The University of Western Australia

Peacocks - Nuisance or Luminous?

Peacocks: Nuisance or Luminous?

Most would agree that the crowning glory of the University’s centenary celebration Luminous Night was the magnificent vision of the peacock projected on Winthrop Hall. For many years the peacocks have been synonymous with UWA grounds, but how did they get here? Sadly, as the records show, the peacocks had a rather inauspicious arrival.

In January 1975, two peacocks and three hens were introduced to UWA Crawley Campus as a gift from Mr & Mrs L C Brodie-Hall. The birds were brought to the campus, caged, fed and released in the Great Court two weeks later. According to the landscape architect at that time, two birds immediately flew over the roof into the Fortune Theatre, one cock ran across the ring road and was killed by a passing car, one hen settled in Hackett Hall and was not seen again and the third hen was seen in Monash Avenue for several weeks and was either disposed of or (we hope) adopted.

While the original birds were eventually replaced they still had a rather rocky reception. Their ‘anti-social’ behaviour, their ‘insupportable’ noise and their ‘fertility’ have been the bane of many a lecturer’s existence. Indeed, it seems that over the years there have been more complaints than compliments. Love them or loathe them, the peacocks have established themselves as an integral part of the UWA experience.