The Ray Verrills Collection is a research collection that was donated to Victoria University Library in November 2000. The collection of books, journals and pamphlets was compiled by Ray Verrills and left in his will to Neville and Dawn Heffernan, who then donated the collection to Victoria University.

The Verrills Collection is located in the Special Collections Room, P402, at the Footscray Park Campus Library of Victoria University. Ray Verrill’s creative and critical work with the Realist Writers group and his correspondence and diaries were donated to the National Library of Australia in Canberra.

Who was Ray Verrills

Ray Verrills (1915-1999) over a lifetime, collected primary and critical material related to Australian Literature, and left-wing politics and philosophy in Australia and Overseas.

In the 1920s and 1930s he completed two degrees at the University of Sydney, a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Commerce. Ray Verrills was involved with the Australian Communist Party from the 1940s onwards and the Realist Writers group from the 1960s onwards. In the 1970s he was the editor of the Realist Writer journal. He also worked as a senior Commonwealth public servant but his main passion was collecting the over 9000 books that make up the Verrills collection.

Significance of the collection

The Verrills collection is an essential research collection to those studying Australian literature or left-wing politics and philosophy in Australia from the 1940s onwards. The subject coverage of the collection includes:

  • Australian fiction (novels, plays and poetry) and criticism
  • Classical Literature
  • European Literature
  • Soviet Literature
  • Socialist Economics
  • History - Australian, Ancient, American, European, Asian, African
  • Marxism and Socialism
  • European Philosophy
  • Foreign Languages
  • Australian Politics and Sociology.

Over the four years from 2000 - 2003 the Library, assisted by funding from the Faculty of Arts, catalogued the Verrills Collection. In the Library Catalogue all items in the collection have the prefix FTS VERRILL COLL. before the shelf number. The Library Catalogue can be accessed in the Library (call 03 9919 4266 to check opening hours) or from the Library's webpage at:

Access to the collection

The Verrills collection is a research collection. The items can't be borrowed, but may be viewed on appointment.

In the library catalogue, these items have the prefix FTS VERRILL COLL. before the shelf number.

To access material in the collection, please email our Special Collections librarians. You will receive an emailed response within 24 hours (Mon-Fri) and a suitable time will be arranged.

You can view the items in the Special Collections reading room on level 4 of the Footscray Park campus library.

Email: [email protected].