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Our rich history

Our rich history

“Hearts and Minds: St Paul’s College, Sydney University, 1815–2016” is now complete and special pre-publication orders are being processed.

Social historian Alan Atkinson tells the story of St Paul’s from the inside, exploring not only the College’s traditions and how it has developed since the nineteenth century, but how its students and residents have experienced College life, face-to-face, across the years.

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The College Archives are housed mainly in the Mansfield Library. It includes a rare books dating back to the 1400s, publications by and about former students, including the College magazine (from 1911), and a large manuscript collection which tells the story of Paul’s since the 1850s. Electronic cataloguing continues, so as to make the collection accessible to the College community and beyond

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Paul’s received government support at its foundation and again in the 1950s and ‘60s, but it has always relied much more on the generosity of friends. Private benefactions have gone mainly towards scholarships and building, and recently towards Positive Education. Organised fundraising has succeeded best since the 1950s, especially through the College Foundation, founded in 1977.

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War service

Men from St Paul’s have fought in every Australian war since the Sudan, in 1885. One was killed in the Boer War, 20 in World War One, 25 in World War Two, and one in Vietnam. In 1914-18 the Light Horse drew large numbers and in 1939-45 the airforce. In both world wars many Paul’s men were medical officers, including several who worked among the prisoners of war at Changi.

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The biographical register of former students was begun in the 1920s and a good deal of early work was done by Gough Whitlam. Over 5000 students have passed through the College, and of those 50% per cent are still alive. A continuing effort is made to correct and fill out the older records, and to add the names of those who leave the College year by year.

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The most eminent Old Pauline has been Gough Whitlam, Prime Minister. Others range from Denis Browne, who pioneered paediatric surgery in Britain, to H.M. Green and T. Inglis Moore, who led the teaching of Australian literature in schools. Add Max Maxwell, the first man to make a career of wildlife photography, Stuart Campbell, the first to fly in Antarctica, and many, many more.

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The sandstone buildings of the original Quadrangle date from 1856-59 and are among the finest neo-gothic buildings in Australia. Designed by E.T. Blacket and beautifully proportioned, they were deliberately kept low (“not too lofty”), and they welcome as much as they impress. A second quadrangle, Chapel Court, was added in 1958-62, and includes J.L.S. Mansfield’s remarkable chapel.

“Be transformed by the renewal of your mind.” St Paul