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Booloominbah UNE

Booloominbah, UNE, Armidale, NSW

Before the sun rose on Wednesday we left the river flats of home and climbed up, and up, to the crisp, cool Tablelands. Master J had some business to attend to at his uni/college, Miss E (22) and I had the privilege of coming along for a day out.

While J was busy with an exam, E and I enjoyed a look around the grounds of the University of New England - a first for both of us.

Let me share with you the central gem of the uni - Booloominbah. You would be correct in assuming I was smitten by this building and surrounding grounds.

"Booloominbah is a grand country gentleman's house designed by Horbury Hunt for prominent colonial grazier, Frederick White, who decided to establish his family of seven children in Armidale because the cooler, fresher, drier air of the Tablelands was good for their health. He and his wife Sarah had already lost five children in infancy...
The White family moved into their expansive house on a hill overlooking Armidale in 1888 and occupied it until Sarah White died in 1933. During World War I between 1916 and 1919 it became an important centre as a Red Cross convalescent home for wounded men. "

Quoted from the Booloominbah website here.

The mansion was considered a white elephant by the family after Sarah died during the Great Depression, and a few years later was donated to Sydney University. It has been the centre of university education in Armidale since 1938, being named the University of New England in 1954.

The building has been restored and now houses dining facilities, a historic collection and the offices of the University's senior management.

Let's have a little photographic tour.

This is Graduates' Walk from the main uni buildings heading down towards the back entry of Booloominbah- you can just see some of the etched pavers on the left. 

"The goal of the Graduates' Walk is to provide a permanent reminder of the success and hard work of graduates during their studies at UNE, whilst at the same time raising funds for scholarships. Your gift is tax deductible.
The names and graduation dates of over 700 graduates have been etched on granite pavers and laid upon on the pathway between Booloominbah and Dixson Library."         

With grounds beautifully maintained, this wonderful historic mansion overlooks the town of Armidale below.

We ventured into the entry way of a dining/coffee area but chose to continue our walk around the uni instead of stopping to enjoy the offerings.

I had no idea about the history or buildings of UNE, where J began his studies in Civil Engineering nearly 12 months ago. We had hoped to visit sooner as a family but my husband's health prevented any such plans (he's managed just four days of work since April and has slipped back a lot in last two weeks). Having this day away with J and E was just amazing, filled with wonderful surprises. Next post we'll have a quick look at the rest of the Uni.

***Update 16th Feb: I have just discovered that Booloominbah was designed by the Canadian born architect, John Horbury Hunt, who designed the Christ Church Cathedral in our home town which you can see in previous posts here and here. The White family moved into Bolloominbah in 1888 while the (Anglican) Cathedral was opened in 1884. Both buildings are National Trust listed.

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