For 28 years Terry Larder has been providing the warmest of welcomes to UWA visitors and the thousands of staff, students and alumni that have crossed his path.
Anyone who has been lucky enough to go on a ‘Terry Tour’ understands how passionate Terry is about the University, not to mention the fact that his vast UWA knowledge is surely unsurpassed by anyone.
From amusing anecdotes to secret spots, Terry’s the person to talk to and we asked him what his favourite UWA icons were.
1 – Top of the tower
“With 360 degree views there is no other place at UWA like the top of the clock tower. Finished in 1932, architects Rodney Alsop and Conrad Sayce actually had a falling out over the design of the tower roof.
“Sayce wanted a style of roof similar to Sydney’s Queen Victoria building dome, whereas Alsop preferred an angular Italianate style. As Alsop was the leading architect on the project his Italian style was chosen and as the disagreement grew, he scratched Sayce’s name out of the original drawings.
"The commission of the Hackett Memorial buildings led to a legal dispute between the partners, from which Sayce withdrew and subsequently emigrated to South Africa. They never spoke again.
“Any staff member can climb the tower, they just need to come see me and get the key. It’s 184 steps to the top so not the best day to wear high heels though.”
2 – Sunken Garden
“The Sunken Garden was initially a sand quarry used for the mortar joints and in the construction of the Hackett Memorial buildings. Following its transformation to a secluded amphitheatre with gardens, ponds and terraced lawns, Oedipus Rex was the first production held at the venue in 1948.
“What I especially love about this story is the Sunken Garden’s link to Hollywood royalty, Laurence Olivier and Vivienne Leigh. In 1948 they were touring Australia and were in the audience for the Garden’s opening. They were so impressed with the production, they urged further development of theatre studies on campus.”
3 – Somerville Auditorium
“William Somerville was a foundation member of the UWA Senate and it was his idea in 1927 to create this space defined by a cathedral of Norfolk Island pine trees.
“This beloved venue has space for up to 1,200 people. It is a wonderful place to enjoy an outdoor film and is actually where the first foreign films were shown in Perth.
“As you can imagine with 50 metre pine trees now reaching maturity, there’s a fair bit of maintenance required and once a year the University has to hire cherry pickers to ensure all the pine cones are removed, as one falling from 50 meters would not make for an enjoyable film.”
4 – PROSH
“It’s been wonderful watching PROSH evolve over the years, and I love it because you just never know what the students will get up to. Sometimes it is so close to the mark that it’s the talking point for the next couple of weeks. This has been a major fundraiser from the Student Guild for decades.
“The life of our campus comes from the students and PROSH is just a great example of the student spirit and such a fun day to be on campus.”
5 – Penrose Floor, Bayliss Building
“The significance of the floor in the Bayliss Building is that it’s tiled in a penrose pattern. Professor Sir Roger Penrose developed the five-fold symmetry pattern which at one stage had been thought impossible.
“It really is something to see and worth a visit if you’re in the area. Whenever I see it my first thought is how painstaking it must have been to lay!”
Terry Tours take place every third Saturday of the month, excluding exams (November). Staff and their families are welcome to participate. The two hour tour starts at 1.30pm from the Visitors Centre. No need to register and the tour is free.