Bruce Hall (Australian National University)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Bruce Hall
Motto in English
Happy is he who is able to discover the reason for things
Established1961 (1961)
35°16′30″S 149°06′58″E / 35.275°S 149.116°E / -35.275; 149.116Coordinates: 35°16′30″S 149°06′58″E / 35.275°S 149.116°E / -35.275; 149.116
SportsHockey, Tennis, Basketball, Aussie Rules Football, Touch Football, Softball, Netball, Volleyball, Rugby League, Soccer, Table Tennis, Swimming, Ultimate Disc, Lawn Bowls

Bruce Hall is a residential college of the Australian National University (ANU), in Canberra, Australia. Opened in 1961, the original Bruce Hall was a campus landmark and housed both the first undergraduate hall of residence at the university and the first in Australia to admit both men and women.[1][2][3] The college produced notable alumni across a range of fields.

The Hall's motto is "Felix Qui Potuit Rerum Cognoscere Causas" which means "Happy is he who is able to discover the reason for things". There is also a tradition of striving for excellence in sports and the arts, and for encouraging each resident to achieve their own personal best in all aspects of life.

In April 2017, following an extended battle against alumni and heritage groups, the ANU obtained final approval for demolition of Bruce Hall's historic buildings.[4] The ANU plans to erect high density student accommodation in place of the original college.[5] Alumni condemned the decision.[6]


Bruce Hall

Bruce Hall is located on the campus of the Australian National University, along Daley Road,[7] in the Dickson Precinct. It currently consists of 7 wings, which are North, South, East, West, Central, Extension and Packard, as well as the central Dining hall building.

Among Bruce Hall's facilities are two common rooms, music rooms, a darkroom, an art studio, laundry rooms, various function rooms, tutorial rooms, kitchens, a computer lab and a library. Bruce Hall also runs a Buttery which sells snacks and alcoholic beverages to residents.

All residents, with the exception of residents in Packard Wing, are fully catered, receiving a 21-meal per week under the meal plan. Packard wing residents, as well as non-resident guests have the opportunity to purchase individual meals from the hall, which are held together with normal catered meals. Meals, as well as major functions, are held in the W.P. Packard Dining Hall, which is also notable for being home to Leonard French's Seven Days of Creation series.

Catered Wings[edit]

All wings other than those in the Packard wing consists of single rooms each with a single bed, wardrobe, desk, chair and washbasin. The rooms are centrally heated and carpeted and are the largest rooms available on ANU campus.[8] There are a limited number of disabled access residential rooms, as well as cheaper non-standard rooms which may not contain all fixtures present in standard rooms.

The catered wings are generally occupied by junior undergraduate students of the Australian National University.

Self Catered Wing[edit]

The Packard wing provides studios, both single and double occupancy, with individual kitchens and bathrooms for postgraduate and later year undergraduate students. Each room has either a single or double bed, wardrobe, desk, chair, fridge, kitchenette and bathroom facilities. The rooms are centrally heated and carpeted.[9]

The Packard wing is predominantly occupied by senior undergraduate students and postgraduate students of the Australian National University.


Foundation and development[edit]

Bruce Hall is the oldest undergraduate residential hall on the Australian National University campus, being officially opened in 1961 (The oldest resident hall is University House opened in 1954 but exclusively for doctoral students). It originally consisted of just 5 wings, North, South, East, West and Central.[10]

Bruce Hall was named after the former Prime Minister of Australia Stanley Bruce.[11][12]

Historian Bill Gammage, an early resident, recalls that the college was opened by Prime Minister Robert Menzies. Gammage told the ABC in 2016: "because it was such a showpiece, a lot of famous visitors were there - the King and Queen of Thailand came at the same time as they opened the Menzies Library, I think the Queen herself might have been there at one time."[13]

The first warden was Bill Packard[11] OAM. He was instrumental in shaping the Hall's culture, developed Inward Bound, the ANU's premier inter-Hall sports event and continued to support the Hall's activities until his death in 2009.[9]

In 1963 Motel Schreinerhof in Northbourne Avenue was taken over as an annexe for Bruce Hall[14] and accommodated woman students until 1965.[15]

A shortcut between Clunies Ross Drive and Daley Road just south of Bruce Hall was closed by students digging a ditch. A petrol tanker became stuck in the ditch. The ANU promised to install concrete posts and turn the area into a garden.[16]

In 1964 a revenge attack from Duntroon cadets smashed doors and windows and caused water damage after a car was set on fire on the Duntroon parade ground.[17][18]

On 9 July 1965 Princess Alice, Countess of Athlone toured the ANU with a visit to Bruce Hall.[19]

The sculptures in the pond at the front of Bruce Hall that look like egg beaters, were designed by Herbert Flugelman. They were commissioned in 1965 and to be completed in 1967.[20]

Liquor was first sold to students at the hall on 1 June 1970.[21]

The hall's capacity was expanded with the completion of Extension Wing in 1971.

Bruce Hall was audited by the Federated Liquor and Allied Trades Union, as it was accused of breaking the minimum time rule for casual workers. The ANU had claimed it was not subject to rulings of the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission as it was created by its own act of parliament, but later changed its position on the matter.[22]

In 2004, Packard Wing was completed and houses mainly later-year undergraduates and postgraduate students. The Packard Wing was named in honour of Bill Packard OAM, the founding warden.

Demolition battle[edit]

In March 2016, The Canberra Times reported that the "Australian National University denies it has plans to demolish the university's oldest undergraduate residential college Bruce Hall as it moves to redevelop the 55-year-old complex to expand the university's student accommodation", but noted fears among alumni that the decision had already been made. The college then stood as 240-bed catered on-campus residence. A 2012 site inventory of the ANU Acton Campus in 2012 had noted that the original Bruce Hall met the criteria for Commonwealth Heritage.[23]

Alumni mobilised to oppose the ANU's plans. Journalist Karen Hardy, a former resident, wrote of the ANU's proposals in the Fairfax Press: "It's not about being an '800-bed facility', Bruce Hall isn't a hospital, or a prison, or a hotel. It's about giving kids a home, and a heart, and a place they can return to 30 years down the track and realise just how much those two things are intertwined. We can't let them knock it down."[24] Historian Bill Gammage, a former resident, told the ABC that if demolition was even being considered that would be "alarming" because the hall "self evidently has so many advantages in terms of tradition and student comfort and so on".[25] In June 2016, civil Servant Andrew Hargrave, a former president of the college, also made the case for preservation in the Fairfax press:[26]

"Bruce Hall is a campus landmark, designed to create a 'monumental effect' at the top of University Avenue. It was the ANU's first undergraduate hall of residence, and the first in Australia to admit both men and women – a liberal concept that soon spread nationally. Renowned Canberra designers Fred Ward and Derek Wrigley furnished the buildings, and the Dining Hall is one of two 'grand halls' on campus (the other is at University House, which is already heritage listed). Even the ANU's own 2012 heritage assessment proclaimed Bruce Hall's heritage value as 'high' and that it 'meets the criteria for Commonwealth Heritage List'. Despite this, the ANU has advised current students and alumni that it will demolish Bruce Hall, for reasons that simply don't stack up.

— Andrew Hargrave, The Sydney Morning Herald, 3 June 2016

The ANU confirmed its plans to demolish the iconic college and replace it with two new higher density accommodation buildings in September 2016.[27] The ANU had secured funds for replacing Bruce Hall from philanthropist former residents Graham and Louise Tuckwell and funds from the new high density residences would be channeled to the Tuckwell Scholarship Program.[28]

An alumni association had formed to oppose the ANU's demolition plans, and carried their campaign all the way to the Federal Court. The Bruce Hall Alumni Association argued that the hall had significant social and architectural values and should not be destroyed. The Canberra Times reported on 4 April 2017: "The head of the Bruce Hall Alumni Association says some devastated former residents will never return to the Australian National University after the Federal Court gave the green light for demolition to begin on the residential college."[29]

Demolishing Bruce Hall was also a significant loss for the architectural community, as reported in ArchitectureAu on 7 April 2017: “It was designed by architect Walter Bunning of Bunning and Madden Architects and completed in 1961. The firm designed a number of public buildings in Canberra and Sydney and won the 1962 Sulman Medal for Liner House in Bridge Street Sydney.

A heritage assessment stated, “Bruce Hall is representative of the late-twentieth century stripped classical style of architecture, as implemented by Bunning and Madden. The building displays several key features of the style including its inherent symmetry and restrained material palette. The building is one [of] few examples of a residential college designed by the firm in Australia and the only one at ANU. “The original furniture in Bruce Hall is representative of the work of the ANU Design Unit headed by Fred Ward, with much of the design work for this building undertaken by Derek Wrigley who went on to become head of the Design Unit.”

ANU’s own heritage assessment of Bruce Hall concluded it was of “high” heritage ranking and it “meets the criteria for Commonwealth Heritage List.“[30]


Admission to Bruce Hall is through the Australian National University's University Accommodation Services.[31] Prospective residents apply through that office, and are allocated places at the various halls and colleges on the university based on preferences.


Bruce Hall is administered by the Australian National University's Accommodation Service (UAS) in conjunction with the Facilities and Services Division. The University Accommodation Service appoints a Head of Hall and a Dean. Various students are appointed as sub-deans and Senior Residential Scholars, who are residents of the hall assisting the administration team in the day-to-day operation of the hall.

The hall also appoints residents to IT positions, who are charged with the administration and maintenance of the hall's physical computing and network infrastructure, as well as the upkeeping of the Hall's internal and external website. Buttery staff are also drawn from residents, who coordinate and staff the buttery during the term, as well as organises events held around the bar, specifically bar nights. These personnel are collectively termed Residential Scholars.

For 2006 Bruce Hall, and the other Halls of Residence at the ANU, were administered under the portfolio of the Pro-Vice Chancellor (University of Community) then held by the current Dean of Students. However, the arrangement lasted for little more than a year and, in 2007, primary administration of the Hall fell once again to UAS.

Organisations within the hall[edit]

Association of Residents[edit]

Bruce Hall has an association of residents whereby the objective of the association and the committee are to serve and represent the members in all matters, to promote within the Hall a community spirit by means of cultural, sporting and social events, and to advance the interests of the Hall as a whole.

It stands as the main organising body of the Hall, arranging most of the Hall’s cultural, sporting and social events. The committee, an elected group of fourteen residents, is the organising arm of the Association.

The committee also publishes a year book called Ouroboros, encompassing all the activities and events of the year.[32]

The first committee was established in 1961, and has been known under three names since.

Junior Common Room, 1961-2004[edit]

The first Bruce Hall association of residents was established in 1961 as the Junior Common Room.

Bruce Hall Residents' Association, 2005-2006[edit]

The name of the committee was changed in 2005 with the adoption of a new constitution, with the original intention of a possible incorporation, which did not come to fruition.

The Residents' Association largely carried out similar duties to the original Junior Common Room.

Bruce Hall Common Room, 2006-current[edit]

Under directive from the Australian National University legal office in anticipation of Voluntary Student Unionism legislation, at its annual general meeting held on 11 October 2006 the committee removed the word association from its title to avoid any perceived confusion with student unions and renamed itself to the "Bruce Hall Common Room Committee."

Again, the change of name is purely cosmetic, and does not change the method in which the organisation is run.

Learning Communities[edit]

Bruce Hall provides Learning Communities for residents who may desire assistance in their areas of learning, as well as other areas of interest. A variety of processes are in place to help residents with university courses, and the advancement of other issues.[33]

There are currently five Learning Communities:

  • Asia-Pacific
  • Middle East
  • Rhetoric
  • Arts
  • Sustainability

The learning community also has its own internal publications:

  • Ignis Draconis, the hall newsletter
  • Cross-sections, the Bruce Hall Academic Journal, featuring works by residents of the hall.

Bruce Green[edit]

Bruce Green is an organisation of individuals interested in environmental and sustainability issues within the hall. Bruce Green also seeks to spread awareness regarding environmental issues via events such as debates and meetings.

Bruce Hall Players[edit]

The Bruce Hall Players is a group of residents who produces and acts out an annual Bruce Hall play. Previous plays include:

  • 1991: The Importance of Being Earnest
  • 1992: Charley's Aunt
  • 1993: The Mouse that Roared
  • 1995: Twelfth Night
  • 1996: Don's Party[34]
  • 1997: Antigone
  • 1998: Picasso at the Lapin Agile
  • 1999: Little Shop of Horrors
  • 2000: Accidental Death of an Anarchist
  • 2001: Kiss Me, Kate[35]
  • 2002: Death By Chocolate
  • 2004: The Highway Man
  • 2005: Psyche and Persephone
  • 2006: Robin Hood, People in Tights
  • 2007: League: The Musical[36]
  • 2008: The Bruce Brothers
  • 2009: Brucegate
  • 2010: Sandora's Box
  • 2011: Grimmly Spectacular [The Brother's Grimm Spectaculathon]
  • 2012: The Book of Everything
  • 2013: Away
  • 2016: Cosi
  • 2017: Kill Me, Deadly!
  • 2018: Noises Off

ANU students performed Everyman in June 1966 in Bruce Hall.[37]

Sports and Arts[edit]

Bruce Hall has a tradition in inter-collegiate sports and arts, having won the inter hall sports shield in 1998, 1999 and 2000,[38] and the inter hall arts shield in 2004, 2006 and 2013. In addition to organised sports and arts events run by the inter hall community, the hall also has opportunities for social and informal sports and arts events, as well as inter wing competitions.

As reflected in the Sports Ethos,[38] the hall prides itself on participation more than success, and places high emphasis on standards of sportsmanship.

A number of residents, both current and former, have proceeded into a higher level of sporting achievement, notably Frank Farina, former national football coach.


Cross Sections[edit]

In 2005 the first edition of Cross Sections: The Bruce Hall Academic Journal was published. The project arose after discussions with residents and then dean Dierdre Pearce. The Journal seeks to be an inter-disciplinary work with both undergraduates, honours students and postgraduates contributing.

Since its inception the Journal has been funded wholly by the University, which ensures all residents receive a copy free of charge each year. Works submitted have been both written and visual pieces with all written works submitted to a University Academic for review. A panel of resident editors is appointed each year to oversee the project.

Since 2006, publishing of Cross Sections has been through Epress the ANU's publishing unit and the work is now available as a free on-line download or in a physical form on a pay-per-copy basis.[39]

Notable alumni[edit]




Other Events[edit]

Bruce Hall used to house the National Mathematics Summer School every January.[42]


  1. ^ Demolishing Bruce Hall a sad indictment on the ANU;; June 2, 2016
  2. ^ "Huxley Talks On Dismissals". Canberra Times. 22 Oct 1963. p. 10. Retrieved 13 September 2014.
  3. ^ "TO SCRAMBLE OR NOT". Woroni. 2 Jul 1969. p. 3. Retrieved 13 September 2014.
  4. ^ ANU Bruce Hall Alumni Association 'devastated' by demolition decision;; April 4, 2017
  5. ^ ANU announces plan to rebuild Bruce Hall;; 7 September 2016
  6. ^ ANU Bruce Hall Alumni Association 'devastated' by demolition decision;; April 4, 2017
  7. ^ Belot, Henry (2 June 2014). "Water leak forces evacuation of ANU housing complex". Canberra Times. Retrieved 10 September 2014.
  8. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2006-06-26. Retrieved 2006-07-04.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  9. ^ a b "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2006-08-20. Retrieved 2006-07-04.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  10. ^
  11. ^ a b "HALL SURVIVES BIRTH NOW BRUCE HALL". Woroni. 17 Jul 1961. Retrieved 10 September 2014.
  12. ^ "UNIVERSITY HONOURS CHANCELLOR". Canberra Times. 16 Jun 1961. p. 2. Retrieved 13 September 2014.
  13. ^ What's in store for the oldest undergraduate residential Hall at the ANU, Bruce Hall?; ABC 666 Canberra
  14. ^ "SCHREINERHOF SOLD TO UNIVERSITY". Canberra Times. 9 Feb 1963. p. a. Retrieved 13 September 2014.
  15. ^ "New use for annexe". Canberra Times. 9 Mar 1965. p. 18. Retrieved 13 September 2014.
  16. ^ "A.N.U. 'battle ground' to be garden". Canberra Times. 1 Jul 1964. p. 12. Retrieved 13 September 2014.
  17. ^ "Bruce Hall Duntroon damaged in raids Students and Cadets in Wild Fight". Canberra Times. 3 Aug 1964. p. 1. Retrieved 10 September 2014.
  18. ^ Spence; Adam (29 August 2013). "Days of debauchery and high jinks at ANU". The Australian. Retrieved 14 September 2014.
  19. ^ "PRINCESS 'DROPS IN' ON A STUDENT". Canberra Times. 10 Jul 1965. p. 3. Retrieved 13 September 2014.
  20. ^ "The Uncompleted Sculpture". Canberra Times. 26 Apr 1967. p. 8. Retrieved 13 September 2014.
  21. ^ "Members of Brude Hall at ANU enjoy a drink". Canberra Times. 2 June 1970. p. 1. Retrieved 10 September 2014.
  22. ^ Juddery, Bruce (4 Dec 1976). "Bruce Hall audit by liquor Union". Canberra Times. p. 8. Retrieved 10 September 2014.
  23. ^ ANU denies demolition plans for Bruce Hall student accommodation;; APril 7, 2017
  24. ^ Why ANU's Bruce Hall cannot be demolished;; April 29, 2016
  25. ^ What's in store for the oldest undergraduate residential Hall at the ANU, Bruce Hall?; ABC 666 Canberra
  26. ^ Demolishing Bruce Hall a sad indictment on the ANU;; 3 June 2016
  27. ^ ANU's iconic Bruce Hall to be demolished, rebuilt into two accommodation buildings;; 7 September 2017
  28. ^ Australian National University to receive $100 million donation from former student;; 12 July 2016
  29. ^ ANU Bruce Hall Alumni Association 'devastated' by demolition decision;; April 4 2017
  30. ^
  31. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2006-06-17. Retrieved 2006-07-04.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  32. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2006-08-21. Retrieved 2006-07-04.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  33. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2006-08-21. Retrieved 2006-07-04.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  34. ^ "Productions 1996" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 11 September 2014. Retrieved 10 September 2014.
  35. ^ "Bruce Hall Players". AusStage. Retrieved 10 September 2014.
  36. ^ "Bruce Hall News". 13 Jan 2011. Archived from the original on 11 September 2014. Retrieved 10 September 2014.
  37. ^ "Around the churches Two induction services". Canberra Times. 4 Jun 1966. Retrieved 13 September 2014.
  38. ^ a b "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2006-08-21. Retrieved 2006-09-15.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  39. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2007-12-08. Retrieved 2008-02-26.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  40. ^ Australian National University to receive $100 million donation from former student;; 12 July 2016
  41. ^ What's in store for the oldest undergraduate residential Hall at the ANU, Bruce Hall?; ABC 666 Canberra
  42. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2006-08-22. Retrieved 2006-07-04.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)

External links[edit]