Daniel Mannix remembered at Mannix College.

Dr Brenda Niall AO at the launch of her new book

Monash alumnus Dr Brenda Niall at the launch of her new book

Former Monash academic staff member Dr Brenda Niall AO, one of Australia’s foremost biographers, returned to Clayton campus to launch her latest book, a major biography of Daniel Mannix.

The establishment of the college, which is open to Monash students from all backgrounds, was the last major decision taken by Mannix as Catholic Archbishop of Melbourne before his death in 1964 at the age of 99.

Dr Niall spoke of the desire on the part of Mannix to establish a college that would provide high quality accommodation for students as part of his commitment to building tertiary education institutions as well as schools, hospitals and churches.

Dr Niall’s research included surveying the College’s collection of Daniel Mannix-related items, some of which are on permanent display and include personal letters, photographs and vestments. Mannix’s personal motto Omnia Omnibus (All Things to All People) is also the motto of Mannix College.    

Though Mannix is characterised by some commentators as a reactionary figure, Dr Niall said that during his lifetime he supported causes such as Indigenous rights, a non-discriminatory immigration policy and the cause of refugees long before such issues formed part of the mainstream political agenda.