As then-Vice Chancellor Di Yerbury tells it:
It was a lovely morning in May 1991 when Errol Davis, a long-term committee member of the Sculptors Society, dreamt up the idea of a sculpture park while walking through Macquarie University’s campus in North Ryde.
He arrived unannounced at the vice-chancellor’s door, exuberantly congratulating me on having a beautiful sculpture park on campus. Surprised, I asked, “But where are all the sculptures?” “Ah,” said Davis meaningfully, “that’s where we come in… “
The “we” to whom Errol referred was the Sculptors Society and together with the enthusiastic assistance of all at Macquarie – including Di Yerbury, John Robertson, Peter Stanbury, Rhonda Davis, Leonard Janiszewski, Effy Alexakis and Kirri Hill among many others – worked enthusiastically to bring Errol’s dream to life.
Macquarie University’s sculpture park was the first of its kind to become a permanent feature of any university campus in Australia. It was established in 1992, the year of the university’s Silver Jubilee of teaching.
It features more than 130 sculptures by leading and emerging Australian and international sculptors, which can be found peppered throughout the 126 hectare campus. The collection features a variety of styles, materials and techniques, including works in sandstone, limestone, concrete, steel, stainless steel, painted steel, bronze, copper and ceramics.
The sculptures are located sensitively to complement the University’s wonderful physical environment, enhancing and blending with the lake, the picturesque open spaces and the groves of native and European trees.
Thirteen of Errol’s outdoor works are on permanent display and as you’ll see in the video below, some of them are not just for looking at, but also to hear.
“Sculpture for the 21st Century” – look, do touch… and listen! In this video, Macquarie University Art Gallery curator, Leonard Janiszewski, talks about the sculpture park, including three of Errol’s works: Springfire (1992), Red Feathered Friend (1986) and Algolid (1989).
Please note that this video was made in 2013, so the information about opening times, and the internet links, are no longer current. Video made by Gina Park, Gallery Intern at Macquarie University Art Gallery. Video courtesy of Gina Park and Dr Guy Morrow; Music by Michael Pasterfield; Cameraman Iain Brew.
As well as Errol’s own works, other sculptors whose works are on permanent display include Anna Cohn, Lyndon Dadswell, Louie Fraser, April Glaser-Hinder, Margel Hinder, Paul Hopmeier, Diana Hunt, Linda Klarfeld, Robert Klippel, Helen Leete, Ron Robertson-Swann, Andrew Rogers, Jan Shaw, Larissa Smagarinsky and many more.
In 2002, Errol was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for service to the arts, particularly through the establishment of the Sculpture Park at Macquarie University.
In that same year, Errol assisted Edith Cowan University to establish their own sculpture park, Western Australia’s first University sculpture park; and Errol’s Retrospective exhibition was held in the Macquarie University Art Gallery.
Errol remained the sculpture park’s Curator up until 2007.
“Sculpture is like music – but for the eyes, and to feel.” – Errol Davis
In this video, sculptors Errol Davis, Lawrence Beck and Ron Robertson-Swann are interviewed on ABC TV’s arts programme ‘Review’, broadcast 12th July 1993, the year after the Sculpture Park had been established. It includes rare footage of Errol in the process of finishing a bronze piece in his studio.
Video courtesy of the ABC. Please note that this television programme was broadcast in 1993. The information about sculptures being for sale is not necessarily current.
Nothing is quite like experiencing great sculpture in the great outdoors – because your senses of hearing and touch are integral to what sculpture is all about.
Download a campus map containing the names and locations of Errol’s outdoor works here and take a self-guided walk through the campus.
But if you can’t get along to the sculpture park, the next best thing is taking a virtual walk through the gardens by browsing the image galleries below. Be sure to play the short videos, too, so you can live the experience through sound!
Errol's Outdoor Sculptures at Macquarie University
Created: 2005 | Medium: Stainless Steel
Season’s End is a tribute to Professor Di Yerbury AO, Vice-Chancellor Macquarie University, 1987 – 2006
Campus map ref. O-16
Created: 1989 | Medium: Stainless Steel
Campus map ref. G-20
Created: 1992 | Medium: Painted Steel
Campus map ref. G-21
Created: 1987 | Medium: Stainless Steel
Campus map ref. E-16 (note: this is off the main campus, outside the Department of Biological Sciences building – park outside 205 Culloden Road)
Created: 1985 | Medium: Painted Steel
Campus map ref. J-21
Southern Cross II
Created: 1995 | Medium: Bronze
“Errol interprets in bronze a continuous movement in space, relating to the elegant line of sail, mast and hull.”
Campus map ref. G-22
Created: 1987 | Medium: Cast Silicon Aluminium
Campus map ref. G-20
Red Feathered Friend
Created: 1986 | Medium: Painted Steel
Campus location unknown (was previously at J-21)
Unless otherwise noted, photography & videography on this page is © Ralph Davis 2021, © Jessica Price (Red Feathered Friend, 2010) and © CFL Macquarie (Quartette 2002 Retrospective photo and Beacon 1992 photo)