University of Sydney

Most Influential School

Australian university founded in 1850

About University of Sydney

By James Barham, PhD

The wave of expansion of Homo sapiens out of its African birthplace reached the continent of Australia around 40,000 years ago, or more. However, the first visit of Europeans to the land down under did not occur until 1606, when the Dutch explorer Willem Janszoon made landfall at what is now the town of Weipa on the western shore of the Cape York Peninsula in northern Queensland.

Several sightings and landings by other Dutch, as well as Spanish, explorers occurred over the next century and a half or so. However, it was not until 1770 that Captain James Cook claimed for the British crown the region surrounding an inlet along the southeast coast that he named Botany Bay, lying just south of modern Sydney. It was this event which led in short order to the continuous settlement of Australia by Europeans and other outsiders.

It is useful to remember, by way of comparison with the other schools on this list, that by the time the University of Sydney (the first Australian university) was founded in 1850, the British presence in the continent now universally and affectionately known as “Oz” was only about three quarters of a century old.

A lot has happened in that short time.

Today, the University of Sydney is a very large institution of higher learning serving more than 52,000 students and enjoying an endowment approaching the A$2 billion mark.

Sydney is connected to five Nobel Prize–winners in all, including:

  • John Cornforth — chemistry
  • Pioneering neuroscientist, John C. Eccles — physiology or medicine
  • Economist John Harsanyi — economics

The University of Sydney has had a strong international presence in academic philosophy ever since the arrival of the Scottish-born philosopher John Anderson in the 1920s. Other distinguished Sydney-associated philosophers include:

  • John Passmore
  • John L. Mackie
  • David M. Armstrong
  • David Stove
  • Charles B. Martin
  • Peter Godfrey-Smith

Other famous University of Sydney–linked persons include:

  • Physicist and chaos theory pioneer, Robert M. May
  • Soprano, Joan Sutherland
  • Poet, Les Murray
  • Novelist, Howard Jacobson
  • Noted feminist author, Germaine Greer
  • Influential literary critic, Clive James
  • Noted art critic and historian, Robert Hughes
  • Sinologist and essayist, Simon Leys (Pierre Ryckmans)
  • Film directors Bruce Beresford, Peter Weir, Phillip Noyce & Jane Campion

According to Wikipedia, The University of Sydney is a public research university located in Sydney, Australia. Founded in 1850, it is Australia's first university and is regarded as one of the world's leading universities. The university is known as one of Australia's six sandstone universities. Its campus, spreading across the inner-city suburbs of Camperdown and Darlington, is ranked in the top 10 of the world's most beautiful universities by the British Daily Telegraph and the American Huffington Post. The university comprises eight academic faculties and university schools, through which it offers bachelor, master and doctoral degrees.

What Is University of Sydney Known For?

University of Sydney is known for it's academic work in the following disciplines:

University of Sydney's Top Areas of Influence With Degrees Offered

Who Are University of Sydney's Most Influential Alumni?

University of Sydney's most influential alumni faculty include professors and professionals in the fields of Nursing, Law, and Political Science. Here are some of University of Sydney's most famous alumni:

Mervyn Tan
Mervyn Tan
A Former Chief of Air Force of Singapore.
Carroll Morgan
A Computer scientist.
Donald Metcalf
An Australian medical researcher.
Wesley Wildman
An American theologian.
Eugene Kamenka
An Australian philosopher.
Tom Butler-Bowdon
An Australian writer.
Bruce Kapferer
An Australian anthropologist.
Bob Ellis
An Australian writer.
Peter Jensen
An Archbishop of Sydney. Peter Jensen is Australian Anglican bishop.
John O'Sullivan
John O'Sullivan
An Australian engineer.
Jeremy Griffith
Jeremy Griffith
An Australian biologist.
David Kang
An Australian barrister.