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Thomas McNevin Veech

The Veech Library, named in recognition of Thomas McNevin Veech, was ordained to the priesthood in 1930. Shortly afterwards he sailed for Europe to study history at the Catholic University of Louvain in Belgium. When he returned to Sydney he began teaching church history at St Patrick’s College, Manly. Throughout his career, while continuing to teach church history, he fulfilled various posts: Deputy President of the Catholic Theological Faculty of Sydney (CIS); Rector of the seminary at St Columba’s College, Springwood; and editor of the Australasian Catholic Record. He was given the rank of monsignor in recognition of the contribution he made to Church life. Monsignor Veech died in August 1982. He left his estate to the library at St Patrick’s College, Manly, which was renamed the Veech Library.


The Library has a long and interesting history, with its foundational collection going back to Australia’s early colonial history. John Bede Polding, first Catholic Archbishop of Sydney saw the urgent need of a library. With books brought back from his various journeys all over Europe, the first Catholic library was set up at the original St. Mary’s Cathedral site. Transferred to Lyndhurst, the Benedictine seminary and school in Glebe, and subsequently to St. John’s College, University of Sydney, the growing collection arrived at St. Patrick’s Seminary, Manly in 1888. From here the library expanded mainly through purchase and bequests of its professors and other clergy. In 1996 the Catholic Institute of Sydney and its library were transferred to their present location in Strathfield after the closure of St. Patrick’s.

While the early collections were formed largely as a result of gifts by clergy and prominent lay people, a more systematic acquisitions policy has been pursued since the 1960s. With older collections reflecting developments and trends typical of Catholic theology and with a strong continental and Irish background, recent acquisitions represent the interests and concerns of a contemporary theological faculty in dialogue with the burning questions of our day. Its strengths now lie in a fine continuum of theological literature and its philosophical underpinnings and in a variety of specialisations.

The Collections

Lending Collection – Available for loan and housed across two levels in the Library is the lending collection, this collection has strengths in areas such as patristics, ecclesiology, ethics, philosophy and works by and about Thomas Aquinas. The library collection also supports undergraduate studies in theology, scripture, pastoral care and practice, church history and liturgy.

Reference Collection –  includes encyclopaedias, dictionaries and major collections of Church documents and writers eg. Migne’s Patrologia Latina and Patrologia Graeca, documents of ecumenical councils and collections of papal encyclicals. The Library also provides students with access to an up to date range of online and electronic resources to support study needs.

Periodicals – the Library provides users with access to over 200 periodicals and holds a large number of periodical back-runs.

Reserve Collection – contains books and articles in heavy demand for course reading, with restricted loan periods.

Special Collections – The Library holds an impressive range of research materials in the closed stack area. The Special Collections include the Australian Documentation Centre, the Australiana Collection, Dissertations, the Hibernica Collection (Irish history and literature), pre 1960s liturgical books, the Church Music Collection, rare and older books (including over 4,000 books published before 1800.