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

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 Library.

Ray Verrills collected throughout his life, mainly books on literature, especially from Australia and many countries associated with the Communist movement, as well as books on left-wing politics and philosophy in Australia and overseas.

The contacts of the collection is represented in this infographic.

The Ray Verrills material includes tow archival collections which can be reviewed through these links:


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.

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 The 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

Ray Verrills archival papers [manuscript]

Link to box list on VU catalogue
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