St Paul's College, University of Sydney

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St Paul's College
University of Sydney
Location 9 City Road, Camperdown
Coordinates 33°53′24″S 151°11′15″E / 33.8899938°S 151.1873733°E / -33.8899938; 151.1873733
Full name St Paul's College
Motto Deo Patriae Tibi (Latin)
Motto in English "For God, Country and Thyself"
Established 1856
Named for Paul the Apostle
Warden Donald Markwell
Membership 197
Undergraduates 179
Postgraduates 18
Website St Paul's College

St Paul's College in Sydney, Australia, is an Anglican residential college for men which is affiliated with the University of Sydney. Founded in 1856 by an 1854 act of the New South Wales Legislative Council, it is Australia's oldest university college. St Paul's is familiarly referred to as "Paul's", its residents as "Paulines" and its alumni as "Old Paulines".

The college has nearly 200 residents, of whom about 150 are undergraduates; the remainder are graduates undertaking further study or holding university positions.[1] It retains most of its original 18-acre (73,000 m2) grant and has its own oval and tennis and basketball courts.[citation needed]

1870s photograph of church-like stone building, with students lying on the grass in front
Common room and dining hall, photographed from the main quadrangle in the 1870s


St Paul's was one of the two earliest university colleges in the Australian colonies along with Christ College, Hobart, which was founded in 1846.[2] Its development followed an unsuccessful attempt by members of the Anglican church to incorporate the earlier St James's College within the new University of Sydney, and was led by Sir Alfred Stephen (Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of New South Wales).[3] The college is independent of the Anglican Diocese of Sydney, although the warden must be an ordained Anglican priest. There are 18 fellows, six of whom must be Anglican clergy in priests’ orders and 12 laymen. Fellows serve six-year, renewable terms and are elected by graduates of the college who have spent at least three semesters in residence. The Reverend Canon Dr Ivan Head has governed the college as warden since 1995. The college is an independent body corporate, legally designated as "The Warden and Fellows of St Paul's College".[4]

Founded to promote liberal Anglicanism, St Paul’s College is the oldest community in Australia possessed of a single continuing intellectual tradition. The ongoing liveliness of that tradition and its impact beyond the Church is due to the way old forms are used to engage new energies. It relies on hierarchy but also on collective decision-making, or collegiality. It is therefore extremely well suited to a university college. At St Paul’s this tradition shows itself partly in robust student leadership.

Originally a national and established faith, the teachings of Anglicanism also imply public responsibility (as in the College motto, Deo Patriæ Tibi). Among the college alumni are seven bishops, including two who promoted women’s ordination in the Anglican Church; three High Court judges; Sir Denis Browne, the father of paediatric surgery in the UK; Sir Lorimer Dods, a pioneer researcher in child diseases; W.C.B. Harvey, who first persuaded Australians that smoking was dangerous; and Patrick McGorry, an international leader in the area of youth mental health.

Educators affiliated with the college participated in the founding, in the 1890s, of the adjacent Women's College. The two colleges are still closely linked; St Paul's has remained men-only, since 2000 the two other large former men's colleges have become co-residential.[5] The College has formal dinner five nights a week, to which college members wear tie, jacket and academic gown.

The first students enrolled in February 1857 and moved into the new buildings a year later. After a slow start, numbers increased markedly from the 1880s and this was a time of remarkable flowering for the college. Meanwhile, St John’s College and St Andrew’s College had opened, and in 1892 the Women’s College. By the last decades of the nineteenth century the main traditional features of the college's community had emerged, including a collective spirit and various sporting and cultural activities. Debating and public speaking flourished. With the gradual evolution of student self-government within the university and college, in 1906 the students' club came into existence. The intercollegiate Rawson Cup was established in 1907 by Governor Sir Harry Rawson, whose son was at the college. The college's magazine, The Pauline, dates from 1910.

By this time the college had its own distinct intellectual tradition, foreshadowed by the founders, a liberal Anglicanism which took seriously the challenges involved in combining religious and secular knowledge and in making the English Church useful to the Australian nation. The number of Paulines from this period who are now listed in the Australian Dictionary of Biography is evidence of the way the College was in step with the times.[6]

The original building was designed in Gothic style by English-born architect Edmund Blacket. Blacket was a distinguished ecclesiastical architect; he also designed the main university building and supervised the construction of the Catholic St John's College at the same university.[7][8] Other buildings include a chapel (designed by John Leslie Stephen Mansfield and completed in 1960) and a residential wing designed by Clive Lucas, Stapleton & Partners which opened in 1999.[2]

In November 2009, a Sydney paper reported that several former residents of the college (all players on the same social soccer team)[9] were members of a Facebook group described itself as "pro-rape, anti-consent".[10][11] The group was alleged by the reporter to be part of a broader culture amongst privileged youths which demeaned women in a sexist (or sexually violent) way.[12] What was not well appreciated by actors interested in this episode was that the target of the Facebook site was not in fact women or any person but other soccer teams against which the social soccer team played. Warden Ivan Head issued a public response condemning the students' behaviour.[10][13]

In the 2010 World University Debating Championship two former Paul's students (Chris Croke and Steve Hind) took the title, winning the final against teams from Oxford, Harvard and the London School of Economics.[14] Since the 1890s, the college has fostered social-justice ideals (as part of the liberal Anglican tradition) and most students are involved at some point in philanthropic activities. During the first decade of the 21st century, half the male Rhodes Scholars from Sydney University have been Paulines. In 2010, Jack Manning Bancroft was named NSW Young Australian of the Year for his work in indigenous education.[14][15]

Early 20th century photo of college buildings, with horse grazing in pasture in foreground
St Paul's College from the edge of its boundary with the University campus at the turn of the 20th century

Aims of the college[edit]

  • To open the way to the best that the university has to offer
  • To encourage intellectual endeavour and promote the highest academic goals
  • To sustain itself as a community which is intelligent, amicable, amiable, inclusive and dynamic
  • To be a place of civilised life
  • To maintain an annual calendar which expresses the spectrum of human endeavour
  • To foster the autonomies and responsibilities of its students' club as an expression of the independence and democratic maturity of all college members
  • To express the historic Christian tradition of faith and worship in a critical and informed Anglican manner, appropriate to a university setting, and to recognise and value the best in all faiths
  • To contribute to the greatness of the nation and to international citizenship

The college follows the ideas of John Henry Newman who advocated a model of "a good college" in the Idea of a University.

Culture and academic life[edit]

The college has a full tutorial program, supporting and extending university work, and hosts frequent seminars and symposiums. Its Wednesday night forums bring leading intellectuals and public figures to the college for debate with students, and its "History of University of Life" seminars are also popular. The college hosts an annual symposium focused on historical and theological issues. Its Senior Common Room (numbering 30–35 scholars) plays an important part in the life of the college, and includes several senior scholars and postgraduates. Academic life is the responsibility of the Senior Tutor, until January 2010 Dr Dugald McLellan and Professor Alan Atkinson after that date.[16] St Paul's also has an active Middle Common Room, with gatherings led by honours students and others.

The college has a substantial tutorial program. It uses the principle of peer tutoring, a development of the idea of "peer assisted study", first developed in the United Kingdom. Nearly all tutors are students in college, and most of them are undergraduates, at most a year or two further advanced than their class. As a result, university work is drawn to the centre of college life, and teaching and intellectual leadership is part of the mainstream conversation. The organization of the tutorial system is largely in the hands of students, under the supervision of the Senior Tutor. Social networking is used by the students to supplement teaching.

In 2013 the college introduced a Positive Education program for students.[17] There is a variety of activities during the year, culminating in a course of ten seminars leading to the St Paul's College Certificate in Positive Education.


Officially granted by the Earl Marshal in 1961, the college coat of arms displays crossed swords and the Maltese cross to represent St Paul in the official colours of gold and gules. The college's motto, Deo Patriae Tibi, can be translated as "For God, country and yourself."[18]


The college has a substantial library (named in honour of John Leslie Stephen Mansfield, an alumnus), which is being restocked to meet ongoing undergraduate needs. It includes the Cannington Law library and an enlarged college archive, which holds manuscript material dating to the 1850s. The Old Library, assembled mainly during the 19th century, has many valuable books from as far back as the 15th century (the older ones are held in the university library), and includes an original edition of Thomas Hobbes's Leviathan.

St Paul's is one of three colleges within Sydney University to have its own fully licensed bar.[19] The Salisbury Bar usually opens Sunday to Thursday from 8 pm. Each year the bar is run by a student group committed to the legacy of alumnus Charles Salisbury, whose donation created the service; according to legend, Salisbury set a condition requiring the establishment of a bar for the residents. He reportedly declared that "no man should have to walk more than 50 metres for a beer". St Paul's has a fully stocked wine cellar (providing members of the college with reduced-price entry-level wines) and a large collection of stored vintages. The wine cellar is also run by senior residents of the college.[citation needed]

Dramatic society[edit]

The St Paul's College Mummers (the college's dramatic society) is one of the longest-continuously-running university drama groups in Australia. College men are involved as actors, producers, directors, and stagehands to create theatrical productions which may be enjoyed by the wider University community.[citation needed]

St Paul's Oval—a large, green, tree-lined field under a blue sky with clouds
Panorama of St Paul's Oval, with the college located behind the trees at the far right


As do most of the Sydney University colleges, St Paul's has its own oval where informal touch football is played every weeknight. All are welcome; many players are academics on study break.[citation needed] The Rawson Cup was donated for the intercollegiate competition by Governor Sir Harry Rawson (who had a son at Paul's) in 1907. Each year, St Paul's College competes for the cup with the other Sydney University men's colleges – Wesley, St Andrew's College, and St John's College.[citation needed] Rawson sports are played throughout the university year and include cricket, rowing, Rugby, swimming and diving, soccer, tennis, basketball and athletics. St Paul's won the Rawson Cup for five consecutive years, from 2005 to 2009 until St Andrews college regained the cup.[citation needed]

Annual events[edit]

During the year the college holds a number of large events, of which the largest are Victoriana!, the Informal, the Jazz Dinner Dance, and the College Formal. The Jazz Dinner Dance ('JDD') is an intimate black tie occasion for collegians and their guests.[citation needed] The College Formal is an annual event, organised and run by a committee (usually selected from senior students). Up to 500 guests attend the black tie function. Usually held in the quadrangle, recent themes have included School of Rock (2007- including a guest performance by Austrian glam-metal band Gerspunken), Neon Mirage (2005 – Las Vegas) and Circus Royale (2004). The 2004 Formal took the event to the college oval, with dodgem cars, a jumping castle, fire breathers and the largest traveling Ferris wheel in Australia. Previous years have also allowed guests to bathe in hot tubs, ride in hot air balloons, take motorbike rides around the oval and view fireworks displays.[citation needed]

Honouring ex-servicemen[edit]

The college had several former members serve in the Great War (World War I) of which some were killed in action. In 1935 the college along with two other colleges from Sydney University decided to raise some funds to honour these deceased members and help their families, by surcharging (by means of privately overprinting) the then current two-penny ANZAC commemorative stamp standard letter rate stamps with the amounts of one, five and ten shillings and also one pound. It is not known if this action was endorsed by the Postmaster General’s Department at the time. It is also not known how many stamps were sold or how much money was raised.

Cultural engagement[edit]

Since about the mid-1990s life in the college has been coloured especially by an interest in what has been called social entrepreneurship – the combination of economics, problem-solving and philanthropy. This echoes the social justice concerns of Radford’s days, and even the Christian Socialism brought from England in 1856 by the first warden, Henry Hose. Recently, members of the college have founded two philanthropic enterprises which have attracted much support, the Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience Nat Ware’s 180 Degrees Consulting.

Academic honours[edit]

The college boasts a long list of academic honours and its website lists many University Medallists since 2005.[20] Its Rhodes Scholarship list is given below:

  • 1907 Garnet Vere Portus (1883–1954; in College 1903–04), afterwards clergyman, Professor of History and Political Science, University of Adelaide, and radio broadcaster
  • 1908 Richard Granville Waddy (1885–1974; in College 1905–09), afterwards medical practitioner
  • 1911 Hugh Kingsley Ward (1887–1972; in College 1909–10), afterwards Professor of Bacteriology, University of Sydney
  • 1915 Walter Ferguson Crawford (1894–1978; in College 1913–14), afterwards knighted, Governor of Northern Sudan
  • 1920 Vernon Haddon Treatt (1897–1984; in College 1915–16), afterwards knighted, NSW Minister for Justice and Chief Commissioner for the City of Sydney
  • 1925 Allan Robert Callaghan (1903–93; in College 1922–24), afterwards knighted and South Australian Director of Agriculture
  • 1931 David Garnsey (1909–96; in College 1927–29), afterwards Bishop of Gippsland
  • 1935 Keith Noel Everal Bradfield (1910–2006; in College 1930–33), afterwards OBE and Civil Aviation Advisor to the Government of Papua New Guinea
  • 1939 Walter Laurence Hughes (1917–99; in College 1934–38)
  • 1940 Basil Holmes Travers (1919–98; in College 1938–39), afterwards Headmaster of Shore
  • 1946 William Winslow Woodward (1920–87; in College 1939–40), afterwards medical practitioner
  • 1948 Louis Walter Davies (1923–2001; in College 1941), afterwards AO and Professor of Electrical Engineering, University of NSW
  • 1951 Adrian Peter Henchman (1927–89; in college 1946–50), afterwards Sydney solicitor
  • 1953 James Graham McLeod (b 1932; in college 1949–53), afterwards AO and Professor of Neurology, Sydney University
  • 1956 John Maxwell Bailey (b 1935; in college 1954), afterwards attached to the European Atomic Energy Commission, Geneva
  • 1960 Malcolm John Swinburn (b 1937; in college 1956–60), afterwards a medical practitioner
  • 1961 Peter Garnsey (b 1938; in College 1956–60), afterwards Professor of the History of Classical Antiquity, Cambridge, and Fellow of Jesus College
  • 1964 John Dyson Heydon (b 1943; in College 1960–64), afterwards AC and High Court justice
  • 1975 Peter Edward King (b 1952; in College 1971–75), afterwards Sydney barrister and Federal MP
  • 1990 Andrew Scott Bell (b 1966; in College 1985–89), afterwards Sydney barrister (SC)
  • 1992 Scott Nixon (b 1968; in College 1986–91), afterwards Sydney barrister
  • 1995 Peter Raymond Barnett (b 1971; in College 1990–94)
  • 2001 Andrew Henry Charlton (b 1978; in College 1997–99)
  • 2003 Benjamin Juratowitch (b 1978; in College 1998)
  • 2007 Eric Ronald Wing-Fai Knight (b 1983; in College 2002–04)
  • 2009 Nikolas Norman Patrick Kirby (b 1984; in College 2005–09)
  • 2010 David Colin Conway Llewellyn (b 1985; in College 2006–09)
  • 2011 Nathaniel Jon Ware (b 1988; in College 2009–11)
  • 2013 Patrick Harry Brian Bateman (b 1987; in College 2006-10)



In 2009 a "pro-rape" Facebook page was formed by a group of past and present St Paul's students.[21] The page ("Define Statutory") described itself as "anti-consent". For this, the students of St Paul's received the 2009 Ernie Awards for sexist behaviour.

In June 2012, an article critical of one of St Paul's dinner events appeared in a local Australian newspaper. The controversy was over an event with the theme "End of the British Raj". When the college students arrived in the dress code ("white tie or colonial uniform"), they were met by the usual college catering staff, of Indian and south Asian descent, dressed in colourful traditional cultural garments[22] following which the university student newspaper protested against it in a letter, "British Raj beyond bad taste".[23] In a separate Facebook thread another male student suggested that there was nothing wrong with a little "nostalgia" for a bygone era. On 6 June 2012, the University Student Representative Council passed a motion condemning the themed party by writing a letter to the college's spokesman and the warden asking for an explanation. Later, many Indian media groups covered this news with copies of the original Sydney Morning Herald article.[24][25][26]

Allegations of systemic sexism and misogyny surfaced again in 2017 following a post on the College's Facebook page which compared women to "harpooned whales". The college had refused to participate in a University-wide review into culture led by Elizabeth Broderick.[27] Michael Spence, the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sydney raised concerns regarding the "deep contempt for women" and the "cultural problems" at the college. In June 2017 Ivan Head, the Warden of the College, who had been in the role for 22 years, retired amid concerns regarding his leadership.[28]

Appearing on 60 Minutes in July 2017 the parents of Stuart Kelly, the brother of one-punch attack victim Thomas Kelly, who committed suicide in 2016, stated that Kelly had been subjected to hazing and bullying at the college. Kathy Kelly stated "He went off to university at Sydney, for one night at a college, and he came home a different person the following day ... He was broken".[29]

Again the College came in for sustained criticism after the release of "The Red Zone" report by Nina Funnell on Monday 26 February 2017.[30] Reportedly, some rituals allegedly involve male students at Sydney University's residential colleges masturbating into shampoo bottles belonging to female students and defecating in hallways.[30]

In particular, Ms Funnell called for the criminalisation of hazing rituals at colleges like St Paul's College. Her call for the criminalisation of that conduct follows public comments by Kathy and Ralph Kelly that they believe their son, Stuart Kelly, committed suicide as a result of hazing rituals at the College in 2016.[31] In response, Sydney University's Vice-Chancellor, Professor Michael Spence, said the university would support a coronial inquest into Stuart's death.[31]




  1. ^ "History". St Paul's College. Retrieved 26 May 2010. 
  2. ^ a b Waldren, Murray (13 September 1999). "No hidden a gender, it's taking wing". The Australian. p. 7. 
  3. ^ "History". St Paul's College. Archived from the original on 21 July 2012. Retrieved 12 November 2009. 
  4. ^ "St Paul's College Act (1854) - Section 1". Retrieved 7 January 2017. 
  5. ^ Leys, Nick (14 November 2001). "Great women get chance as male bastion falls". The Sydney Morning Herald. p. 3. 
  6. ^ Hamish Milne, The Origins of St Paul's College (BA thesis, University of Sydney 1995) and St Paul's College: Another Fifty Years, 1900–1950 (MPhil thesis, University of Sydney 1997).
  7. ^ Yates, Skye (8 March 2002). "Inner-city church to inspire". Daily Telegraph. Sydney, Australia. p. 113. 
  8. ^ Ham, Melinda (30 October 2008). "Secrets of the city exposed – architecture". The Sydney Morning Herald. p. 17. 
  9. ^ Richard Ackland (13 November 2009). "St Paul's shames uni, church". The Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax Digital. Retrieved 16 November 2009. 
  10. ^ a b "Pro-rape Facebook group condemned". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 9 November 2009. Retrieved 11 November 2009. 
  11. ^ Ivan Head (9 November 2009). "Dr Ivan Head responds to St Paul's College students' Facebook rape page scandal". News Corporation. Retrieved 11 November 2009. 
  12. ^ Ruth Pollard (9 November 2009). "Elite college students proud of 'pro-rape' Facebook page". The Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax Digital. Retrieved 11 November 2009. 
  13. ^ Ivan Head (9 November 2009). "Dr Ivan Head responds to St Paul's College students' Facebook rape page scandal". News Limited. Retrieved 11 November 2009. 
  14. ^ a b "News and Events". St Paul's College. Archived from the original on 25 December 2009. Retrieved 18 January 2010. 
  15. ^ "Australian of the Year Awards: New South Wales National Finalists 2010". Australian of the Year Awards. Archived from the original on 16 July 2011. Retrieved 18 January 2010. 
  16. ^ Rowbotham, Jill (14 April 2010). "Closed world of collegiate life a source of wonder". The Australian. p. Higher Education 21, 26. 
  17. ^ "St Paul's – Not Found". Archived from the original on 14 April 2015. Retrieved 15 July 2017. 
  18. ^ "St. Paul's College". Heraldry. University of Sydney. Retrieved 12 November 2009. 
  19. ^ Cranston, Belinda (2 January 2006). "The time of your life". The Sydney Morning Herald. p. 15. 
  20. ^ "St Paul's College University Medallists since 2005". Archived from the original on 22 March 2012. Retrieved 12 June 2012. 
  21. ^ "Elite college students proud of 'pro-rape' Facebook page". 
  22. ^ "Was this uni Raj night racist?". 
  23. ^ "Letters" (PDF). Honisoit. Students’ Representative Council: 3. 30 May 2012. Archived from the original (PDF) on 14 May 2013. Retrieved 28 May 2017. 
  24. ^ "Australian college accused of racism". 
  25. ^ "Australian college accused of racism over 'colonial-themed' party". 
  26. ^ "Australian College Accused of Racism Over Colonial-Themed Party". Archived from the original on 16 June 2012. 
  27. ^ "St Paul's College boycotting Elizabeth Broderick review into college culture". Retrieved 15 July 2017. 
  28. ^ "Warden and chairman at University of Sydney's St Paul's college retire after latest scandal". Retrieved 15 July 2017. 
  29. ^ "Abuse led to Stuart Kelly's death: parents". Retrieved 15 July 2017. 
  30. ^ a b "Shocking college hazing rituals at prestigious Australian university reveal in report". Retrieved 26 February 2018. 
  31. ^ a b "Thomas Kelly's family calls for 'horrific drunken rituals' to be outlawed after death of their second son". Retrieved 26 February 2018.