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Newman College
Newman College shield.jpg
University University of Melbourne
Location 887 Swanston St, Parkville, Victoria, Melbourne
Coordinates 37°47′42″S 144°57′49″E / 37.7950°S 144.9636°E / -37.7950; 144.9636
Motto Luceat Lux Vestra
Motto in English "Let Your Light Shine"
Established 1918
Architect Walter Burley Griffin
Architectural style Art Deco
Colours Blue, Green and White
Rector Frank Brennan SJ AO
Undergraduates 220
Postgraduates 80
Senior tutor 1
Tutors 50
Parkville - University of Melbourne (Newman College Chapel)
Newman College Chapel
Newman College - sign and Mannix wing
The Mannix wing faces Swanston Street
Newman College - Dining interior archway wider
Interior of the dining room

Newman College is an Australian Roman Catholic co-educational residential college affiliated with the University of Melbourne. During the university year it houses about 220 undergraduate students and about 80 postgraduate students and tutors. The college was named after Saint John Henry Newman, a former Anglican and major figure in the Oxford Movement who became a Roman Catholic in the 19th century. Although most strongly affiliated with the University of Melbourne, a small number of undergraduate students attend RMIT University, Monash University's Parkville and City campuses, and the Australian Catholic University.

The collegiate system was a response to the secular nature of the university, as each of the major Christian churches were given land to the north of the main campus to establish institutions in which to teach religion. The college motto is Luceat Lux Vestra, translating from Latin as "Let Your Light Shine".

At its opening the administration of the college was entrusted to the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) who continue its administration to the present day. As of 2020, the rector of the college is Frank Brennan SJ AO, an Australian Jesuit priest, human rights lawyer and academic.

Student life

Students' club

All undergraduate members of Newman College are accepted into the Newman College Students' Club (NCSC), a self-governing incorporated organisation which runs day-to-day and special events in the college. An executive committee (the general committee) is elected annually. The president, treasurer and functions representative are elected directly to their positions. The president then allocates various portfolios to the elected members of the general committee. The portfolios include vice-president, secretary, community service, culture and female and male sports.

Co-curricular activities

The college places a strong emphasis on participation in co-curricular activities, with music, sport and the dramatic arts playing a large role in life at Newman. Inter-collegiate soirées are held many times throughout the year, showcasing the talents of the students, with the Very Reverend Peter L'Estrange SJ Prize awarded at the end of the year to the best performing artist in college. The Very Reverend Michael Scott SJ Prize is the annual art competition and the college is a strong participant in all inter-college sporting endeavours, especially in football, netball, softball and tennis. The Albert Power SJ Medallion for Debating is named after Newman college's second rector, the Very Reverend Albert Power SJ. The Choir of Newman College, established in 2002, is a chapel and concert choir.

Newman students also have a strong sporting culture, having won more than half of the intercollegiate football premierships ever played. In 2019 the college won the men's football inter-collegiate premiership.

Daniel Mannix Memorial Lecture

The Archbishop Daniel Mannix Memorial Lecture started in 1977 and is a highlight of both the university and college academic calendar. It is named in honour of the third Archbishop of Melbourne, who was a driving force behind the formation of the college and for improving the opportunities of Catholic students. Past lecturers have included the Rt Hon Malcolm Fraser, the Hon Kim Beazley, the Hon Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen, Patrick Dodson, Ita Buttrose, Sir Gustav Nossal, the Hon Alexander Downer, Manning Clark, Peter Garrett, Christine Nixon and the Hon Justice Alastair Nicholson.

Formal dinners

Formal dinners are held at 6:30 pm on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays throughout the academic year. Attendance is not mandatory, however all members of the college must wear an academic gown and international standard business attire. There are ample occasions during the academic year with a black tie dress code, including the Students' Club, Valete and Commencement dinners. At formal dinners, traditional formalities are observed. Students enter the hall and stand in place prior to the arrival of the members of high table - the rector, members of the senior common room and other invited guests - who process in, and after the bell has been sounded, grace is then said. It is considered discourteous to leave the hall before the final grace. Formal dinner are followed by students' club meetings in the coffee lounge adjacent to the dining room.


All members of the college administration, as well as tutors, academics in residence and postgraduate students (and some older undergraduate students), comprise the Senior Common Room (SCR). Like the junior common room, the SCR annually elect a president, secretary and treasurer, among other portfolios, to organise several events throughout the year.

Public seminars

The college hosts regular Irish studies seminars which are open to the public and which allow scholars the opportunity to present their findings on a wide range of topics.

Endowed chairs

Newman College hosts a number of endowed chairs at the University of Melbourne. They include the Gerry Higgins Chair of Irish Studies, the Gerry Higgins Lecturer in Philosophy, the Gerry Higgins Lecturer in Medieval Art History, the Gerry Higgins Lecturer in Shakespeare Studies and the Gerry Higgins Chair of Positive Psychology.


Newman College
Newman College - Dining from courtyard.JPG
Dining room façade
Former names Roman Catholic College
General information
Type Residential college
Architectural style Gothic Revival Chicago influence
Address 887 Swanston Street, Parkville
Town or city Melbourne
Country Australia
Construction started April 1916
Completed March 1918
Owner Roman Catholic Trusts Corporation
Design and construction
Architect Walter Burley Griffin; Marion Mahony Griffin
Main contractor Bart Moriarty
Awards and prizes Australian Institute of Architects (Victorian Chapter) Heritage Architecture Award 2010

The original set of campus buildings were built during 1916 to 1918 and were designed by the American architect Walter Burley Griffin, in collaboration with his wife, Marion Mahony Griffin. Burley Griffin also designed furniture for the college, including distinctive chairs, tables and bookshelves for the dining room and the original bedrooms of the college. Much of this furniture remains in day to day use at the college, but some of it has found its way into various art galleries and private collections. This was recognised by its inclusion on the Australian National Heritage List on 21 September 2005, citing "one of the best examples of Griffin’s architecture in Australia" and "Newman College is significant as an outstanding expression of Griffin’s architectural style". The stonework has had substantial renovation to repair over 80 years of damage through exposure and natural degradation of the original stone, under the guidance of Andronas Conservation Architecture and received the Australian Institute of Architects (Victorian Chapter) Heritage Architecture Award 2010.

Allan & Maria Myers Academic Centre

The Allan & Maria Myers Academic Centre is a modern facility shared by St Mary's College and Newman College. It offers a program of public events and its library contains several special collections that are available to researchers.

The centre houses the Newman College Irish collection (O'Donnell Collection), which was formed in 1924 with a bequest to the college. It originally consisted of around 700 books and 300 pamphlets, many in the Irish language, which were the personal library of Nicholas O’Donnell, a Melbourne Irish language scholar of the early 20th century. Around half the collection consists of historical works. The rest deals with language, literature, biography, religion, politics, description and travel, with some works on music and a few on education.

Every year an O'Donnell Fellowship is bestowed on a visiting scholar so that the holder may do research in the O'Donnell Collection.


The college council, chaired by the Archbishop of Melbourne, oversees the governance of the college. Members include the rector, the other three diocesan bishops of Victoria (of the Sandhurst, Ballarat and Sale dioceses), college alumni and members of the university. Members are appointed by the archbishop. Each year the rector selects two students to be members as student representatives. The president of the students' club is an observer who reports to the council on the life of the college.

The college council instituted the positions of "provost", "deputy provost" and "dean" to oversee the everyday administration and maintenance of the college. The rector remains the official head of the college and remains a Jesuit priest. These positions are currently held by:

  • Rector: Frank Brennan SJ AO
  • Provost: Sean Burke
  • Deputy Provost: Guglielmo Gottoli
  • Dean: Alicia Deak

The college chaplain, business manager, services manager and senior tutor are also members of the college administration.


The Dome of Newman College
Dome of Newman College
Order Title Rector Term start Term end Time in office Notes
1 The Very Rev. James O'Dwyer SJ 1918 1919 0–1 years
2 The Very Rev. Albert Power SJ 1919 1923 3–4 years
3 The Very Rev. Jeremiah Murphy SJ 1923 1954 30–31 years
4 The Very Rev. Philip Gleeson SJ 1954 1961 6–7 years
5 The Very Rev. Michael Scott SJ 1961 1968 6–7 years
6 The Very Rev. Gerald Daily SJ 1968 1977 8–9 years
7 The Very Rev. Brian Fleming SJ 1977 1986 8–9 years
8 The Very Rev. William Uren SJ 1987 1990 2–3 years
9 The Very Rev. Peter L'Estrange SJ 1991 2005 13–14 years Moved to Campion Hall, Oxford
10 The Very Rev. William Uren SJ AO 2006 2019 15–16 years
11 The Very Rev. Frank Brennan SJ AO 2020 present 1–2 years

Notable alumni

Notable alumni of the college include:

  • Kevin Andrews – Federal Liberal Party backbencher
  • Frank Brennan – Jesuit priest, human rights lawyer and academic
  • Peta Credlin – chief of staff to the former Prime Minister of Australia, Tony Abbott
  • Neale Daniher – AFL footballer (Essendon Football Club)
  • Marg Downey – comedian and actress
  • Frank Galbally CBE – criminal defence lawyer
  • John Galbally CBE, QC – former Labor politician
  • Sir James Gobbo – 25th Governor of Victoria and former Victorian Supreme Court judge, a former Rhodes Scholar
  • James P. Gorman – CEO and chairman of Morgan Stanley
  • Jack Hibberd – playwright
  • Allan Myers – barrister, philanthropist and Chancellor of the University of Melbourne
  • Brenda Niall – biographer, literary critic and journalist
  • Gemma Sisia – humanitarian, founder of The School of St Jude
  • Charles Sweeney QC – Federal Court of Australia judge
  • Richard Tracey – Federal Court of Australia judge
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