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Great Hall gets a magic makeover

31 March 2017

The University's Great Hall has been given a 21st century makeover, of the magic variety, thanks to the creativity of an imaginative stonemason. The new crest was completed this week, 158 years after the Great Hall was first opened.

The new Hogwarts crest outside of the Great Hall. 

 

This week stonemasons completed work on a new crest located on the previously-blank sandstone shields on the University of Sydney's Great Hall. While several shields have been etched with various family crests over the years, the latest one marks a move away from the traditional style: stonemasons etched the school crest of the fictitious Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry from the Harry Potter novel series. 

The unusal insignia came about through a letter from stonemason and architecture PhD candidate John Steward to the University. Mr Steward was impressed by the University's very own Quidditch Society and its recent second place (first place was awarded to the University of Oxford) in Buzzfeed's rankings of University Campuses That Might Secretly Be Hogwarts. 

The PhD candidate recounts walking past the blank shields during his time as an undergraduate student. Motivated to create a Harry Potter tribute for fellow students and staff to enjoy, Mr Steward made the written proposal to the University early last year.

Mr Steward, who has worked as a stonemason for over a decade, said he was a fan of the books and saw the University's historic sandstone architecture as "Australia's very own Hogwarts".

"I walk past the crests on the Great Hall every day on my way to class, and always throught it would be fun to do something a bit more interesting. 

"Whenever I'm on campus, I hear everyone from high school students, to tourists and lecturers talking about how much the University looks like Hogwarts." 

"I hope that the new crest will brighten up people's days and bring a smile to students' faces. Who knows, maybe one day Sydney Uni might even offer a Bachelor of Dark Arts or PhD in Muggle Studies."

An official unveiling of the Hogwarts crest will be organised for the first week in April. All students and staff will be invited, with details to be announced via the University's Facebook Page. 

The Hogwarts crest not only resonates with my own feelings about the magical opportunities available at university - it's also a bit of fun for other students who spend time near the Great Hall.

"Whenever I'm on campus, I hear everyone from high school students, to tourists and lecturers talking about how much the University looks like Hogwarts." 

"I hope that the new crest will brighten up people's days and bring a smile to students' faces. Who knows, maybe one day Sydney Uni might even offer a Bachelor of Dark Arts or PhD in Muggle Studies."

An official unveiling of the Hogwarts crest will be organised for the first week in April. All students, staff and member of the public are welcome to attend, with details to be announced via the University's Facebook Page.

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