University of Sydney - review by Rusty Compass
Sydney | see and do guide

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University of Sydney

| 09 Mar 2021
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University of Sydney
Sydney University, Parramatta Rd, Camperdown
09 Mar 2021

Sydney University is Australia's oldest university. Founded in 1850, it is one of a handful of Australian universities that evokes the atmosphere of the grand British universities it was modelled on. The campus is worth a visit but the real attraction for travellers is the newly opened Chau Chak Wing Museum. Check out the museum, it's free, and then take a walk around Sydney's most impressive university campus.

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In 1850, Sydney was in a rush to distance itself from its recent past as penal colony, and to look to a future of prosperous democratic federation. Convict transportation had only ended in 1840. A class of free settlers and the aspirational offspring of emancipated convicts, were ready to embrace the idea of a quality local university education. It was in this climate that the University of Sydney began teaching in a small campus close to downtown Sydney in 1852.

By the end of the 1850s, the current campus was in use and the gothic structures of the Main Quad were built.

Sydney University is Australia's largest university and, in the eyes of many, its most prestigious academic institution.

The historic Main Quad at the University of Sydney
Photo: Mark Bowyer The historic Main Quad at the University of Sydney
The historic Main Quad at the University of Sydney
Photo: Mark Bowyer The historic Main Quad at the University of Sydney

If you're exploring the campus, start with the Main Quad - the gothic structure that greets on arrival. It's a popular spot for photography. We're told some Chinese tour companies incorrectly tell their clients it was a location in Harry Potter movies.

Next, head to the Chau Chak Wing Museum. It'll keep you busy for a few hours. You can read more about the Chau Chak Wing Museum here.

If you want explore more from there, take a 1 - 2 hour casual walk around the main campus grounds.

Seven Australian Prime Ministers graduated from Sydney University including Gough Whitlam, John Howard, Tony Abbott and Malcolm Turnbull. It's also where I studied back in the 1980s - hence the nostalgic tour video above.

Rusty Compass listings are always independent. We list the places we think you should know about. That's it. We always disclose any commercial arrangements and we received no inducement of any kind for this listing.

Mark Bowyer
Mark Bowyer is the founder and publisher of Rusty Compass.
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