Adelaidean - News from the University of Adelaide The University of Adelaide Australia
December 2006 Issue
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The covers come off again... 100 years later

 Benefactors

The University of Adelaide recently paid tribute to its founding benefactor in a re-enactment of the 1906 ceremony to unveil the statue of Sir Walter Watson Hughes.

Her Excellency Marjorie Jackson-Nelson, Governor of South Australia, and two descendants of Sir Walter - brothers Mr Walter Hughes Duncan and Mr Jock Duncan - unveiled the Sir Walter Watson Hughes statue on 22 November, in an echo of that earlier ceremony.

Sir Walter's gift of 20,000 in 1872 led to the foundation of the University of Adelaide in 1874, giving South Australia the nation's third university.

"When Sir Walter made his donation, Adelaide was a fledgling colony. Sir Walter had the vision to perceive that his gift would make a necessary and vital impact on the development of South Australia and its people," said the Governor.

"His generosity meant that today we have in our capital this great University, one of Australia's leading universities. The University of Adelaide has helped put this city on the map intellectually and in economic terms through its teaching and research excellence.

"Moreover its physical presence - the elegance and the dignity of these beautiful buildings and grounds on North Terrace - has become a very significant part of Adelaide's built heritage, adding much to the beauty and enjoyment of the city for visitors and locals alike. We all, therefore, owe a great deal of gratitude to Sir Walter."

During the re-enactment, three members of the Police Historic Society in period costume led a procession from the Mitchell Building to the statue on North Terrace consisting of the Governor, the Right Honourable the Lord Mayor of Adelaide Michael Harbison, Commissioner of Police Mal Hyde, the University Chancellor the Hon John von Doussa QC, University Vice-Chancellor and President Professor James McWha, and members of the University community. They were accompanied by the Band of the South Australia Police brass quintet playing music from the 1906 ceremony, and lining the procession's path were Victoriana Society of SA members in period costume.

University Vice-Chancellor Professor James McWha said: "Sir Walter's gift of 20,000 was a staggering amount for those times. The centenary celebration of the statue unveiling commemorates his generosity and vision that has had a major influence on the lives of so many people.

"For over 130 years, the University of Adelaide has been at the heart of South Australian life, shaping education, research, culture, politics and economics. With 100,000 graduates to date, 100 Rhodes Scholars and five Nobel Laureates - three of them our own graduates - I think Sir Walter would have been extremely proud of what his gift started."

Story by Robyn Mills

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The original unveiling of the Sir Walter Watson Hughes statue was a major event in 1906

The original unveiling of the Sir Walter Watson Hughes statue was a major event in 1906
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The original unveiling of the Sir Walter Watson Hughes statue was a major event in 1906

The original unveiling of the Sir Walter Watson Hughes statue was a major event in 1906
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The Governor of South Australia, Her Excellency Marjorie Jackson-Nelson, unveiling the Hughes statue

The Governor of South Australia, Her Excellency Marjorie Jackson-Nelson, unveiling the Hughes statue
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