Access Control

Sydney college doors

by Mark Rowe

St Paul’s College in Sydney, Australia, is an all-male Anglican residential college and affiliated with the University of Sydney. The college had seen many changes to the locking installations over the years meaning the college had problems with students losing keys; giving the expense of having to replace locks and keys.

This also meant a risk of security compromised, making it difficult to ensure the safety of students and assets. After all, a College or residence building can be a tempting target for opportunistic thieves as many students, besides money and credit cards, can often have a variety of expensive electronic equipment with them including laptop computers, mobile phones, iPods and so on.

The College decided the answer was to remove mechanical cylinders and keys from their buildings and replace them with electronic access control.

Derek Watt, Executive Manager at St Paul’s College, says: “When I first met David Rees of SALTO Systems at a conference I told him about our challenge of wanting to upgrade security but that we needed something suitable for our heritage doors dating from 1858. At that time his response was “I can’t help yet, but we are about to launch a product that is exactly what you want.””

“That product was the SALTO GEO (Global Electronic Opening) cylinder,” says David Rees, Managing Director SALTO Systems Australia Pty Ltd. “Derek explained to me that the mechanical lock installation within the College was not providing the level of protection or security required to manage the access movement of the students. To achieve this a more robust product was required, one which would not only offer a greater degree of physical protection but also provide a full complement of modern access control benefits including smart fob operation, audit trail information, flexible calendars, auto locking and unlocking and so on.”

Given that the college was designed by one of Australia’s most well-known architects, Edmund Blackett, who also designed one of the major cathedrals in Sydney and the University of Sydney, this heritage aspect also created demands for the installation of the access control. SALTO say that their GEO has been designed for use with doors where normal escutcheons cannot be fitted or are not allowed; that is, on types of fire doors, some multipoint locking systems or, as in this case, antique doors in historic or listed buildings.

GEO locks can be integrated with the full SALTO platform. They incorporate SALTO’s patented Data-On-Card SVN (SALTO Virtual Network) which can manage thousands or even millions of doors and users if necessary. This allows the stand-alone cylinders and locks to upload, store and download the latest access information as people use their RFID fobs around the college. The cancelled fob list can be updated, key fobs can be cancelled and audit trail reports can be downloaded on wire free or wireless sites depending on the locks selected.


With a decision made and a contract awarded, SALTO partner W. F. O’Brien Pty Ltd, a Sydney’s door and access control installer, began the job of removing the 200 plus mechanical cylinders from across the site and replacing them with GEO RIM cylinders, which are designed to fit most doors that come with surface mounted lock cases.

Chris Drake of W. F. O’Brien’s says: “David Rees and I had looked carefully at the layout of the College and noted the position and condition of the various doors to make sure we fully understood what the customer wanted, and then planned the rolling replacement of the locks in a structured manner. Installation was straightforward, with no unforeseen surprises that can sometimes occur when working with older doors and properties. Now the College operates an easy to use, proven, future proof access control security solution that provides 24/7 critical security protection. The end result is a solution that the customer loves, the students find easy to use and that the heritage architect is very happy with.”


Derek Watt, Executive Manager at St Paul’s College in Sydney adds: “If you want to keep ahead of the game, you need to be doing innovative things – especially from the security point of view. With the technology we have now, we are both more discreet and more secure. It has so far proven robust in the hands of young men aged between 18-23 and our housekeeping staff now have individual key fobs coded for access limited by both area of the College and time of day. Overall we’re very pleased with the efficiency of the SALTO product. It has maintained the aesthetic integrity of our heritage doors while giving us the control we wanted, with the added flexibility to easily grow to meet any additional future security requirements we may have.”


Founded in 1856, St Paul’s College is Australia’s oldest university college and has nearly 200 residents, of whom about 150 are undergraduates; with the remainder being graduates undertaking further study or holding university positions. The college uses the principle of peer tutoring, a development of the idea of ‘peer assisted study’. Nearly all tutors are students in college, and most of them are undergraduates, at most a year or two further advanced than their class. As a result university work is drawn to the centre of college life, and teaching and intellectual leadership is part of the mainstream conversation. The organisation of the tutorial system is largely in the hands of students, under the supervision of the Senior Tutor. Social networking is also used by the students to supplement teaching.

The buildings date from the late 1850’s up through to those constructed in the 1960’s, 1970’s and 1990’s.

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