St Patrick's Seminary

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St Patrick's Seminary
St Patrick's Seminary, circa 1900.
Location Manly, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Founders Archbishops of Sydney Roger Vaughan and Patrick Cardinal Moran
Established 23 January 1889
Architect Joseph Sheerin and John Hennessy[1]
Architectural style Perpendicular Gothic
Status Closed (November 1995)
Gender Male only

St Patrick's Seminary, Manly, a former seminary of the Australian Roman Catholic Church, was the principal training facility for priests in Australia from its foundation in 1889 until its relocation in 1995 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 Archbishops of Sydney Roger Vaughan and Patrick Cardinal Moran,[1] the seminary was built from 1885 in Perpendicular Gothic style by Joseph Sheerin and John Hennessy[1] on a spectacular site overlooking the Tasman Sea on a hill above Manly on Sydney's north shore, located towards North Head. The seminary opened on 23 January 1889.[2]

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. Tony Abbott is a former seminarian.

By the time of its centenary in 1989, 1,714 men had been ordained, having completed their training at the College. These include Cardinals Gilroy, Freeman, Cassidy and Clancy and 41 bishops.[2]

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

Current use[edit]

The building is now occupied by the International College of Management, Sydney[3] and Aspire Institute, however the Cardinal Cerretti Chapel is still regularly used for weddings, including that of Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban in 2006.[2] The building appears as the exterior of Gatsby's mansion in the 2013 movie, The Great Gatsby.[4]


  1. ^ a b c Whitmore, Karla (2011). "Stained glass by the sea: St Patrick's estate, Manly" (PDF). Journal of the Australian Catholic Historical Society (Australian Catholic Historical Society). 31/32: 2–4. Retrieved 22 May 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c "St. Patrick’s Seminary (now a business/hospitality school)". Sydney Architecture. Retrieved 22 May 2015. 
  3. ^ Abbott, Tony (February 1996). "St Patrick's College, Manly, seminary becomes a hotel school!". The Sydney Morning Herald (AD2000). Retrieved 22 May 2015. 
  4. ^ Casey, Marcus; Van Den Broeke, Leigh. "Manly man Leonardo DiCaprio unmoved by decadence". The Daily Telegraph. Australia. Retrieved May 3, 2013. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Walsh, K. J., Yesterday's Seminary: A history of St Patrick's Manly, St Leonards, 1998, ISBN 1-86448-987-1
  • Livingstone, K., The emergence of an Australian Catholic priesthood, 1835-1915, Sydney, 1977, ISBN 0-909246-36-X
  • Geraghty, C., The Priest Factory: A Manly vision of triumph 1958-1962 and Beyond, 2003.

External links[edit]