Tocal Agricultural College
Spire from distance, CB Alexander Presbyterian Agricultural College, ‘Tocal’, Patterson, NSW,
Photo: Max Dupain and Associates Ltd / Mar 1966 (State Library of NSW)

Site Overview

site name:
Tocal Agricultural College
alternative name:
CB Alexander College
Philip Cox & lan McKay
date of completion:
Tocal Road 2421, Tocal, Paterson NSW
Education (EDC)
protection status:
– NSW State Heritage Register
– Department of Primary Industries Section 170 Register
– DOCOMOMO Australia Register
– National Trust (NSW)
– 1965 – RAIA (NSW) Sir John Sulman Medal
– 1965 – RAIA (NSW) Blacket Award
– 2014 – AIA (NSW and NATIONAL) enduring ArcHitecture AWARD
editor fiche:
Louise Cox
download fiche:
Download (Pdf)


Designed for the Presbyterian Church of Australia in 1963 as a post-secondary level agricultural college it was the first major commission for Cox & McKay, establishing their design reputation for environmental sensitivity. They adapted the principles of vernacular architecture to a large-scale complex, reflecting the grander vernacular of the silos and barns in the region, which was alien to the prevailing modernist institutional architecture of its time. They also incorporated the aesthetics of Japanese architecture in the composition of external spaces and timber detailing throughout the complex. The college epitomises the Sydney School whose principles include loose extendable planning, integration with the landscape.