Sir Eric Neal Library
Like an open book
Everyone who sees the Sir Eric Neal Library extension for the first time is intrigued and drawn in by its openness.
Designed by Thomson Rossi, the 2,500-square-metre extension has revitalised this key Mawson Lakes resource.
The library now allows for extra group study rooms, more access to computers, better student resources, new training facilities and improved access to special collections. The extension also includes a number of environmentally sustainable development initiatives including a grey water system and the use of materials with low embodied energies.
Created in the 1970s, a set of well-loved sculptures by renowned Australian artist, John Dowie, now take pride of place in the new library extension at Mawson Lakes.
‘The Art of Learning’ sculptures were commissioned to complement the original library building at what was then the Levels campus of UniSA’s antecedent institution, the South Australian Institute of Technology.
Most of the 72 sculptures were installed in 1972 around the outside of the building and in the ground floor foyer, but at the time there was not enough space for all of them and 13 were put into storage.
Thanks to the generous donations from alumni and friends of the University, all the sculptures have now been reunited in one impressive display.
Sir Eric Neal was born in London in 1924 but it is as an Australian that he has made his most significant contributions to business and society.
After studying engineering at the SA School of Mines, an antecedent institution of UniSA, he became a Fellow of the Institution of Engineers Australia and went on to serve as CEO of Boral; a Director of John Fairfax Ltd, BHP, Coca-Cola Amatil and AMP; and Chairperson of Westpac, Metal Manufacturers and Atlas Copco (Australia).
Sir Eric was Chief Commissioner of the City of Sydney, the first National President of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and was appointed Governor of South Australia in 1996, the first businessman appointed to the viceregal office.
For his contributions to business, he received a knighthood in 1982, appointment as a Companion in the Order of Australia in 1988, an Honorary Doctorate in Engineering by the University of Sydney in 1989, and the United States Department of Defense Medal for distinguished public service in 1992.
Sir Eric Neal was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by UniSA in 1996 in recognition of his distinction in the public service, and the University later established the Sir Eric Neal collection in the library at Mawson Lakes.