Mannix College is named after Archbishop Daniel Mannix (1864-1963), a notable religious and public leader both in his native Ireland and in his adopted home, Australia.
During his long life, Daniel Mannix was well known for his strength of character, academic accomplishments and intellectual prowess, and his passionate commitment to education. He campaigned strongly for state aid to Catholic Schools, and worked to raise the standing of and create educational opportunities for Catholics in Australia.
In the last years of his life, Archbishop Mannix worked to establish a Catholic residential college at the new Monash University. Subsequently in 1960, the Monash University Interim Council made an in-principle agreement for the affiliation of the proposed residential college.
Three years later, a little over a month after Daniel Mannix died at the age of 99, Archbishop Simmonds, who was the successor to Dr Mannix as Archbishop of Melbourne, informed the Vice-Chancellor of the decision to name the College in memory of Archbishop Mannix. In a joint press statement released by the Monash University Council and the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne, it was stated: “The name Mannix College has been welcomed by the University both as appropriate in itself and as fitting in with the University’s own policy of naming its buildings after outstanding Australians.”
Archbishop Simmonds entrusted the conduct of the College to the Dominican Order, governed by the Monash College Council, and the Dominicans continued to conduct the College on behalf of the Melbourne Archdiocese until 2003, when the first lay Principal was appointed.
On 23rd May 1968 Archbishop Knox laid the Foundation Stone, and the College opened to accept its first intake of Monash students in 1969. Mannix became co-educational in 1974.
The College motto, Omnia Omnibus, which was the personal motto of Archbishop Mannix, translates as “All things to all people”. The shield of Mannix College combines elements representing Archbishop Mannix, Sir John Monash and the Dominican Order. From the shield of Archbishop Mannix the gryphon and crescents are taken together with the motto. The shield of Sir John Monash, used by the university that was named after him, shows the inverted chevron, the Southern Cross, the open book and sword in pale blue surrounded by a crown of laurel. The black and white border is drawn from the shield of the Dominican Order.
Four Dominican Fathers have served as Master of Mannix College:
- Fr. Laurence Fitzgerald OP (1969-1980)
- Fr. Peter Knowles OP (1981-1989)
- Fr. Denis Minns OP (1990-1998)
- Fr. Kevin Saunders OP (1999-2003)
At the end of 2003 a shortage of suitable priests in the Dominican Order saw the position of Master of the College pass to lay staff. To date, there have been two lay Principals of Mannix College: Mr. Damien McCartin (2004 – 2011), and Mr. Sean Brito-Babapulle (2012 – Present)
For several decades now Mannix College has accommodated equal numbers of men and women students from diverse backgrounds, largely representing students who have moved from rural and regional Victoria to study at Monash University, as well as honours and postgraduate students and visiting academic staff from all over Australia and around the world.
The proud history of Mannix College, and the example of Daniel Mannix, supports our current community. Mannix College enables residents to get the most out of their Monash University education – a combination of intellectual independence, support for academic excellence, social development through involvement in the Mannix College Students’ Society, participation in a wide range of sporting, community and cultural activities and the formation of life-long friendships. Mass is said regularly at the College Chapel, which is available at all times for prayer and quiet contemplation.
In December 2014 the College completed a $16.5 million capital development project; a new academic and spiritual centre (including Chapel, library, tutorial rooms), 35 new student rooms, guest accommodation, bike shed, common rooms, walkway, car parks, toilets, gymnasium, student laundry, private dining room, administrative offices, alfresco dining area and music rooms were constructed.