Collection UQFL250 - University of Queensland Site plans

Identity area

Reference code



University of Queensland Site plans


  • [1926-1972] (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

83 drawings and plans.

Context area

Name of creator


Administrative history

The University of Queensland was established by an act of the Queensland parliament on 10 December 1909. The University's first home was Queensland's original Government House at Gardens Point. Teaching commenced in 1911 with four professors, ten other teaching staff and an enrolment of 83 students, 23 of them women. The St Lucia site for the University of Queensland was purchased in 1927 with funds provided by Dr James O'Neill Mayne and his sister, Miss Mary Emelia Mayne. The title to the land was presented to the Chancellor in 1930, and in 1935 the Queensland Premier, the Hon W. Forgan Smith, announced that the State Government had decided to build a new university on the land at St Lucia. A joint committee of government and university representatives was appointed to investigate the site, draw up plans and report to the government Its members were Dr Melbourne (University representative and chairman), Dr Bradfield (government representative and deputy chairman), J.D. Story (Public Service Commissioner), A.B. Leven (Chief Architect, Department of Public Works) and T.L.Jones (Chairman of the Brisbane and South Coast Hospitals Board). Six plans were presented, by Professor Hawken, Mr Leven, Dr Bradfield and Professor Robinson. All the plans used a topography of the site in a similar manner to A.B. Wilson's original plans of 1926 In 1936 the government appointed the architectural firm of Hennessy Hennessy & Co. Construction of the new campus began in 1937 but war intervened and the site was turned over to the military. The move to St Lucia began in earnest in 1946 and was fully completed by 1972.

Name of creator


Biographical history

Frederick Walter Robinson (known as "Doc Robbie") was born in Sydney on 21 October 1888. He was educated at Sydney High, University of Sydney and the University of Jena. He was Associate Professor of Modern Languages at Royal Military College Duntroon (1913-1932), and Captain and Intelligence Officer in the AIF (1915-1919). F.W. Robinson lectured in English and German at The University of Queensland (1923-1945), and later became Associate Professor of English (1946-1958). He was in the General Staff Office as a Major (Intelligence) in 1941-42. He presented the Commonwealth Literary Fund Australian Literature Seminars and Lectures at The University of Queensland in 1944 and 1958, and at Sydney University in 1946. F.W. Robinson also set up the Fryer Memorial Library of Australian Literature at The University of Queensland. For many years he was associated with the Oxley Library, the Queensland Art Gallery and other cultural institutions. He played a large part in the planning of the University of Queensland at St Lucia. F.W. Robinson died on 26 August 1971.

Name of creator


Biographical history

R.W.H. Hawken was Professor of Engineering at University of Queensland from 1919 to 1947. Professor Hawken and Alexander Wilson were members of a committee established in 1921 to determine a site for the University of Queensland.

Name of creator


Biographical history

Civil engineer, born in Brisbane, educated at Ipswich Grammar School and University of Sydney, graduating B.E. with the University Gold Medal in 1889. He joined the New South Wales Department of Public Works in 1891. In August 1910 he unsuccessfully applied for the foundation chair of engineering in the new University of Queensland. Bradfield was associated with a great range of engineering work, the highlight being the opening of the Sydney Harbour Bridge in 1932. He retired from the public service in 1933 and in 1934 was appointed consulting engineer for the design, fabrication and construction of the Story Bridge in Brisbane. He later served as technical adviser to the constructors of the Hornibrook Highway near Brisbane and helped to plan and design the University of Queensland's new site at St Lucia; the university admitted him to an ad eund. doctorate of engineering in 1935. -- excerpted from Australian Dictionary of Biography

Name of creator


Biographical history

Alexander Brown Wilson was born in Glasgow, Scotland in 1857. In 1864 his family emigrated to Brisbane. He established his own architectural practice in Brisbane in 1884, and was joined by his architect-engineer son, Ronald Martin Wilson in 1920. After Alexander Wilson's retirement in 1928, Ronald Wilson continued the practice.

Name of creator


Biographical history

Ronald Martin Wilson joined his father in architectural practice in 1920 to form Alex. B. and R. Martin Wilson. After Alexander Wilson's retirement in 1928, Ronald Wilson continued the practice until 1955. He in turn was joined by his son, Blair M. Wilson, who had graduated from the University of Queensland. The Wilson firm is continued by Alexander Wilson's great-grandson, Hamilton Blair Wilson.

Name of creator


Administrative history

John Francis (Jack) Hennessy (1853–1924) went into partnership in an architectural practice in 1912 with his son, also named John Francis (Jack) Hennessy (1887-1955). The firm became known Hennessy & Hennessy and operated between 1912-1967. In 1924 Hennessy senior retired and the firm continued under the name of Hennessy & Hennessy and as well as Hennessy, Hennessy & Co. One of the major projects of the firm was the Great Court at the University of Queensland.

Archival history

Collection previously titled as: Site plans, [1926-1972]
Collection alternatively titled as: University of Queensland Site Plans Collection.

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Site plans of the University of Queensland, St. Lucia. Includes plans by Hennessy & Hennessy Co., F.W. Robinson, R.W. Hawken, J.J.C. Bradfield and A. B. & R.M. Wilson. The plans are arranged in 13 folders. Some are classified by the name of architects and some by the theme of the plans.
Most plans in this collection date from the 1930s to 1950s.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


System of arrangement

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

Unrestricted access.

Conditions governing reproduction

Language of material

  • English

Script of material

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Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Finding aids

Uploaded finding aid

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

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Related descriptions

Publication note

Material from this collection has been cited in:
Brown, Peter. Why the University of Queensland Moved to St Lucia: Its Growth and Effect on the Suburb [online]. Queensland History Journal, Vol. 21, No. 4, Feb 2011: 265-275.

Notes area

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Description control area

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Dates of creation revision deletion

Revised, Linda Justo, 24-Aug-2021. Migrated from LMS: April 2019, P.A.




Accession area