previous
next
view facsimile

July 26.

Ink is too valuable, &, and so is time, so I must put down my impressions of Sydney University in pencil. I do so much wish it were finer, as the view from there must be lovely, but one could only see a few towers & chimneys through the thick haze of rain. They have not had a rainfall like this for many years, & many places which are usually green fields are converted into lakes. We splashed through the streets with Thomas & eventually found     a steam train which rushed us through what seemed interminable suburbs, where parks and dust heaps, huge stores & tiny dwelling houses, one storey high, miles of hoardings with advertisements of purely local productions boldly purporting to be in use all over the world — were mixed up in bewildering confusion. The suburbs extend to & beyond the gates of the University gardens, which no longer are in the country.
They are well planted & plenty of hibiscus, trumpet ash, laurustinuslaurestinus & other flowering shrubschrubs were out. The older part of the building is by far the best. The medical school, a large separate building in the sameview facsimile

style, is a mongrel imitation, the Macleay museum being a terrible edifice in brown brick which is being smothered with ivy as fast as possible. The tin roof, however, nothing can hide. The Schools of Chemistry, Physics & Engineering are in low somewhat shed-like buildings, & at the back there are even wooden & corrugated iron erections (some of them devoted to the lady students) mixed up with tennis-grounds and asphaltasphalte paths, which give a very un-scholastic appearance to that part of it. The more temporary ones will however be swept away if Government grants the £30.000 necessary to complete the side of the Quadrangle opposite to the Great Hall. This Mr. Barff the Registrar who took us round & showedshewed us everything with the greatest kindness told us they had great hopes of commencing next year. I said I hoped they would also complete the cloisters. They allow golden ivy to grow up the buttresses of the hall which give it a more venerable appearance than the rest of the main building, butview facsimile

the coats of arms between each are not going to be covered up. I saw the well-known one, on the right of the big door of the hall outside, and also in one of the windows in the entrance hall, where some of the tapestry, & pictures given by Pater are also hung.

The great hall is very fine indeed, the roof beautiful. The picture at home does not give a good idea of it, as it is very dark, the large windows being all filled with coloured glass. Pater's portrait occupies the left hand side of the end wall, in the place of honour, & there are various prints of it in other parts of the building. It is too much in the dark to be well seen, & though strikingly like Syd, is not an altogether good likeness, the head being so small as to give the impression of a very tall man. We recognised the portrait of Mr. Denison and were shownshewn that of Sir W. Manning & other people. We saw some of the lecture rooms & then Mr. Barff took us to the museum where every thing seemed to be labelled withview facsimile

Pater's name, & there was a general idea of him pervading everything. This beautiful collection is not seen to the best advantage, as it occupies 1 large & two smaller [?] rooms, but the things are beautifully mounted & most carefully arranged. The new buildings will consist of a Museum below & new Library above. For the splendid collection of books they possess the present premises are very much cramped. The Etruscan vases in Pater's collection cannot be seen to advantage being too near together. They are most beautiful & varied, and the Egyptian collection is wonderfully interesting. I do not think two such enthusiasticenthousiastic visitors as ourselves can have surveyed them for a long time. Mr. Barff says the Greek & Roman things are the most interesting to the general visitors. The paintings on the mummy covers are as fresh as possible, & Charlie was delighted with them & little Etruscan ossuary [?] urns and the inscriptions & every thing. We are going again when we return if possible.view facsimile

They are very proud of them, though I doubt if many people know much about them! We were loathloth to leave the Museum, but there was so much to see, & we got home very late, as it was. The Macleay museum of Natural History has some good specimens, but is not well arranged. Several huge casts of Egyptian antiquities (waiting for the new buildings) mixed up with the stuffed animals & skeletons give it a somewhat grotesque appearance. While we were here, a violent storm of rain descended with a noise like thunder on the iron roof, and when it has over we rushed through mud and puddles to the Medical School. They are very proud of this and the stained glass in the windows thereof. I have no doubt it is a most convenient & suitable building, but it is extremely hideous. There is an excellent pathological museum, with rather too many horrors for my taste, and we also saw the huge lecture rooms, & well fitted laboratories, & declined to go into the dissecting room!. The Engineering Schoolview facsimile

interested me very much, as did that of Chemistry where we were introduced to Professor LiversidgeLiversage& much enjoyed seeing some most beautiful specimens of gold in nuggets, which he brought out for our benefit. When sawn through, the finest of these (about 3 inches across) presented the appearance of crystallinecrystaline formation, all in the purest gold. He took us to see the furnaces for refining & the gold, & we also saw the Museum, with good specimens of minerals and a quantity of the copper sheathing of a vessel, which the professor told us contained minute particles of gold, & which he was going to test.

Professor Threlfall showedshewed us the Chemistry School, & described his interview with Pater in London, which seems to have much amused him — and then last of all we inspected the Biology school, which I think pleased me most of all the new part. It is only a tiny low building with a creeper covered verandah, but is most compact & well arranged, & the little museum perfect in its way. Mr. Barff kindly promised to get one or two photographs doneview facsimile

for me to take to Pater, as I did not see any good ones of the University in Sydney.

previous
next