St. Mark's College (University of Adelaide)

St. Mark's College (University of Adelaide)
St Mark's College, University of Adelaide
St Mark's College
Full name St Mark's College
Motto Spernit Virtus Humum [1]
Excellence Reaches for the Stars (lit. Excellence spurns the dry earth)
Named after Mark the Evangelist
Established 1925
Master Rose Alwyn
President Eleni Watts
Location North Adelaide
Residents approx. 230
Admission Co-educational since 1982, formerly all-male

St Mark's College is a co-residential college in North Adelaide, South Australia. Founded in 1925,[2] it is affiliated with the Anglican Church of Australia, yet accepts individuals from all faiths. It is the oldest residential college associated with the University of Adelaide and also accepts students attending the University of South Australia, Flinders University and South Australian technical colleges.[1][3]

The college houses just over 230 tertiary students in both dormitory and apartment accommodation. Normally about 20% of the student body come from overseas countries including New Zealand, Canada, United States, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Japan and Germany.[4] Approximately 3,500 former residents form the Old Collegians' Association.[5]



Foundation and opening

The foundation of St Mark's College was driven by the demand for student accommodation, which the University of Adelaide did not provide. The founders of the University believed that learning thrives best on 'haggis in a hovel', and that consequently there was no necessity for the provision of residence or its official control. It was thought that students should receive no tutorial assistance but rather sink or swim on a few lectures from their professors each week. The Reverend Julian Bickersteth led the drive to establish a residential college, with the Anglican Synod of the Diocese of Adelaide appointing a committee to that end in September 1920.[6]

St Mark's Opening Ceremony, 25 March 1925.

Early in December 1921, a meeting of the provisional committee was held at St Peter's College. Negotiation for a site for the college began in 1922. By the end of the year, H. W. Hodgetts secured options to purchase, for about £10,000, the historic residence of the late Sir John Downer at Pennington Terrace, North Adelaide, together with the adjoining land on Kermode Street, a horse paddock and some old cottages. This, with the subsequent purchase of neighbouring houses and land, gave room for a college of up to 150 students. While the proposed constitution fully safeguarded the Anglican character of the institution, it admitted a number of non-Anglicans to the council and opened the college freely to men of all faiths.

Progress was very slow during 1923 and 1924. The funds which had purchased the property would not also suffice to open the college. Realising that the small funds available prohibited any building, the council instructed the architect, Walter Bagot, to adapt the Downer House to accommodate a single, or temporarily detached married Master; twelve tutors and students; a cook-housekeeper garlanded with the title of Matron, and two or three maids. In December the committee considered some forty Australian and New Zealand applications for the Mastership, together with some forty English names forwarded to them by Sir Francis Wylie of the Rhodes Trust. They announced the Mastership of St Mark's was to be Sir Archibald Grenfell Price on 17 December.

St Mark's College, Term 1, 1925

The name of the college was the subject of some debate. Initially it was to be called Christ's College, but a movement soon developed for the name to be changed to King's. A compromise was reached to name the college St Mark's, after the Saint on whose day the ANZAC at Gallipoli landing took place. The University Council approved the affiliation St Mark's, the first college of the University, on 31 October 1924.

A most interesting decision was the compromise on alcoholic liquors. The founders wished the college to avoid the occasional drinking orgies which they had seen in Oxford and Cambridge, and asked the Bishop to support a compromise which would make the college damp rather than either wet or dry. Under this arrangement the council would grant the students access to beer and light wines in regulated quantities, but spirits were rigidly excluded.

Early in March 1925, the first council was elected, a few days before the College opened. By 25 March the founders had entries from a resident tutor, A. E. M. Kirwood, M.A., a University Lecturer in English and a man of very fine character, and nine students, L. A. G. Symons, A. Walkley, Kells Price, S. J. Douglas, B. Griff, L. F. Casson, W. D. Walker, B.Sc., C. J. Glover and G. W. W. Browne. The college was opened by the Governor, Lieutenant-General Sir Tom Bridges, and blessed by Bishop Nutter Thomas.[7] The College Coat of Arms and colours also date from the first year.


During the initial years accommodation and equipment were severely lacking due to shortage of funds and labour costs being extremely high before the depression. This brought on a continuous growth policy by piecemeal extensions, where the purchase of land and development of buildings was initiated when the college could afford it. The first stage of "New Wing" (Newland Building) was opened in 1926, and a second in 1927.

From the outset the Council placed a great emphasis on building up a resident and non-resident tutorial system; this emphasis has created a framework which is still in practice today. Scholarships and bursaries were also initiated early on to aid clever or needy students. The college also developed its societies and sporting culture early on. As early as 1928 a college "Wranglers' Club" was established to conduct debates and entertain distinguished guests. The College, as well as competing in the University games and societies of the time, also held internal games and sports as Intra-College sport did not exist. In 1934, St Mark's hosted the first inter-collegiate football match in South Australia, defeating Trinity College, Melbourne.

In 1939 the College seemed set for a period of steady if unspectacular advance in service to the community and more immediately to the University, when the Second World War intervened and was followed by an almost complete revaluation and reorganization of University life.[8]

War, recovery and growth

In December 1940, the College was leased to the RAAF for the duration of the war. The remaining students were relocated to a lodging house in Kermode Street. During their tenancy, the RAAF made several improvements to the buildings which were subsequently purchased by the college.[6]

Following the conclusion of the war, the college re-opened on 10 March 1946. A steady growth in numbers necessitated the purchase and rental of additional properties. In 1949, "North House" in Kermode Street was purchased, and "Montefiore" (which later became Aquinas College) was rented. The first stage of "Memorial Building", the second of the college's dormitory buildings, was completed in 1952. A new dining hall and library was built in 1961, two cottages on the western boundary were purchased in 1962, and couple of row houses on the east were purchased in 1963. An anonymous donation allowed the college to purchase the heritage listed Hawker House in 1970, completing the college's present extent.[6]

Women were first admitted to the college in 1982.[9]

Masters of the college

Appointed Retired Name
1925 1956 Sir Archibald_Grenfell_Price
1957 1967 Robert Brook Lewis
1968 1978 Reverend Malcolm McKenzie
1978 1982 Dr Peter Geoffrey Edwards
1983 1990 Reverend Peter Thomson
1991 1999 Robin Ashwin
2000 2007 Dr the Hon John Charles Bannon
2008 Rose Alwyn


The college has three administrative bodies; they are the Council, the Administration and the College Club Committee. The Council is made up of members of the Anglican Church, the University of Adelaide, St. Peter's College, the Old Collegian's Association and senior resident students. It is concerned with long term strategic planning and financing, and is largely separated from the college community. The Administration is responsible for the everyday running of the College.

The College Club is an entirely separate entity to the college administration. All undergraduate residents of the college are members of the College Club (or "Junior Common Room"). Their committee is elected each year by the students, and is composed entirely of students. The College Club Committee is primarily concerned with organising the many social and sporting events throughout the year, as well as intercollege relations with other college clubs in Adelaide and around Australia.[10]


Over twenty scholarships are available to students either considering or already attending St. Mark's. There are various criteria applied to the different scholarships; they are variously open to students who show academic excellence, give service to the college, hail from remote areas, come from a background of financial hardship, have a disability or are seeking ordination in the Anglican church. Some are specifically for students studying a particular discipline (including agriculture, classics, engineering, medicine, music, science or theology). The total value of scholarships awarded annually usually exceeds $120,000. Most notably, the Charles Allan Seymour Hawker Scholarship covers all education and living expenses during the recipients' time at the college.[11]


Newland Building, housing mainly first-year students, is typical of the architecture at St. Mark's.

First year students (known as freshers) are allocated single rooms in one of the three co-residential dormitory buildings on campus: (3 floors),[12] Memorial (3 floors)[13] and Hawker Annexe (1 floor).[14] Each fresher "floor" is a semi-autonomous social group, looked after by a "Floor Tutor", a senior student who provides pastoral care and support for first-year students. Individual rooms are provided with Internet and phone connections, and there are shared laundry and bathroom facilities on each floor. All rooms and external doors are accessed by individual smart card locks.

More senior students may apply for specific rooms within the dormitory buildings, the much sought-after Hawker House mansion,[15] or one of the many apartments with self-contained kitchen, lounge and bathroom facilities.[16]

Buildings and grounds

Downer House
This residence (designed by Rowland Rees for Sir John Downer in 1877[17]) was the first building to be acquired by the college. It now houses college administration, the Junior and Senior Common Rooms, an academic tutor's apartment and computing and printing facilities.[18] A draft of Australia's Constitution was prepared in the building's ballroom in 1897.[19]
Newland Building
This was the first of the college's dedicated dormitory accommodation, completed in six stages from 1926 to 1964. The architect Walter Bagot drew inspiration from precedents in Oxford, as it was the first tertiary dormitory in the colony and thus without local architectural influences. It remains unique in Adelaide. Most rooms in Newland building are assigned to freshers.[20]
Memorial Building
Also completed in stages, "Memorial" (named for the students who fell in World War II) was intended to include a dining hall and eventually enclose the tennis courts completely, forming an Oxford-style quadrangle. However, the "quadrangle" plan was abandoned with the construction of the new dining hall on the southern edge of the tennis courts.[21]
Grenfell Price Dining Hall
The centrally located dining hall was built in 1961 to accommodate growing numbers of students. It has seating for up to 250 people.[22] The College Library on the first floor comprises over 16,000 volumes.[23]
Allister McLeod Sports Pavilion
This modern gym, completed in 2005, is open to students 24 hours a day. In addition to weight machines and free weights, there are a number of exercise machines, including treadmills, a rowing machine and a stairmaster.[24]
Tennis Courts
Bounded by the above four buildings are four grass tennis courts that provide a versatile recreation space in the centre of the College.[24]
Hawker House
A Victorian mansion was acquired by the college in 1970 through an anonymous donation, and named for South Australian politician Charles Hawker. It is also available for student accommodation, and is usually populated by senior students.[15] A bungalow-style extension was later added for fresher accommodation, known as Hawker Annexe.[14][25]
New Cain / New Abel / Matheson / Lewis / Wall
Awkwardly named for the buildings that were incrementally demolished or enveloped as the new structure grew, these three-bedroom apartments are each equipped with laundry, kitchen and lounge facilities. The newest extension, opened in 2007 and incorporating the Matheson, Lewis and Wall buildings, mirrors Memorial Building to the east. The newest apartments vary in floor plan and are occupied mostly by senior students.[26]
"The Pond"
This small quadrangle is the central meeting place of the college. The cruciform pond features a sculpture of St Mark.[27]
The old Downer property stables were converted to a small chapel in the 1970s by a student at the college.[28]
Walkley Cottage
Built in 1839, Walkley cottage is the oldest brick building still standing in the state of South Australia.[29] It now houses the Dean of the college and the Dean's family.[30]

College life

Marksenfest (a St Mark's style Oktoberfest) is held annually on the college tennis courts.[31] St Peter's Cathedral and the Adelaide Oval light towers are visible in the background.

There are eleven residential buildings at St. Mark's, including dormitories, apartments and heritage residences. The rooms vary in size and amenity, but all are equipped with bed, desk and wardrobe, wired internet connection and smart-card access. Each dormitory floor or apartment has its own shared bathroom and laundry facilities.[32] There is also a 24-hour computer suite with printing facilities.

St Mark's College offers extracurricular opportunities in theater, music, journalism and community service. There are also a large number of social and cultural events each year, including O Week festivities, the College Ball, the College Play, a comedy night, numerous "Arts Evenings" to showcase student talent, the Prosh parade (traditionally led by St Mark's students), and a number of dinners. Most of these events are organised by the student body. [31]. Additionally, the dining hall serves Formal Hall (sit-down dinner in academic gowns) four nights per week during the academic year.[22]

The Gas Truck, stopped outside Truro, South Australia, during a trip to Loxton in 2006


"Marksenfest" is the College's one event open to the general public, and is modeled on Oktoberfest. Hundreds of people come to the College grounds every year for the distinctly German-themed day. The event features an array of premium beers, plus food and festivities including a bouncy castle, sumo wrestling, arm wrestling, jelly wrestling, keg races, oom-pah band, jazz band, and a DJ or contemporary live band.[31]

The Gas Truck

The college owns and maintains a recently reconditioned 1936 Dodge truck. Known as the "Gas Truck" or "Gassie", it is used to transport collegians to and from social and sporting events, and is a favourite icon of the college.[31]


St Mark’s College competes in an inter-college sporting competition against Aquinas College, Flinders University Hall, Lincoln College and St Ann's College for the Douglas Irving Cup (formerly, and still usually referred to as, the High Table Cup). Competition takes place throughout the academic year in the following sports: tennis, swimming, cricket, debating, basketball, Australian Rules Football, soccer, netball, hockey, table tennis, volleyball and athletics.[16]

Sporting competitions held internally include pool and table tennis.[16]

Notable alumni

With an Old Collegian's network of over 3500,[5] St. Mark's College has been the home of many notable members of the community. These include:


  • Walkley, G (1985). St. Mark's College: The Buildings and Grounds, Lutheran Publishing House, Adelaide, SA. ISBN 0958881308
  • Price, A G (1968). A History of St. Mark's College, The Council of St. Mark's College, Marion Road, Netley, SA.
  • Kerr C (1983). Archie, the Biography of Sir Archibald Grenfell Price, Melbourne.


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  2. ^ Kerr, 1983
  3. ^ "UniSA Accommodation Services, Residential Colleges". Retrieved 20 June 2006. 
  4. ^ "St Mark's College, Students". Retrieved 9 November 2007. 
  5. ^ a b "St Mark's College, History of the Old Collegians Association". Retrieved 20 June 2006. 
  6. ^ a b c St Mark's College - History
  7. ^ Price, 1968, pp. 4-20
  8. ^ Price, 1968, pp. 26-36,46-48
  9. ^ "Primitive Practices at St Mark's". On Dit 59 (2): 9. 11 March 1991. 
  10. ^ "St Mark's College, College Club Committee". Retrieved 10 November 2007. 
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  12. ^ "St Mark's College, Newland Building". Retrieved 20 June 2006. 
  13. ^ "St Mark's College, Memorial Building". Retrieved 21 June 2006. 
  14. ^ a b "St Mark's College, Hawker Annex". Retrieved 21 June 2006. 
  15. ^ a b "St Mark's College, Hawker House". Retrieved 21 June 2006. 
  16. ^ a b c "St Mark's College, Facilities". Retrieved 22 June 2006. 
  17. ^ E & R Jensen, Colonial Architecture in South Australia (1980), Rigby Publishers Ltd, page 638 (ISBN 0-7270-1404-8)
  18. ^ "St Mark's College, Downer House". Retrieved 22 June 2006. 
  19. ^ John La Nauze, The Making of the Australian Constitution (1972)
  20. ^ Walkley, 1985, pp. 41-44
  21. ^ Walkley, 1985, pp. 50-54
  22. ^ a b "St Mark's College, The Archibald Grenfell-Price Dining Hall". Retrieved 22 June 2006. 
  23. ^ "St Mark's College, The Library". Retrieved 23 June 2006. 
  24. ^ a b "St Mark's College, Sporting and Exercise Facilities". Retrieved 24 June 2006. 
  25. ^ Walkley, 1985, pp. 34-36
  26. ^ "St Mark's College, North East development". Retrieved 10 November 2007. 
  27. ^ "St Mark's College, The Pond". Retrieved 10 November 2007. 
  28. ^ "St Mark's College, Chapel". Retrieved 10 November 2007. 
  29. ^ "SA History Week" (PDF). Archived from the original on 28 September 2007. Retrieved 10 November 2007. 
  30. ^ "St Mark's College, Walkley Cottage". Retrieved 10 November 2007. 
  31. ^ a b c d "St Mark's College, College Events". Retrieved 20 November 2007. 
  32. ^
  33. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l St Mark's College Roll. 
  34. ^ a b "The University of Adelaide - Leaders in their fields". Retrieved 4 April 2009. 
  35. ^ "White Paper on Foreign and Trade Policy Announced". Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Australia. 4 August 1996. Retrieved 4 April 2009. 
  36. ^ "SA Parliament, John Charles Bannon". Retrieved 24 June 2006. 
  37. ^ "Bar Chambers - About Us". Retrieved 4 April 2009. [dead link]
  38. ^ "Transcript of the 2005 Mitchell Oration by Julian Disney". Retrieved 4 April 2009. 
  39. ^ "Oxford Law: The Faculty of Law at the University of Oxford". Retrieved 4 April 2009. 
  40. ^ "Oxford University Press: Natural Law and Natural Rights". Retrieved 4 April 2009. 
  41. ^ "ANU - National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health". Retrieved 4 April 2009. 
  42. ^ "The South Australian Government Gazette". 2005-6-2-. Retrieved 4 April 2009. 
  43. ^ "Taipei Times: Kiribati's Chief Justice lauds social security". 11 January 2004. Retrieved 4 April 2009. 
  44. ^ Stott Despoja, Natasha (7 May 2007). "Australian Democrats: After 30 years a third force is still needed". Retrieved 4 April 2009. 
  45. ^ "Sally Sara". ABC News. 4 Apr 2007. Retrieved 23 March 2009. 
  46. ^ "The University of Sydney: Emeritus Professor Ivan Shearer". Retrieved 4 April 2009. 
  47. ^ "UN Counter-Terrorism CTED". 26 July 2010. Retrieved 4 June 2011. 

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