Emeritus Professor Ross Street FAA
Mathematics Department, Macquarie University
The sculpture in the ivy outside building E6A at Macquarie University called Journey connects Science and Art. Sculptor John Robinson and his sponsors donated the piece to Macquarie University Sculpture Park in 1996.The cost to the donors was around $100,000.
Professor of Mathematics Ronnie Brown in Bangor, North Wales, suggested that Macquarie University might like one of John Robinson's works because the Australian expatriate's sculptures exemplify mathematical concepts. Still, the question of cost to the University could be an impediment. When she saw photos of Robinson's works, Vice Chancellor Di Yerbury expressed enthusiasm and the idea passed to Sculpture Park Curator, Errol Davis. He loved it.
Stimulated by Ronnie Brown's visit to the research group CoACT (Centre of Australian Category Theory) at Macquarie University, Errol contacted Robinson. The Robert A. Hefner III Art Foundation and Damon de Laszlo agreed to sponsor the project. Robinson had the piece constructed in the United States and organised its shipping.
On 4 October 1996 Ronnie Brown, John Robinson, Mr Hefner and Mr de Laszlo discussed Macquarie's new sculpture at the Cambridge University retirement celebration for the two great mathematicians Sir Michael Atiyah and Professor Swinnerton-Dyer. Both have visited Macquarie University. Cambridge also unveiled two more John Robinson sculptures, Intuition and Genesis; Cambridge University already displayed Robinson's Creation. These sit in three bays formed by low hedges in front of the Isaac Newton Institute for Mathematical Sciences.
In 1980 to mark the bicentenary, there was an unveiling ceremony at Circular Quay, Sydney, of Robinson's sculpture Bonds of Friendship. A similar sculpture was unveiled by H.M. Queen Elizabeth II at the Sally Port in Portsmouth in 1979 where the settlers embarked for this long journey to a new world. The Britain Australia Society thereby marked both the site from which the first settlers left, Portsmouth in England, and the site where they landed at Sydney Cove in Australia.
CoACT and Macquarie University were grateful to everyone mentioned above for that 1996 Christmas present. We also remember the University maintenance staff who took pride in keeping it shiny.
You can find out more on the history of Journey at
This explains a model of the Möbius Band made on the instruction of the blind geometer Bernard Morin, and then transformed into the sculpture by John Robinson! Bernard Morin was visiting the UK on a British Council supported travel to Bangor and elsewhere, so that also was certainly a journey.
More about Journey can be found at
More about Sculpture and Mathematics can be gleaned from