From Tuesday 7 November 2023, staff and students can access the roof terrace during opening hours.
We are delighted to announce the reopening of the Fisher Library roof terrace. This once beloved space is now available again for study breaks, socialising and incomparable city views.
Access to the roof terrace
University students and staff will be able to access the roof terrace using their swipe card during opening hours.
The roof terrace is located on level 5 of Fisher Library and has a capacity of 100 people.
“The rooftop was a quiet and sunny spot you could retreat to with friends. I was surprised it had been closed for so long and am delighted the investment has been made to open it to our community again.”Mark Scott, Vice-Chancellor and President
The roof terrace was part of the original design of the current Fisher Library, which opened in 1963 (the first Fisher Library is now known as MacLaurin Hall). Designed by joint architects Ken Woolley (NSW Government Architect Office) and Tom O’Mahoney (O’Mahoney, Neville and Morgan), the new Fisher Library was created as a place for students to not only study but to relax and socialise. The roof terrace was one of the most popular places for students to gather and unwind.
“What would be without Fisher Library? It was the place to gather on the rooftop. I had my first kiss there. Romantic memory. It was the place we studied together… We met to plot and plan everything from cappuccinos to anti-apartheid marches. I did both”.Susanne, alumna
In early 2022, the student publication Honi Soit led a campaign to re-open the roof terrace. Through the support of the Vice Chancellor, construction work began in late 2022.
Renovations have included essential works such as updated waterproofing, the application of modern safety standards and the installation of large sunshades for year-round comfort.
Ensuring that the roof terrace is accessible has also been a priority. The doors to the roof terrace automatically open and close, the flooring is flat or ramped, and furniture has been installed at a height for easy use with a wheelchair.
The Library has collaborated with IndigiGrow, a 100% Aboriginal owned, run, and staffed, not-for-profit native plant nursery to install the planter boxes on the roof terrace. Twenty species of the local Eastern suburbs banksia family have been planted, including the Clerodendrum floribundum, known as the “lolly bush”, which has not previously been featured in a University garden.
A Gadigal Language name for the roof terrace has been proposed and submitted for consultation, and we look forward to announcing this official name once the process is complete.
“The Indigenous gardens on the Fisher roof terrace will contribute to the health and wellbeing of our community. I hope that birdlife and insects will be attracted to the plantings and revive the past ecosystem.”Philip Kent, University Librarian
Construction of the roof terrace, c. early 1960s. Photograph from Rare Books and Special Collections, 378.994S M.Li 302.
Fisher Library roof terrace in the 1960s. Students gather to enjoy the sun and a chat. University of Sydney Archives, REF-00009825.