The Macquarie University Sculpture Park in Sydney, Australia, features a wonderful collection of contemporary Australian artwork decorating the university’s campus. Founded in 1992, the Sculpture Park includes works from artists such as Richard Byrnes, David Jensz, Gary Deirmendjian, Margaret Sheridan, Paul Hopmeier and its founder, the late Errol Davis (1926 – 2009). Managed by the Macquarie University Art Gallery, the Sculpture Park is composed of three main sections: Western Walk, Indoor Sites, and Lakeside Walk. Of these sections, the most popular one is the Lakeside Walk. If you have time, then you should plan to see everything the Sculpture Park has to offer, but if not, then at least try to see the Lakeside Walk as it provides a relaxing natural space to enjoy along with its fantastic contemporary sculptures.
With its small lake, fountain, and numerous trees, it’s easy to see why the Lakeside Walk is such a popular spot. Some of the sculptures located here include Tower and Proto Tower by Michael Snape, Reclining Figure by Janna Adams Tess, Coil by Andrew Rogers, and Red Feathered Friend by the Park’s founder, Errol Davis. Tower and Proto Tower are both similar steel sculptures, but Tower has a cylindrical design while Proto Tower has an open half-cylindrical one as though it has been cut down the middle. Because of this, Tower appears as though you are seeing it from the outside, but the partially-open Proto Tower lets you see from the inside looking out. Coil is the name of a sculpture just outside the fountain and lake. Look towards the lake and you will see this twisted silicon bronze sculpture located nearby. Finally, Red Feathered Friend is a bright red colored steel sculpture reminiscent of a bird. No trip to the Sculpture Park is complete without seeing some of founder Errol Davis’ works!
Two examples of the Western Walk’s sculptures include From North Point by Margel Hinder and The Warawara Friendship Stone by Euphemia Bostock & Jan Shaw. The multilayered spherical From North Point is one of a few works by the late Australian-American sculptor Margel Hinder to see at the Sculpture Park. The other example I mentioned, The Warawara Friendship Stone, is located outside the Department of Indigenous Studies. Co-created by Bundjalung-Munajali artist Euphemia Bostock and Australian artist Jan Shaw, this work lets visitors see an example of contemporary sculpture inspired by traditional indigenous art.
The Indoor Sites refer to the indoor sculptures housed in different buildings around campus. A few examples of these include Opus 667 and Opus 769 by Robert Klippel and Portrait bust of Errol Davis by Babette Forster-Gomme.
Two other unique works to take note of are Silent Shadow by Djon Mundine & Marlo Slavin and Bristle by Nigel Helyer. Located north of the lake, Silent Shadow is a unique sculpture and one you could easily miss unless you know what to look for. The concrete work is not a vertical piece as most sculptures are, but rather two horizontal shapes lying flat on the ground. Because of this, you cannot easily see it until you get near it. Bristle, located near building Y3A, is a tall kinetic sculpture towering above the open field. I recommend seeing Bristle not only because it is a great sculpture, but also because it is one of the Sculpture Park’s newest sculptures.
If you are planning on visiting and would like to know more about the sculptures decorating its campus, then you can contact the Art Gallery staff ahead of time to schedule a private tour. However, if you wish, then you can wander the Sculpture Park on your own as you breathe the fresh air of the outdoors and enjoy seeing the artwork at your own pace.
Besides the Sculpture Park, another great thing about Macquarie University is that it has several other museums throughout the campus. After you are finished touring the Sculpture Park, then if you have time, you should consider visiting some of them as well. Your first stop should be the Macquarie University Art Gallery. Here, you can see a large collection of modern and contemporary artwork along with photography from the 1960’s until today. The Art Gallery’s indoor collection presents another side of the Australian contemporary art from the outdoor Sculpture Park.
With its collection of natural history, such as animal skeletons, taxidermy, and aquariums, the Biological Sciences Museum is a great spot to bring kids to. The museum also provides tours if booked ahead of time and, due to the nature of the collection, I recommend doing this if you plan on visiting it.
The Australian History Museum displays objects and exhibitions from throughout Australian history. Examples of subjects covered included indigenous people, the colonial era, modern Australia, and immigration. Similarly, the the Museum of Ancient Cultures focuses on history, anthropology, and archaeology.
If you are interested in sports, then stop by Macquarie University Sporting Hall of Fame. This museum not only includes exhibits on some of Macquarie University’s greatest athletes, but also some of Australia’s greatest, such as world-famous Olympic swimmer Ian Thorpe.
There are two other special places on campus that you might also be interested in. The first of these is the Lachlan & Elizabeth Macquarie Room. Located at the Macquarie University Library, this room is dedicated to the university’s namesake and fifth Governor of New South Wales, Lachlan Macquarie, and his wife, Elizabeth. Inside, visitors can see a variety of historical objects connected to Lachlan and Elizabeth. The second place to see is the Downing Herbarium, but please contact them ahead of time in order to schedule your visit.
Overall, the Macquarie University Sculpture Park and the other museums throughout its campus make the Australian university a great educational institution for both students and visitors. Next time you are in Sydney, try to stop by the campus and see everything it has to offer!