VU Special Collections - How to access and use: Ray Verrills

Ray Verrills photograph

Ray Verrills (Archival papers of Ray Verrills)

Link to box list on VU catalogue

  • Part of the Verrills Collection.
  • "This collection comprises material used by Dr. Ian Syson in the course of his research on the Realist Writers groups and their publications. The papers include copies of Ray Verrills’ personal correspondence and letters and documents relating to the writing, politics and philosophy of the Realist Writers and their journal published as Realist Writer and The Realist. This collection also includes copies of letters written to and by Dorothy Hewett c1960-1990. Ian Syson’s research was carried out in the 1990s and donated to the Victoria University Library’s Special Collection in 2015." (box list)
  • This collection is divided into four series:
    • Series 1: Ray Verrills correspondence from Europe, 1966
    • Series 2: Syson research papers and correspondence with some key people from the Realist Writers Group
    • Series 3: Realist writers’ groups and publications – correspondence
    • Series 4: Dorothy Hewett letters

Verrills archival material

These papers were created by Ray Verrills and detail his time as editor of The Realist Writer, the journal of the Sydney Realist Writers Group. The papers are mainly correspondence with well-known and lesser known Australian writers of the time.

There are 6 boxes of papers in 3 series:

  • Correspondence with individual writers: Box 1 - 4
  • Miscellaneous Correspondence – The Realist Writer: Box 5
  • Administration of The Realist Writer: Box 6

History of the collection

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.

Over the four years from 2000 - 2003 the Library, assisted by funding from the Faculty of Arts, Victoria University, catalogued the Verrills Collection.

Who was Ray Verrills?

Ray Verrills was born in Sydney in 1915 and died in Melbourne in 1999. 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.

 He was involved in the Australian Communist Party from the 1940s onwards and the Realist Writers group from the 1960s onwards. He was also a senior Commonwealth Public Servant. He collected throughout his life, books on Australian literature, and left wing politics and philosophy  in Australia and overseas. His collection was donated to the Library by his Estate in February 2000. The Faculty of Arts, Victoria University, supported the acquisition of the Verrills collection with funds to assist cataloguing.

Anatomy of the Verrills Collection