarters, and the Faculties of Arts, Science, Education and Social Work, Pharmacy, Veterinary Science, Economics and Business, Architecture, and Engineering. It is also the home base of the large Faculty of Medicine, which has numerous affiliated teaching hospitals across the state.

The main campus is also the focus of the university's student life, with the student-run University of Sydney Union (known as 'the Union') in possession of three buildings - Wentworth, Manning and Holme Buildings. These buildings house a large proportion of the university's catering outlets, and provide space for recreational rooms, bars and function centres. One of the largest activities organised by the Union is the Orientation Week (or 'O-week'), centring on stalls set up by clubs and societies on the Front Lawns.

The university is currently undertaking a large capital works program with the aim of revitalising the campus and providing more office, teaching and student space.[24] The program will see the amalgamation of the smaller science and technical libraries into a larger library, and the construction of a central administration and student services building along City Road. A new building for the School of Information Technologies opened in late 2006, and has been located on a site adjacent to the Seymour Centre. The busy Eastern Avenue thoroughfare has been transformed into a pedestrian plaza, and a new footbridge has been built over City Road. The new home for the Sydney Law School, located alongside Fisher Library on the site of the old Edgeworth David and Stephen Roberts buildings, has been completed.

The Main Quadrangle buildings in panorama.
The Main Quadrangle buildings.

From 2007, the university will also use space in the former Eveleigh railway yards, just to the south of Darlington, for examination purposes.

The campus is well served by public transport, being a short walk from Redfern Railway Station and served by buses on the neighbouring Parramatta Road and City Road.[25]

Satellite campuses

Clock Tower on the eastern side of the main quadrangle
  • Mallett Street campus: The Mallett Street campus is home of the Faculty of Nursing. As of 2005, the Faculty no longer offers undergraduate Bachelor of Nursing programs. A new Master of Nursing program (M.N) has been introduced, with its first intake of students in 2006. Other hybrid programs such as the Bachelor of Arts/Master of Nursing, Bachelor of Science/Master of Nursing, Bachelor of Applied Science/Master of Nursing, Bachelor of Sports and Exercise Science/Master of Nursing have also been introduced.
  • Cumberland campus: Formerly an independent institution (the Cumberland College of Health Sciences), the Cumberland campus in the Sydney suburb of Lidcombe was incorporated into the university as part of the higher education reforms of the late 1980s. It is home to the Faculty of Health Sciences, which covers various allied health disciplines, including physiotherapy, speech pathology, radiation therapy, occupational therapy, as well as exercise science and health information management.
  • The Sydney Dental Hospital located in Surry Hills and the Westmead Centre for Oral Health which is attached to Westmead Hospital. See: Sydney Faculty of Dentistry.
  • St James campus: This building in Phillip Street is near the Supreme Court and was the location of the Sydney Law School until 2009. The law school is now primarily located on the Camperdown campus in a purpose-built facility, with postgraduate programs still run from the St James campus.
  • Orange Agricultural College: Located at Orange in rural NSW, the Orange Agricultural College joined in 1994. Orange campus was principally the domain of the former Faculty of Rural Management; however other undergraduate courses from the Faculties of Arts, Science, Nursing and Pharmacy were also taught at Orange. The Orange Campus and the Faculty of Rural Management were transferred to Charles Sturt University in 2005.
  • Camden campus: Located on Sydney's southwest rural fringe, the Camden campus houses research farms for agriculture and veterinary science.
  • The Narrabri Plant Research Centre is located at Narrabri, near the Queensland border.
  • Taylors College: Located at Waterloo, New South Wales, NSW, this college is operated by the university for its Foundation Program, catering to international students wishing to enter the university.

Facilities and services

University of Sydney Library

Fisher Library, the main building of the University of Sydney Library.

The University of Sydney Library consists of thirteen individual libraries located across the university's various campuses. According to the library's publications, it is the largest academic library in the southern hemisphere;[26] university statistics show that in 2007 the collection consisted of just under 5 million physical volumes and a further 300,000 e-books, for a total of approximately 5.3 million items.[27] The Rare Books Library possesses several extremely rare items, including one of the two extant copies of the Gospel of Barnabas and a first edition of Isaac Newton's Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica.

Museums and galleries

  • Nicholson Museum of Antiquities contains the largest and most prestigious collection of antiquities in Australia. It is also the country's oldest university museum, and features ancient artefacts from Egypt, the Middle East, Greece, Rome, Cyprus and Mesopotamia, collected by the University over many years and added to by recent archaeological expeditions.
  • The Macleay Museum is named after Alexander Macleay, whose collection of insects begun in the late eighteenth century was the basis upon which the museum was founded. It has developed into an extraordinary collection of natural history specimens, ethnographic artifacts, scientific instruments and historic photographs.
  • The University Art Collection was founded in the 1860s and contains more than 2,500 pieces, constantly growing through donation, bequests, and acquisition. It is housed in several different places, including the Sir Hermann Black Gallery and the War Memorial Art Gallery.

Residential colleges

Wesley College
St. John College.
Quad of Sancta Sophia College

The university has a number of residential college and halls of residence each with its own distinctive style and facilities. All offer tutorial support and a wide range of social and sporting activities in a supportive communal environment. Five colleges are affiliated with religious denominations and while this gives each of these colleges a special character, students of any denomination or religion are eligible for admission. Unlike some residential colleges in British or American universities, the colleges are not affiliated with any specific discipline of study.

There is also a university-affiliated housing cooperative, Stucco.

Student organisations

Orientation week held at the lawn.
Holme Building is one of the centres for student activities.
  • University of Sydney Union: The University of Sydney Union (USU) is the oldest and largest university union in Australia. USU provides a range of activities, programs, services and facilities geared at giving students the university experience. This involves delivering a huge Clubs and Societies program, a varied entertainment program, student opportunities, a range of catering and retail services plus buildings and recreational spaces for students, staff and visitors.
  • Sydney Uni Sport and Fitness: Formerly known as the Sydney University Sports Union and Sydney University Women's Sports Association, Sydney University Sport is one of Australia's largest tertiary sporting bodies. It currently manages and administers 42 sport and recreation clubs, organises sporting and recreation events, and offers student and non-student members a comprehensive range of sporting facilities.

The SRC and Union are both governed by student representatives, who are elected by students each year. Elections for the USU Board of Directors occur in first semester; elections for the SRC President, and for members of the Students' Representative Council itself, occur in second semester, along with a separate election for the editorial board of the student newspaper Honi Soit, which is published by the SRC. The elections are usually closely contested, and result in much of the main campus being covered with chalk messages from the various candidates. However, some complaints have been made in the pages of Honi Soit and other publications about the organisations' claims to represent the student body, citing perennially low voter turnouts and the general apathy of much of the university population to student politics.

The future of these organisations was believed to be under a shadow with the passage of legislation implementing voluntary student unionism in late 2005. The legislation prohibited the compulsory collection of fees from students, which had been the customary means of funding student organisations, after the beginning of Semester 2 of 2006. Although the organisations continue to be concerned about their long-term financial viability, they have secured significant funding from the university to partially make up for lost revenue.




See also



  1. ^ "The Motto - Heraldry - The University of Sydney". 2009-11-06. Retrieved 2010-02-22. 
  2. ^ University of Sydney - 2008 Annual Report
  3. ^ Faculty alumna elected University Chancellor, Retrieved on 2007-06-02.
  4. ^ a b Facts and Figures - About the University
  5. ^ Howells, T. (2007) University of Sydney Architecture. Watermark Press. Boorowa, NSW. ISBN 0-94928-475-0
  6. ^ "Documenting Democracy". Retrieved 2010-02-22. 
  7. ^ Royal Charter of the University of Sydney
  8. ^ "HIGHER EDUCATION (AMALGAMATION) ACT 1989". 2006-06-20. Retrieved 2010-02-22. 
  9. ^ "UNIVERSITY OF NEW ENGLAND ACT 1993". 2008-09-22. Retrieved 2010-02-22. 
  10. ^ "SOUTHERN CROSS UNIVERSITY ACT 1993". 2008-09-22. Retrieved 2010-02-22. 
  11. ^ Australian Broadcasting Corporation - PM, Dame Leonie Kramer Resigns, Retrieved on 2007-01-06.
  12. ^ Sydney Morning Herald, Kathryn Follows Nick Out of Door in Protest Sydney Morning Herald, 8 November 2003. Retrieved on 2007-01-06.
  13. ^ Public Service Association of NSW, Sydney University Petition on Security Services, Retrieved on 2007-01-06.
  14. ^ "News | The University of Sydney". 2010-01-08. Retrieved 2010-02-22. 
  15. ^ "The university of sydney". Top Universities. 2009-11-12. Retrieved 2010-02-22. 
  16. ^ Australia's First University - About the University on University of Sydney website. Retrieved on 2007-01-03.
  17. ^ Newshub: National University of Singapore's News Portal, NUS Accorded World's Top 20 Universities Ranking, Retrieved on 2007-01-03. See the tables for the University of Sydney's rankings.
  18. ^ "Times Higher Education". Times Higher Education. 2007-11-09. Retrieved 2010-02-22. 
  19. ^ "Academic Ranking of World Universities". ARWU. Retrieved 2010-02-22. 
  20. ^ "2008 Performance Ranking of Scientific Papers for World Universities". 2008-01-31. Retrieved 2010-02-22. 
  21. ^ "THE - QS World University Rankings 2009". Top Universities. 2009-11-12. Retrieved 2010-02-22. 
  22. ^ About the University: Faculties
  23. ^ [1]
  24. ^ "Campus 2010 + Building for the Future"
  25. ^ University of Sydney, Faculty of Education & Social Work, "About Sydney". Retrieved 30 March 2007.
  26. ^ Hanfling, Su (2005-10). "A Library for the 21st Century: new generations, new models" (PDF). Discover Newsletter. University of Sydney Library. Retrieved 2008-02-29. 
  27. ^ "The University of Sydney Statistics 2008" (PDF). University of Sydney. Retrieved 2009-01-14. 


  • Williams, Bruce. Liberal education and useful knowledge: a brief history of the University of Sydney, 1850–2000, Chancellor's Committee, University of Sydney, 2002. ISBN 1-86487-439-2

External links

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