Winthrop Tower Balconette, The University of Western Australia.

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Winthrop Tower Balconette, The University of Western Australia.


arch, architecture, balconette, balcony, banksia, clock tower, column, Conrad Sayce, corbel, Crawley, cross, decorated capital, fortification, King John II (b.1455-1495), King Manuel I (b.1469-1521), Lisbon, Manueline style, Moorish influence, Portugal, “Renaissance” style, Rodney Alsop, Sir John Winthrop Hackett (1848-1916), The University of Western Australia, tower, Tower of Belém, Torres de Belém, university buildings, Western Australia, Winthrop Hall


A view of the balconette on the north facing wall of Winthrop Tower at The University of Western Australia. Photographs of a similar balconette taken by Winthrop Hall’s architect Rodney Alsop (held in The University of Western Australia Archives Image Collection 61463P) suggest that the design was modelled on balconies at the Torres de Belém (Tower of Belém) in Lisbon, Portugal (see The Tower of Belém is a fortified tower built in a characteristically Portuguese architectural style known as Manueline, though it also incorporates features of medieval military architecture and Moorish architecture. It was commissioned by King John II (r.1481-1495) in the late fifteenth century and built during the reign of King Manuel I (r.1495-1521), probably between 1514 and 1521. Alsop made his Winthrop Tower balconette distinctively Australian by using Banksia flowers and leaves for the decorated capitals of the columns.

About Winthrop Hall:

Winthrop Hall was designed by Melbourne architects Rodney Alsop and Conrad Sayce, whose joint entry won an architectural competition held by the University Senate in 1927. The impetus for the competition was a large bequest left by the University’s first Chancellor, Sir John Winthrop Hackett, upon his death in 1916. Alsop and Sayce began the project of building Winthrop Hall, Hackett Hall and the Arts and Administration Building together, but disagreed over changes to the design and Sayce left before the buildings were completed. Winthrop Hall was officially opened at a ceremony on 13 April 1932. The architectural style of Winthrop Hall and the Hackett Buildings was described by Alsop as “Renaissance”.


McEwan, Joanne


16 February 2011


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“Winthrop Tower Balconette, The University of Western Australia.,” Medievalism in Australian Cultural Memory, accessed July 14, 2020,