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Building & place names

These pages provide information on the origin of the names of campus buildings and locations. The list is not complete but new names are being added as information on them is compiled.

Bachelors Lane
In the early days of Canberra, the nearby Lennox House was known as the Bachelors’ Quarters.  
Baldessin Cresent George Baldessin (1939-1978) was an outstanding teacher of art: his sculptures and graphic works are represented in the National Gallery and there are several in the ANU collection.
Balmain Cresent and Balmain Lane William Balmain (1762-1803) was a surgeon with First Fleet (1788). He subsequently became a magistrate and a trader. 
Banks Wing (Botany and Zoology)  

The University Council resolved on 11 October 1996 that the new area of the Botany and Zoology Building be called the Gould Wing and the existing area be known as the Banks Wing, to stress the unity of research carried out by the Division, and honours the foremost early contributors to botany and zoology in Australia, Sir Joseph Banks  FRS and John Gould, FRS.  (This new building was opened by Sir David Attenborough on 8 November 1996.

Barry DriveSir Redmond Barry KCCMG, KB (1813-1880), Judge, admitted Supreme Court of Victoria 1841, appointed Judge 1852, held position of Senior Puisne Judge until his death; presided over the trial of several Eureka Stockade rebels and in 1880 over the trial of Ned Kelly; first Chancellor of the University of Melbourne and first President of the Trustees of Public Library of Victoria. 
Bruce Hall (Hall of Residence)

Stanley Melbourne Bruce (1883-1967) was Prime Minister of Australia and Minister for External Affairs when the decision was taken to move the seat of government from Melbourne to Canberra, following which the move for a national university began. Bruce was Australian High Commissioner in Great Britain from 1933-45 and served as the Australian National University’s first Chancellor from 1951-61. He was created a viscount in 1947.

Burgmann College (Hall of Residence)

Bishop E.H. Burgmann (1885-1967) was Anglican Bishop of Goulburn from 1934 and Bishop of Canberra and Goulburn from 1950-60. During the 1930s he frequently stated that a national university should be established in Canberra so that it would be a capital in which "Australia not only governs but thinks". He moved a resolution to this effect at the General Synod of the Church of England 1937.

Burton Hall (Hall of Residence)Professor H. Burton was principal of and Professor of Economic History in, Canberra University College from 1949-60. After association of the College with the ANU in 1960 he was Principal of the School of General Studies from 1960-65 and held a professorship in Economic History. He served a term as Executive Director and Secretary of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia. 
Canberry Bridge (over Sullivans Creek) 

The bridge is on Fellows Road. In the early days the area which is now Canberra was generally known as Canberry or Canburry. The name is said to be derived from an Aboriginal word for "meeting place". 


This word is obviously associated with "chancellor" which has a long history going back to Roman times. It was introduced in England in the eleventh century. Most people spell the building housing the chancellor as "chancellery" but in 1963 it was decided by the then University Council that the administration building should be known as the "Chancelry". "Chancelry" is an archaic contraction of "chancellery".

The word is also related to "chancery", one of the three divisions of the High Court of Justice in England. Associated with this is the term "to get a man's head into chancery", which is to get something under your arm where you can pummel it as long as you like and it cannot break free without great difficulty. This phrase alludes to long and exhausting law suits for which the court of chancery was once notorious.

J.B. Chifley Building of the University Library (also known as Chifley Library)  Joseph Benedict Chifley (1885-1951) was Prime Minister of Australia from 1945-49 and his government introduced the Bill which led to the establishment of the Australian National University in 1946. Chifley took a strong interest in the University’s development and played a role in attracting eminent Australian-born academics to return to Australia to staff the new University. He also saw clearly the need for generous expenditure on long range research projects.
Clunies Ross StreetSir Ian Clunies Ross (1899-1959), Chairman, CSIRO from 1949 until his death, previously Professor of Veterinary Science at Sydney University; made vast and valued research in veterinary field; knighted 1954. 
Cockroft Building (in the Research School of Physical Sciences and Engineering) 

Sir John Cockcroft (1897-1967) is credited with being the founder of modern nuclear science research and, with T.S. Walton, gained the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1951. In 1954 he arranged for the British Government to donate the Cockcroft Walton synchrotron to the ANU. He served as chancellor of the University from 1961-65. Cockcroft received numerous honorary degrees from universities throughout the world and was a member of several internal academies.

Copland Building and Copland Lecture Theatre

Sir Douglas Copland (1894-1971) an economist, was the first Vice-Chancellor of the ANU, serving from 1948-53. He had previously been Sydney Myer Professor of Commerce and Dean of the Faculty of Commerce at the University of Melbourne from 1924-44. Following his Vice-Chancellorship at the ANU he served as Australian High Commissioner in Canada and was the first Principal of the Australian Administrative Staff College, Mt Eliza.  

H.C. Coombs Building and H.C. Coombs Lecture Theatre  

Dr H.C. Coombs (1906-1997) was Chancellor of the ANU from 1968-76 but his active interest in the University spans nearly four decades. As Director-General of Post-War Reconstruction, he was a member of the Interim Council and then of Council, serving as Deputy Chair from 1957 and Pro-Chancellor, from 1959-1968. Dr Coombs was the instigator of many initiatives in the University , including the Creative Arts Fellowship for Australian artists and the establishment of the North Australian Research Unit. He also served as a Governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia, Chair of the Australian Council for Aboriginal Affairs and Chair of the Australian Council for the Arts. 

J.G. Crawford Building Formerly a Special Projects Building, named J.G. Crawford Building in 1982 after the (then) Chancellor, Emeritus Professor Sir John Crawford.  Professor Crawford was Director of the (then) Research School of Pacific Studies from 1960 to 1967, Vice-Chancellor (1968 to 1972) and Chancellor from 1976 to 1984.  
John Curtin School of Medical Research 

The school is named after John Curtin (1885-1945), the former Prime Minister who led the Australian government during most of World War Two. It was during his Prime Ministership that much of the ground work for the establishment of the ANU was carried out. Mr Curtin invited Sir Howard (later Lord) Florey to Australia in 1944 to advise on the production and use of penicillin. During the visit, Florey stressed the need to establish a medical research school to reverse the "brain drain" which had occurred during the previous decades. 

Daley Road 

C.S. Daley (1887-1966) was Assistant Secretary of the Department of the Interior (earlier know as Canberra Civic Administration) from 1932-52. He was active in getting the Canberra University College established and then worked for the foundation of a predominantly research university, The Australian National University. He was member of the College Council from 1930-58 and was member of the Interim Council of the University from 1946-51. 

Dedman Building


J.J. Dedman (1896-1973) was Minister of War Organisation of Industry and Minister in charge of the CSIR (now CSIRO) in 1943 when an inter-governmental department was set up to formulate and coordinate Commonwealth activities in relation to education. A second committee considered the matter further and in August 1945, as the Minister for Post-War Reconstruction, Dedman made the public announcement that the government would establish a postgraduate and research university in Canberra. John Dedman was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Laws from the ANU in 1965 and graduated as a Bachelor of Arts in 1966. He was a member of the University Council from 1967 till his death in 1973.
Dickson Road Dr Bertram Thomas Dickson, a botanist and plant pathologist, was Chief of the Division of Plant Industry at CSIR (now CSIRO) in Canberra from 1927-51. He was a member of Canberra University College Council from 1937 and was its Chairman from 1954 until the association of the College with The Australian National University in 1960. 

Duffield Building (at Mt Stromlo Observatory)


Dr W.G. Duffield (1879-1929) was first Director of the Commonwealth Solar Observatory, Mt Stromlo, from 1923-29 and was Vice-President of the first Council of the University Association of Canberra in 1929. 

Eggleston Road


Sir Frederic Eggleston (1875-1954), a lawyer and diplomat, was one of several leading Australians who perceived at an early date the need for Australia to greatly increase its knowledge and awareness of its Pacific neighbours through the establishment of a Pacific studies school in the proposed national university. Sir Frederic, who was first Chairman of the Commonwealth Grants Commission, from 1933-41 and Minister to China from 1941-44 and to the United States from 1944-46, was a member of the University’s 1946 Interim Council. 
Ellery Cresent


Robert L.J. Ellery (1827-1908) was Victorian Government Astronomer. 
Fellows Road

The University chose the term "fellow" to describe its basic term of appointment for academic staff in the Research Schools. 

Florey Theatre (in the John Curtin School of Medical Research)


Howard Walter Florey (1898-1968), Australian-born experimental pathologist, was best known for his research in developing penicillin. He was Professor of Pathology at Oxford University for 27 years and during this time, in 1944, he visited Australia at the invitation of Prime Minister Curtin, and stressed the need for a medical research establishment. Following the formation of the 1946 Interim Council, Florey was the key figure in the academic design of the John Curtin School of Medical Research. The Chair occupied by the Director of the School is named after him. Florey shared the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1945 and was created a life peer in 1965. Lord Florey’s interest in and assistance to the ANU culminated in his accepting the role of Chancellor from 1965 till his death in 1968. 

Garran Hall (Hall of Residence) and Garran Road

Sir Robert Garran(1867-1957), a keen federalist, served as secretary of the Attorney-General’s Department and Parliamentary Draftsman from 1901-16 and as a Solicitor General from then till 1932. In 1927 he was Chairman of the second committee appointed by the Federal Capital Commission to examine a proposal to establish a university in Canberra. He was president of the first Council of the University Association and Chairman of the Council of Canberra University College from 1930-53. When plans for the national university were announced he was made a member of the planning committee on the Research School of Social Sciences and a member of the Interim Council of 1946. He was the first honorary graduate of the University, receiving a Doctorate of Laws in 1951 and a Chair in the Faculty of Law bears his name. 

Gould Wing (Botany and Zoology)

The University Council resolved on 11 October 1996 that the new area of the Botany and Zoology Building be called the Gould Wing and the existing area be known as the Banks Wing, to stress the unity of research carried out by the Division, and honours the foremost early contributors to botany and zoology in Australia, Sir Joseph Banks  FRS and John Gould, FRS.  (This new building was opened by Sir David Attenborough on 8 November 1996.
W.K. Hancock Building Formerly the Life Sciences Building, named W.K. Hancock Building in 1985 after Emeritus Professor Sir Keith Hancock, one of the founders of the University and first Director of the Research School of Social Sciences. 

Haydon-Allen Building and Haydon-Allen Lecture Theatre

J.F.M. Haydon (1882-1967) with Dr l.H. Allen (1879-1964) were the first lecturers appointed full-time to the teaching staff of Canberra University College. Mr Haydon, who was a Senior Lecturer in Modern Languages, had previously been Professor of that discipline at the Royal Military College, Duntroon, while Dr Allen, Senior Lecturer in English and Latin, had been Professor of English at Duntroon. 
Ross Hohnen Room (in the Chancelry) R.A. Hohnen was Registrar of the ANU from 1949-68 and Secretary of the University from 1969 till his retirement in 1975. Essentially he created and guided the professional administration of the University during its formative years and period of vigorous growth, keeping the University in touch with and responsive to general developments in the community, especially in relation to industrial design and the arts. He was the Chairman of the Industrial Design Council of Australia and the Australia Council’s Community Arts Committee.
AD Hope Building

Professor A D Hope is one of Australia's foremost poets. He was Professor of English at Canberra University College from 1951-1960 and Professor of English in the School of General Studies at the University from 1961-1968. He was the first Dean of the Faculty of Arts and in 1972 was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Letters by the University. 

Leonard Huxley BuildingSir Leonard Huxley (1902-1988) was Elder Professor of Physics in the University of Adelaide from 1949-1960, and Vice-Chancellor of this University from 1960-1967. A Foundation Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science, he was first President of the Australian Institute of Physics from 1962-1965. During the war years he was a member of the British Telecommunications Research Establishment where, from 1940-46, he was head of a school which trained over 7000 people in the principles and applications of radar. He was Chairman of the Radio Research Board of Australia from 1956-61.

Jaeger Building (housing the Reasearch Schoool of Earth Sciences)

Professor J C Jaeger (1907-1979) was foundation Professor of Geophysics in the Research School of Physical Sciences at the University from 1952-72, during which time he served a term as Dean of the School. During his period at the University Professor Jaeger strengthened the study of geophysics and geochemistry and suggested the formation of a separate Research School of Earth Sciences to further develop these disciplines in the University.

John XXIII College (Hall of Residence)

Pope John XXIII (1881-1963) was Pope for five years from 1958 during which time he fostered the Ecumenical movement and encouraged dialogue with other church leaders. The motto of the College, veritas vi veritatis, means 'truth will out'.
Kingsley Street

Henry Kingsley (1830-1876) was an Englishman who arrived in Melbourne in 1853 and tried his hand at several occupations before returning to Britain four years later to write. Among his popular novels, which were set in Australia, were Recollections of Geoffrey Hamlyn and Ravenshoe. Henry's better known brother, Charles, was a clergyman, social reformer and novelist whose works included Westward Ho! And The Water Babies

Le Couteur Building


The University Council resolved in July 1996 that the Mathematical Sciences Building be named the Le Couteur Building – RSPhysSE in recognition of Emeritus Professor Kenneth Le Couteur, primarily for his outstanding contribution to the development of the Research School of Physical Sciences and Engineering.  Professor Le Couteur was appointed Foundation Professor of Theoretical Physics, in the Research School of Physical Sciences in 1956.  He was Head of Department until he retired in 1985. 
Lennox House and Lennox Crossing

David Lennox (1788-1873), pioneer bridge builder, New South Wales and Victoria. 

Brian Lewis Crescent

Professor B B Lewis was this University's first site planner and the architect of University House. Appointed to The Age Chair of Architecture in the University of Melbourne in 1946, he was Dean of the Faculty of Architecture and Building at Melbourne from 1947-71. 

Linnaeus Way

Carolus Linnaeus (1707-1778), a Swedish naturalist, is known as the father of modern botany. From 1742-78 he was Professor of Botany at the University of Uppsala where he completed his most famous work Systema Naturae. 

Liversidge Street

Archibald Liversidge (1846-1927), first Professor of Science at Sydney University 1883-1907; founded the Australasian Association for the Advancement of Science 1885; Commissioner for New South Wales at the Paris Exhibition 1872; original member of the Board of Technical Educators.
MacPherson Bridge (on Ward Road)

John MacPherson (1798-1875) came to Australia in the 1820s and in the middle 1830s he was formally granted land in Canberra. His property, known as Springbank, is part of the site now occupied by the University. William Sullivan later owned some of MacPherson's property along the banks of the Canberry Creek, now known as Sullivans Creek, over which MacPherson Bridge was built. MacPherson's children are thought to have been the first European children born in the 'Limestone Plains' district. 

McDonald RoadArthur Leopold Gladstone McDonald; first University Librarian 1948-60. 
Marcus Clarke Street Marcus Clarke (1846-1881), journalist and author, Secretary to the Trustees of Melbourne Public Library; correspondent for the Daily Telegraph London; best known for his work Term of His Natural Life, written in 1869, serialised 1870-72 in the Colonial Monthly, of which he was owner-Editor, and retitled For the Term of His Natural Life and published in 1885.  
Melville Hall

Sir Leslie Melville was Professor of Economics at the University of Adelaide from 1929-31 and held several positions in the Treasury and Commonwealth Bank before becoming Vice-Chancellor of the University in 1953 - a position he held for seven years. He has subsequently been Chairman of the Australian Tariff Board, a member of the Development Advisory Service of the International Bank and, from 1966-74, Chairman of the Commonwealth Grants Commission. 

RG Menzies Building of the University Library (also know as Menzies Library)

Sir Robert Menzies (1894-1978) was a member of Federal Parliament from 1934 and was Prime Minister from 1939-41 and from 1949-66. During his Prime Ministership the Australian Universities Commission was formed and the Commonwealth Government took over substantial financial responsibility for Australian universities. Barrister and scholar, Sir Robert is credited with having taken a far-sighted and generous approach to tertiary education and research. He was awarded more than twenty honorary degrees from universities throughout the world. 

Mills Road and Mills Room (the Council Room in the Chancelry)

Professor R C Mills (1886-1952) who was Professor of Economics at the University of Sydney from 1922-46, played a leading role in the founding and development of the University. He was Chairman of the University Grants Commission in 1943 when an inter-governmental committee was set up to examine a proposal for a national university. He was chairman of the second inter-departmental committee of 1945 whose report to Cabinet was accepted and let to the Act of Parliament in 1946 establishing the Australian National University. Mills, who was then Director of the Commonwealth Office of Education, was Chairman of the 1946 Interim Council and remained a Council member until 1951. He helped to launch the Commonwealth Scholarship scheme which provided tuition and maintenance to thousands of students over a 20 year period.  

Hanna Neumann Building 

Professor Hanna Neumann (1914-1971) was Professor and Head of the Department of Pure Mathematics in The Faculties in the University from 1964 until her death in 1971 and Dean of Students from 1968-69. Professor Neumann was the first woman to be appointed to a Chair at the University. 
Oliphant Building (Research School of Physical Sciences and Engineering)

Sir Mark Oliphant (1901- ) played a major role in the formation of the Research School of Physical Sciences and in encouraging frontier research in Australia in nuclear physics. While Profess or Physics at the University of Birmingham from 1937-50 he gave advice to the University's Interim Council on the direction in which research in the physical sciences should take. His research, particularly at Birmingham, led to basic discoveries in radar and atomic energy. He was Director of the School from 1950-63. He was President of the Australian Academy of Science from 1954-56 and Governor of South Australia from 1971-76. 

Scarth Room (a private dining room in University House)

Mr T Scarth (1906-1963) was manager of University House from 1957-63 and did much to establish its reputation as a centre for visiting scholars and post-graduate students. 

Science Road Road forming part of the Science precinct of the (then) School of General Studies).  
Sullivans Creek William Sullivan (1829-1911) came to Australia from Ireland in the 1850s and a few years later moved to the Canberra district where he leased land. In 1888 he purchased Springbank which had originally been owned by John MacPherson. As Sullivan owned land on either side of Canberry or Canburry Creek, it became known as Sullivans Creek.  
Toad Hall (Hall of Residence) The University Council adopted this name on the recommendation of the first residents of the hall where the setting reminded them of The Wind in the Willows
Trendall Place Professor A D Trendall (1909-1995) was founding Master of University House from 1954 to 1969, Deputy Vice-Chancellor of The Australian National University from 1958 to 1964 and a founding member of the Australian Academy of the Humanities.
Ursula Collage (Hall of Residence) 

Ursula was a fourth or fifth century Breton princess who has a great reputation for holiness and learning. She is the patroness of the University of Paris (Sorbonne), and the Ursuline order, founded by St Angela Merici, was named after her. 

University Avenue Bridge Ward Road In Walter Burley Griffin's original plan for Canberra he indicated the general site for a university and included University Avenue. Although the building of the University Union and pedestrian court have phased out much of the avenue, the original name is being preserved through calling the nearby bridge University Avenue Bridge. 
Ward Road

Professor H K Ward (1887-1972) was Bosch Professor of Bacteriology at the University of Sydney from 1935-52. In 1946 four advisory committees were set up to advise on research schools for the National University and Professor Ward was a member of the medical committee. He served on the Interim Council and Council from 1948-53. 

Willows OvalA continuation of The Wind in the Willows theme which influenced the naming of Toad Hall. 
Yencken Building Previously the Number 2 Boiler House, which had been recommissioned as offices for the staff of the Buildings and Grounds Division.  Named in 1988 in recognition of the long service of Mr A.J.R. (John) Yencken as a member of Council from 1966 to 1983, as Chairman of the Buildings and Grounds Committee from 1966 to 1988 and as foundation Chairman of ANUTECH Pty Ltd from 1979 to 1991.