The buildings of Trinity College: Exploring their history and significance

STUDENTS walk in and out of their classrooms everyday but what do they know about the historical significance with regards to these buildings? Trinity College Foundation Studies students Candice Chen and Silky Ma investigate the stories behind Trinity College’s buildings. 

Photo: Robert Guo

Photo: Robert Guo

As the old saying goes ‘the fish will be the last to discover the water ‘. Everyday, students head into their classrooms for a quick lesson before heading out and moving to the next room in the next building

But by burying themselves in books and study, students might not notice that their school is actually quite gorgeous.

As Trinity College Foundation Studies students, we often take for granted the historical significance and the amazing stories behind these structures.

Wishing to find out more about the buildings that Trinity’s students learn in, we spoke with Rusden Curator of Trinity College’s Cultural Collections, Dr Benjamin Thomas, to gain further insight.


Leeper (Robert)

Photo: Robert Guo

According to Dr Thomas, the Leeper building is the most elegant and historical of all the Trinity buildings.

“Leeper was the first Trinity building built in 1870, and was finished in 1872,” said Dr Thomas.

The building was named after the first Trinity Warden, Dr Alexander Leeper. The building, constructed with Tasmanian Spring Bay sandstone, was initially used as classrooms for students but is now being used as offices for Trinity’s various departments.

The dining hall is the highlight of the Leeper Building which was built in 1925. This wooden “Harry Potter-style” dining hall can contain up to 800 students at one time. Plenty of gorgeous portraits are displayed in the hall and according to Dr Thomas, these portraits are of “the past college heads, famous students, or school spooners.”

Additionally, in 2012, a new kitchen and an informal dining area was created for students.

The Chapel

Photo: Robert Guo

Photo: Robert Guo

In the main campus, there is a little cosy chapel for students who wish to either reflect or pray.

Dr Thomas stated that “it was built from 1911 to 1917, and the construction process was ever interrupted by the First World War.

The building is described as “a classic late gothic style chapel with a helm roof and exquisite glass”.

Foundation Studies Centre

Photo: Robert Guo

Photo: Robert Guo

A traditional Victorian building, delicate and exquisite, Dr Thomas says this building was “rented from Melbourne University”.

Surrounded by English elm trees, the Foundation Studies Centre (FSC) is located on Royal Parade.

The crunch of its wooden floors as students walk across it indicates the full extent of the building’s beautiful history. As a building located within a modern city, it is simply unique and a valuable site.

EPA Building (200 Victoria St)

Photo: Robert Guo

Photo: Robert Guo

Echoing the Chinese blockbuster Tiny Times, this building can feel like a luxury ‘Crystal Palace’.

However, the EPA building isn’t as oppressive as the building seen in the Chinese film.

Instead, sunshine and beautiful scenery always pass through the building’s immaculate glass helping to make its inhabitants forget about any pressure or fatigue they might be feeling in life.

People seldom use the word ‘cute’ to describe a building, but this one sure fits the description!

715 Swanston St

Photo: Robert Guo

Photo: Robert Guo

With plenty of flyers and information (such as information about accommodation and events) sticking onto its walls, this building stands as one of Trinity’s most practical buildings.

That being said, in terms of its technology it might not be as good as the EPA Building and doesn’t have as much of a rich history as the Foundation Studies Centre.

Its attitude however is an entirely different thing altogether as students are always filled with buzz and excitement whenever they’re around the building.

Despite its quite humble appearance, inside it is an altogether different and fabulous environment. The building features a transparent roof and compactly arranged desks, effectively making it a favourite gathering place for both teachers and students alike.

With many different types of conversations always happening in this building, it’s certainly one of the most indispensable parts of the college.

This story was produced by Media and Communication students at Trinity College Foundation Studies as part of Meld’s community newsroom collab. Education institutions, student clubs/societies and community groups interested in being involved can get in touch us via

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