Toad Hall celebrated 40 years on

As Toad celebrates its 40th birthday, the University's librarian has described her time there as a student as a wonderful experience and one that helped her life.

Roxanne Missingham, who is the Chief of Scholarly Information Services and based at the Chifley Library, moved into Toad Hall on 1 April 1974, about a year before the second half of the building was complete.

"It sounded like a lovely place to be because you could do your own cooking and set up communities," she says.

In early June, Toad Hall held a 40th birthday celebration dinner, affectionately known as 'Badger's Birthday Banquet', to commemorate the building's milestone.

Current and past students of the hall heard from well-known locals, including ACT Supreme Court Justice Hilary Penfold, who shared some of their experiences as residents.

Toad Hall was named by the students, who believed Sullivans' Creek looked like a scene out of Wind in the Willows, complete with the creek's iconic willow trees.

It was designed by Australian architect, John Andrews, whose other buildings include CN Tower in Canada, Gund Hall Graduate Design School at Harvard University, the recently-demolished Darling Harbour Convention Centre and the Cameron Offices in Belconnen, now used as a residence by the University of Canberra.

Roxanne Missingham moved into D3, or third floor of D-block. She says the other residents were a terrific group of people to get to know.

"One of the great characteristics, I think, of Toad Hall from the very early days was that it was a very multicultural place," she says.

"So we had Vietnamese people in our group as well as ordinary Australians, people from the country, people from cities, and there was a great sense of building a community rather than being in a very large college where you were in rows and rows of people."

During its time Toad Hall has had its fair share of boisterous events, notably false fire alarms due to toast burning from students who had forgotten to keep watch while their bread cooked.

But Roxanne says the camaraderie is what she loved the most about the hall.

"We took holidays together," she says. "A group of us went down to Tasmania and went around Tasmania together. We had community games where we'd have fun nights and do different sorts of activities, and it was a very social, very supportive, very collaborative group."

Roxanne says when she moved in, Toad Hall was a new accommodation model that provided a different experience to the boarding school-style set ups of other residences, where students queued for their meals in a cafeteria, and where they interacted in a common room.

"It was really lovely to have a mix of people who were studying then and students now and people who had been at Toad Hall over the years," Roxanne says.

"I think one of the things that really reflected the fact that we had so much in common, in terms of being really excited about education and wanting to do things in groups, was the fact that we all talked to each other.

"So there weren't cliques by age or by different colleges. By having that community where you have a small number of people getting together, is an incredibly supportive and positive environment."

Today, Toad Hall houses 230 mainly graduate and international residents, with activities such as the annual Multicultural Festival and regular research presentation evenings highlighting its community's rich diversity across cultures and disciplines.

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