The Samuel Wadham Wing: ‘A microcosm of the world’
The second purpose-built accommodation wing at International House, ‘Wadham’, opened in 1963. Planning for Wadham had begun in earnest in 1960, when International House launched an appeal to raise money for a new building. The goal was to raise £250,000 (equivalent to more than 7.5 million dollars in 2020 1) to construct accommodation for an additional 118 residents (Larkins, 2018, pp. 46-47). The target was ambitious, but there was strong support. An editorial in The Age newspaper in early 1961 called on people to be ‘generous’ with their donations noting:
Fundraising activities included concerts, dances, a fair on the main University of Melbourne campus, dinners, an art exhibition (‘Window on the World’) and more. Many of these were organised by the International House Women’s Auxiliaries, a large group of volunteers who raised more than £30,000 for the building fund (“Women’s Group Exceeds Target”, 1961). The building was to be designed by Mockridge, Stahle & Mitchell, an architectural firm specialising in ‘religious, university, college and school buildings’ (Callister, 2012).
Construction began in April 1962 and finished in February 1963 (Larkins, 2018, p. 50). The new building, named after the second chair of the International House Council Sir Samuel Wadham, was opened on 23 March 1963. As well as bedrooms, it included a library, tutorial rooms, a gym, common rooms, a music room, staff offices and the formal entry to IH (Larkins, 2018, p. 50). Speaking at the official opening, Lord Richard Casey said:
At the end of 1963, Student Club President D. R. Saunders reflected on the opening of Wadham:
This, the seventh year in the life of International House, has been momentous. The new Samuel Wadham Wing was opened and the number of residents in the House increased by over a third of the previous number… Visitors coming to the House are invariably impressed by the beautifully fitted and designed entrance hall to the Samuel Wadham Wing and the Ida Scheps Common Room [Junior Common Room] (Saunders, 1963, p. 39).
References and further reading
An appeal that calls for generosity (1961, February 6). The Age, 2.
Callister, W. (2012). Mockridge, Stahle & Mitchell. In: P. Goad & J. Willis (Eds.), The encyclopedia of Australian architecture. Cambridge University Press.
Larkins, F. (2018). International House Melbourne: Sixty years of fraternitas. Melbourne University Publishing.
New student quarters opened (1963, March 25). The Age, 4.
Opening of The Samuel Wadham Wing [pamphlet] (1963, March 23). International House Archives. https://blogs.unimelb.edu.au/international-house-melbourne/files/2021/03/Opening-of-The-Samuel-Wadham-Wing-by-The-Rt-Hon.-The-Lord-Casey.pdf
Saunders, D. R. (1963). President’s report. Satadal: The magazine of International House, University of Melbourne, 39–40.
Women’s group exceeds target (1961, June 20). The Age, 7.
- This is according to the Reserve Bank of Australia Pre-Decimal Inflation Calculator, https://www.rba.gov.au/calculator/annualPreDecimal.html, accessed 19 March 2021. ↩