It can be comforting to imagine the student experience as a continuum. I am but one of many students to detour through the Quad for the view, to sit at Courtyard Cafe for hours between class, to peruse Honi instead of my readings. Generations of students have passed through the University — and it’s nice to have proof.
Deep in the Chau Chak Wing Museum archives rest photographs of the University of Sydney taken by Max Dupain in the 1950s — one of Australia’s most prolific and skilled photographers who examined the University through his unique lens. Dupain is recognised internationally for his depictions of ‘Australian life’, articulated through architectural photographs of Sydney as well as portraits taken at the beach. Even if you’re not familiar with his name, you likely recognise his famous photograph Sunbaker (1937).
Dupain’s photographs of USyd were taken out of his own initiative and interest, writing that he “had intended to create a book illustrating life in context at the University. Hundreds of exposures were made but the finance to publish was not forthcoming.”
You can have a look through some of the highlights below to see these University lives in context, but I highly recommend going through the Chau Chak Wing Museum’s archives to have a closer look.