The University of Tasmania’s Sandy Bay campus has been the main base of the university since 1961, following moves that started in the 1940s to provide a larger campus for the rapidly growing university.
It now houses a wonderful collection of modernist buildings constructed during this period. It’s a beautiful campus, not far from the city, set between nearby Mt Nelson and the River Derwent, with views to kunanyi/Mt Wellington.
This site gives some of the history of the early buildings on the campus, and you can see some more early photos of some of the buildings I love photographing, including Chemistry, Humanities, and the Morris Miller Library here.
This post by Tasmanian Modernism photographer Thomas Ryan provides some background on the glass curtain walls that feature on many of the university buildings, as well as some more contemporary photos of these structures.
While the university sought to consolidate its presence in Sandy Bay in 1960s, it has now announced its intention to vacate this campus and move into the city, where some of its specialist faculties such as the medical school (near the hospital for obvious reasons) are already located.
This hasn’t been a popular decision, and there’s a strong community of opposition to the university’s move into the CBD and its plan to abandon the campus and turn it into housing, details of which I don’t have space to go into here.
I love the campus and I find an almost inexhaustible supply of photo opportunities every time I visit.
On my most recent trip, I took my 50mm lens and wandered round the campus looking for little details I don’t always see. What struck me as I walked was the overwhelming tranquility of this place, the green spaces, the trees and the birds. These are things that, working in a city, I don’t have easy access to. While there are green spaces in town, the constant traffic noise eats into the serenity they try to provide. It’s not the same thing at all, and being here in this space made me think of how much I would love to have an office in an environment like this. I think it would benefit my mental health as well as my capacity to think deeply and creatively.
But my mission was not to contemplate the potential loss of this beautiful environment, much as I disagree with the plan. I was here to walk and explore. To look at buildings from different angles and find things I’d not seen before.
Here’s some of what I saw.
I also learned that the sculpture in the fish pond was by Stephen Walker.
I can forgive myself for not knowing this when I was actually attending the university because I didn’t know who he was or how much he had contributed to public art in Tasmania. But I’m not sure what my excuse is now . . .