St Patrick's Seminary

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The seminary circa 1900.

St Patrick's Seminary, Manly was the primary seminary of the Australian Catholic Church from its foundation in 1889 to its move in 1995. It has since moved to Strathfield where the teaching institute has become distinct from the seminary. The Catholic Institute of Sydney is now the ecclesiastical theology faculty. The Seminary of the Good Shepherd is the house of formation.

Conceived by Archbishop Vaughan, it was built from 1885 in Perpendicular Gothic style by Sheerin and Hennessy on a spectacular site overlooking the Pacific Ocean on a hill above Manly, New South Wales. It opened in 1889.

An early student was Patrick Joseph Hartigan, author of the "John O'Brien" poems on Australian Catholic rural life. Two of the first novels of former student Thomas Keneally, The Place at Whitton (1964) and Three Cheers for the Paraclete (1968) are set in a fictionalized version of the seminary.

The seminary building closed in 1995, and the seminary was renamed, when numbers of seminarians no longer justified the large building and shifts in ecclesiological thinking mandated a move to the geographical centre of the Greater Sydney Area.

The building is now occupied by the International College of Management, Sydney and Aspire Institute, however the Cardinal Cerretti Chapel is still regularly used for weddings, most notably that of Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban in 2006.

The building appears as the exterior of Gatsby's mansion in the 2013 movie, The Great Gatsby.[1]


  • K.J. Walsh, Yesterday's Seminary: A history of St Patrick's Manly, St Leonards, 1998, ISBN 1-86448-987-1
  • K. Livingstone, The emergence of an Australian Catholic priesthood, 1835-1915, Sydney, 1977, ISBN 0-909246-36-X
  • C. Geraghty, The Priest Factory: A Manly vision of triumph 1958-1962 and Beyond, 2003.
  1. ^ Marcus Casey and Leigh Van Den Broeke. "Manly man Leonardo DiCaprio unmoved by decadence". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved May 3, 2013. 

External links[edit]

St Patrick's Seminary and Grounds (former), in AussieHeritage

Article on the closure of St Patrick's by former student Tony Abbott