Guide to the Papers of John Molony
MS 6634, MS Acc06.031
National Library of Australia View Catalogue Record
- John Molony
- Papers of John Molony
- Date Range
- Collection Number
- MS 6634, MS Acc06.031
- 19.95 metres (106 boxes, 12 cartons, 1 folio box)
- Language of Materials
- National Library of Australia
Scope and Contents
The papers in this collection provide a comprehensive record of the life and career of John Molony.
Molony's long career with the Australian National University is reflected in the large amount of correspondence, lecture material, reports and administrative papers he has accumulated. There are also papers relating to much of Molony's published work and these include a large quantity of research material, draft typescripts, correspondence, newspaper cuttings and reviews.
The extensive correspondence is a particular strength of this collection. Molony is a prolific letter writer and has retained much of the correspondence received over the course of his life and career. This correspondence, particularly with family and friends, often provides very personal glimpses of Molony at various stages during his life. In addition to this, Molony's mother kept the very detailed letters he wrote from Rome while studying for the priesthood. Combined with the correspondence relating to his decision to leave the Church, they provide insights into life in the priesthood in the 1950s and 1960s. Apart from family and colleagues, correspondents include Ian Burns, Manning Clark, Dorothy Green, Bishop Bede Heather, Xavier Herbert, Ken and Amirah Inglis, Archbishop Frank Little, Geoff Lloyd and Bill Mandle.
Molony has been involved with many organisations over the years, mostly as a committee member. The collection includes correspondence, minutes of meetings and other papers relating to these organisations.
Conditions Governing Access
Please refer to the collection's catalogue record for the access conditions (http://nla.gov.au/nla.cat-vn662473).
Conditions Governing Use
Copying and publishing of unpublished manuscript material is subject to copyright restrictions. For such material, written permission to publish must be obtained from the copyright holder(s). Copying of unpublished material for research purposes is permissible 50 years after the death of the creator of the material.
Items from this collection should be cited as '[Title or description of manuscript item], National Library of Australia, Papers of John Molony, [class number, box number and series and/or file number]'.
The bulk of the papers were acquired from John Molony in 1998, under the Taxation Incentives for the Arts Scheme (TIAS). Three earlier small consignments were received from Molony - two donated in 1981 and 1985 and one acquired under the TIAS in 1989.
The Oral History Section of the Library holds the following related recordings:
ORAL TRC 2285 Interview with John Molony by Peter Biskup, 1988
ORAL TRC 2275 Interview with Alex Jesaulenko, Australian football player and coach, by John Molony, 1988
ORAL TRC 2364 Proceedings of the 3rd National Folklore Conference held in the National Library of Australia on 26-27 November, 1988 (Molony was a participant at the Conference)
ORAL TRC 435 'The Italian elections', an ANU Convocation luncheon address given by John Molony on June 16, 1976
The Library has arranged the papers into 32 series.
The papers were accumulated by Molony over a long period of time and, on receipt, comprised mainly manila folders and a large quantity of loose papers. The loose papers were grouped by the Library according to series and placed in folders. The manila folders created by Molony were kept intact. Molony allocated titles to many of the manila folders and these titles have been used in the folder descriptions within each series. Where no title was available, the description is based on the contents of the folder.
Finding Aid Source(s)
Please note: This finding aid may comprise or contain descriptive information provided by donors, researchers and/or volunteers.
Collection Retrieval Advice
Please note: each consignment in this collection has a separate box number sequence (i.e. there may be multiple Box 1s). Please cite the relevant Class number as well as the Box number when requesting retrieval of material from the collection.
During the course of his career, Molony has published a number of scholarly works on subjects as diverse as the encyclical of Pope Leo XIII and Ned Kelly, as well as numerous newspaper and journal articles, chapters in books and literary reviews. His published works include: The Roman mould of the Australian Catholic Church, Melbourne, Melbourne University Press, 1969 An architect of freedom: John Hubert Plunkett in New South Wales, 1832-1869, Canberra, ANU Press, 1973 The emergence of political Catholicism in Italy: Partito Popolare, 1919-1926, London, Croom Helm, 1977 I am Ned Kelly, Melbourne, Allen Lane, 1980 Eureka, Melbourne, Viking, 1984 The Penguin bicentennial history of Australia, Melbourne, Viking, 1987 The worker question: a new historical perspective on Rerum Novarum, Melbourne, Collins Dove, 1991 A soul came into Ireland: Thomas Davis, 1814-1845, Dublin, Geography Publications, 1995 The Native-Born: the first white Australians, Melbourne, Melbourne University Press, 2000
John Neylon Molony is an academic, historian and author. He was born in Melbourne on 15 April 1927, the first son of Michael Joseph and Bridget Jane (neé McInerney). Between 1933 and 1944, he was educated at Sea Lake State School and St Patrick's College, Ballarat.
In 1945, Molony began studies for the priesthood at Corpus Christi College, Werribee. His achievements at the College were such that he was selected to undertake a six-year study program at Propaganda Fide College in Rome. He left Australia in 1947 and was not to return until 1954. Molony was ordained a priest in Rome in December 1950. He continued his studies at the Propaganda Fide College and in 1952 completed post-graduate studies in Canon Law. In 1953-54 he practised Canon Law in Boston, USA.
Molony returned to Australia in 1954 to take up duty as a priest at St Patrick's Presbytery, Ballarat. During his time at Ballarat, Molony was a chaplain and teacher at St Patrick's College. In addition, in 1955-63 he was the Canon Lawyer for the Ecclesiastical Court of the Victorian Province and Director of Catholic Action organisations.
In 1964, Molony decided to leave the priesthood and in a civil ceremony in 1965 he married Denise Margaret Chandler, with whom he has four children. He was granted a dispensation from the priesthood in 1966 and was married in that same year in a private Catholic ceremony. In 1969, Molony and his wife agreed to tell their story in an episode of the ABC-TV documentary series Chequer Board.
Molony's long involvement with the Australian National University (ANU) began in 1964, when he was employed as a Research Assistant in Medieval History in the School of Social Science. He was to go on to become Head of the Department of History and to hold the Manning Clark Chair of Australian History from 1982 until his retirement from the University in 1990. On his retirement, the ANU appointed Molony as an Emeritus Professor of History.
During the early years of his career as an academic at the ANU, Molony also continued with his studies. In 1968 he was admitted to the degree of Master of Arts with his thesis 'The Roman mould of the Australian Catholic Church' and in 1971 to the degree of Doctor of Philosophy with his thesis 'John Hubert Plunkett in New South Wales, 1832-1869'. Both theses were subsequently published.
Molony returned twice to Rome to study. In 1974, he was awarded an exchange scholarship by the Italian Government to undertake one year of study in Rome. He also lectured at the university there. In 1984 he took sabbatical leave of one year to undertake research at the Vatican Library and Archives.
Following his retirement from the ANU in 1990, Molony was appointed to the Keith Cameron Professorship of Australian History at University College, Dublin. He held this position until 1993.
In 1993, on his return to Australia, Molony was appointed to the Foundation Research Professorship in History at the Australian Catholic University in Canberra. He left the University in July 1996.
Throughout his life, as well as maintaining a close relationship with the Catholic Church, Molony has played an active role in the community. He has been a committee member of a number of organisations including the Australian Labor Party, the Indo-China Refugee Association, the Eureka Stockade Memorial Trust and several Australian Rules Football groups. He has also been a long-standing member of the Dante Alighieri Society, holding the position of President from 1976 until 1990. In 1990, in recognition of his contribution to the interests of Italian culture, Molony was awarded the 'Onorifecenza Cavaliere OMRI' by the Italian Government.
Comprises extensive run of correspondence with family and friends, papers relating to his long career with the Australian National University, copies of journal and newspaper articles and research notes and drafts relating to much of his writing.
Contained in 106 boxes, 1 fol. box.
This series comprises correspondence between Molony and his immediate and extended family. There are letters from his parents, brother Brian and sister Margaret, his wife Denise, his children Damien, Michael, Leah and Justine, his aunts and his parents-in-law. There is also a collection of letters written by his aunt, Sister Mary Loyola, a Catholic nun, to both Molony and members of the family.
In 1945, Molony entered the Seminary at Corpus Christi College, Werribee, to train for the priesthood. In 1947, he travelled to Rome to undertake further studies and did not return to Australia until 1954. Included are the many letters Molony wrote to his parents during his time overseas. They contain much detail about his life during this time, as well as expressing many of his thoughts and ideas.
In 1964, Molony decided to leave the priesthood and marry. This was a difficult decision and one which was not supported by either the church or his family. The distress caused to both himself and his family by this decision is reflected in the correspondence of this time. In 1969, Molony and his wife appeared on a program of the ABC-TV documentary series Chequer Board. Correspondence received from extended family and friends after the program was aired expresses overwhelming support for them and a better understanding of what they had experienced.
Molony has been a prolific letter writer and has retained a large collection of the letters received from friends during the course of his life and career. This correspondence is contained in this series.
Friends with whom Molony has had a long and close relationship include Ian Burns, Des O'Hagan (who was at the seminary with Molony in Werribee and also left the priesthood), Archbishop Frank Little and Geoff Lloyd. Other correspondents include Manning Clark, Bishop Bede Heather, Xavier Herbert, Ken and Amirah Inglis, Bill Mandle and Gerald Walsh.
Correspondence with Des Hagan (1966-68), Manning Clark (1969-90) and Xavier Herbert (1978-83) was filed separately by Molony and these files have been retained and incorporated into the Library's arrangement of the correspondence into chronological order by year.
As well as correspondence with family and friends, Molony accumulated a great deal of general correspondence, the bulk of which relates to his life after he left the priesthood. Contained in this series is correspondence with publishers, editors, clergy of the Catholic Church and community groups and projects with which Molony was involved. Interleaved with these papers is a large quantity of correspondence relating to Molony's time as the Keith Cameron Professor of Australian History at the University College, Dublin (1990-93). Much of this is from colleagues in Australia.
For a period of time from 1977 to 1983, Molony filed some of his correspondence alphabetically. In some cases, he also filed correspondence with certain organisations separately. These files have been retained and incorporated into the Library's arrangement of the correspondence into chronological order by year.
While there are separate series for Australian National University (Series 7) and the Australian Catholic University (Series 8), papers relating to both these institutions may be included in this series.
Interleaved with the correspondence are items such as news cuttings, reports, invitations to functions and drafts of papers by Molony.
Contained in this series is a miscellaneous group of papers and memorabilia relating to Molony and his family. Included are papers about Molony's parents, his studies for the priesthood, and his two study trips to Rome. In addition, there is a transcript of an oral history interview with Molony conducted in 1988, the certificate of Onorifecenz Cavaliere OMRI, awarded to Molony by the Italian Government in 1990 and newspaper cuttings.
This series contains a small amount of financial papers, which include bank statements, royalty statements, pay slips, receipts, tax forms and cheque butts.
The diaries in this series were maintained by Molony, apart for two from 1990, which were written by his wife, Denise. Some contain appointments only and some are narrative in style and record his daily activities and his thoughts.
This series comprises a large group of papers relating to Molony's long career as an academic at the Australian National University (ANU). Included is correspondence, reports, administrative papers, research grant applications submitted by Molony, references written by Molony for others and papers relating to course work.
During the period 1975-83, Molony filed some of his correspondence in chronological order within the year, and some in alphabetical order. These files have been retained and incorporated into the Library's arrangement of the papers into chronological order by year.
Correspondents include Geoffrey Fairbairn, Dorothy Green, Ian Hancock, Ken Inglis Hector Kinloch, Bill Mandle, Bede Nairn and John Ritchie.
Summary of Molony's career at ANU: Research Assistant, School of Social Sciences, 1964; Part-time tutor in British History, Department of History Part-time lecturer in Australian History, Royal Military College, Duntroon, 1965; Tutor in Modern History, 1966; Senior Tutor in History, 1967; Lecturer in History, 1968; Senior Lecturer in History, 1974; Professor of History, 1975; Head of Department of History, 1977-85; Manning Clark Professor of Australian History, 1978-90; Emeritus Professor of History, 1990.
In 1993, Molony took up the appointment of Foundation Research Professor in History at the Australian Catholic University in Canberra. He resigned from the position in 1996. This series contains papers relating to Molony's appointment to the position and his work at the University.
The bulk of the papers in this series relate to Molony's academic career at the Australian National University (1964-90). They comprise a large group of lecture notes as well as student work and papers relating to administrative matters. Also included are two folders of papers relating to Molony's time at the University College, Dublin (1990-93).
Molony's book, The Roman mould of the Australian Catholic Church, is the published version of his thesis completed for his MA studies at the Australian National University. It was published by Melbourne University Press in 1969.
The papers in this series include research notes, reviews and correspondence with Tony Gill, Monsignor C.J. Duffy and Melbourne University Press regarding the publication of the book.
Molony's docotoral thesis, An architect of freedom: John Hubert Plunkett in New South Wales, 1832-1869, was published by Australian National University Press, Canberra, in 1973. The book details the life and work of Plunkett, who was appointed Attorney-General in New South Wales in 1836, and who was a leading figure throughout the period of transition from a penal to a self-governing colony.
Included in this series are research notes, correspondence, a small amount of typescript, galley proofs and reviews.
In 1974, Molony was awarded an exchange scholarship by the Italian Government to undertake one year of study in Rome. His book, The emergence of political Catholicism in Italy: Partito Popolare 1919-1926, resulted from research undertaken while in Rome. It was published by Croom Helm, London, 1977. Contained in this series is a small quantity of papers relating to the book.
Molony's book, I am Ned Kelly, was published by Allen Lane, Melbourne, in 1980. Molony undertook extensive research for the book, and this research material makes up the major part of this series. Also included is correspondence, an early manuscript and edited typescript drafts.
Molony's book, Eureka, is an account of the bloody uprising in 1854 of 200 gold diggers at the Eureka mine near Ballarat, in protest over government taxes. It was published by Viking, Melbourne, in 1984. Papers relating to this book are included in this series, and comprise correspondence, research material and a small amount of draft manuscript.
In 1985, the Australian Bicentennial Authority (ABA) commissioned Molony to write a one-volume General History of Australia for the 1988 Bicentenary. In an arrangement with the Australian National University, Molony resigned as Head of the Department of History, but retained his Chair of History. The ABA funded the cost of a replacement lecturer and provided Molony with a research grant. The book was published by Viking, Melbourne, 1987.
Papers relating to the project are contained in this series. They include correspondence with publishers and the ABA, financial records relating to the project, edited manuscript and typescript and reviews. Also included are congratulatory letters on the publication of the book. Correspondents include Ken Inglis, John Ritchie and Russel Ward.
In 1984, Molony spent one year in Rome, undertaking research in the Vatican Archives. His book, The worker question: a new historical perspective on Rerum novarum, about the encyclical letter entitled Rerum Novarum issued by Pope Leo XIII in 1891, is the result of this research. It was published by Collins Dove, Melbourne, in 1991.
The papers in this series include correspondence with publishers (1990-91) and colleagues, including Charles Mayne (to whom the book is dedicated), Bede Nairn and Tony Gill.
In 1990, Molony took up the appointment of the Keith Cameron Professorship of Australian History at University College, Dublin. During this time he undertook the research for his book A soul came into Ireland: Thomas Davis, 1814-1845, the biography of the 19th century Irish patriot Thomas Davis. It was published by Geography Publications, Dublin, in 1995.
The bulk of the papers contained in this series comprise research material relating to the book. Also included is correspondence, mostly between Molony and William Nolan of Geography Publications, regarding the writing, editing and publication of the book.
As well as his books, during the course of his career, Molony has published journal and newspaper articles, numerous book reviews and chapters in books, mostly biographical dictionaries. Papers relating to these published works are contained in this series.
This series comprises a small group of mostly undated typescripts of unpublished writings by Molony. Works include fictional short stories, chapters of unidentified books and political writings. There are also religious writings, including one piece with comments by Manning Clark, and a television proposal for a history series.
On numerous occasions over the course of his career, Molony has been invited to give speeches at functions ranging from academic occasions, political dinners, sports dinners, farewell dinners and as a guest speaker. Contained in this series are manuscripts, typescripts and note cards relating to these speeches.
The research material in this series was accumulated by Molony and covers a range of topics. It includes a large group of papers relating to a project entitled The Colony of "Australia" and to Charles Gavan Duffy, Premier of Victoria, who also published a biography of Thomas Davis in 1894. These papers include photocopies of government records, newspaper cuttings, photocopies of correspondence between Duffy and Parkes regarding Federation and a letter from Duffy's grandson to Molony regarding his research (1984).
This series contains a small group of newsletters and publications accumulated by Molony.
Molony has long been a keen follower and supporter of Australian Rules Football, both in the ACT and nationally. Over the years he has been involved with the Australian National University Australian Rules Football Club (ANUARF), of which he was President, a committee member of the ACT Australian Football League (ACTAFL), the Belconnen Australian Football Club (BAFC), of which he has been President and Chairman, a committee member of the National Football League of Australia (NFLA), Chair of the National Competition Committee and a committee member of the ACT Academy of Sport.
The papers in this series comprise correspondence, minutes of meetings, reports, submissions, discussion papers, financial statements and newspaper cuttings relating to the various football organisations with which Molony has been involved.
Molony has had a long involvement with the Dante Alighieri Society in Canberra, having been both a committee member and President. In 1990, the Italian Government honoured Molony with the award of Onorificenza Cavaliere OMRI, in recognition of his contribution to the interests of Italian culture.
Correspondence and committee papers relating to Molony's involvement with the Society are contained in this series, together with copies of the Society's newsletter.
This series contains papers relating to the religious education publishing company CRIPAC Press, of which Molony was a founding member. In 1972, during a time of legal problems, Molony was elected Chairman of Directors and oversaw the transfer of the business operations to Dove Communications. Papers include correspondence, legal documents, financial statements, minutes of meetings and copies of the religious education journal Shalom, which was published by CRIPAC Press.
Molony has had a long involvement with the Australian Labor Party (ALP). He has been a member of the ACT Branch, and has held the positions of Secretary and President.
The papers in this series comprise correspondence, committee papers, conference papers and newsletters relating to Molony's involvement with the ALP.
Molony was Chair of the Australian Bicentenary Authority's History and Political Democracy Task Force, which was set up to consider various projects which could be undertaken to mark the Bicentenary.
Included in this series are minutes of meetings, correspondence, committee papers and reports.
The small group of papers in this series relate to Molony's involvement with the Australian Society for the Study of Labour History, of which he was a committee member and President for many years. Included is correspondence, minutes of meetings and copies of the Society's newsletter Recorder.
Molony has been involved with the Indo-China Refugee Association for a number of years as both a committee member and President (1988). Activities of the organisation include the settling of newly arrived refugees and liaising with Government authorities on their behalf.
The papers in this series comprise correspondence, minutes of meetings, reports, Government publications, newspaper cuttings and copies of the ICRA newsletter.
Molony was one of the supervisors of a bicentenary project to produce a three-volume history of Canberra, to be written by Jim Gibbney, Lyall Gillespie and Eric Sparke. Sparke and Gibbney received scholarships from the Department of Territories and Local Government to undertake the project. Two volumes, Canberra 1913-1953 by Gibbney and Canberra 1954-1980 by Sparke were published in 1988 and the third, Canberra 1820-1913 by Gillespie, was published in 1991.
This series comprises correspondence, minutes of meetings and news cuttings relating to the project.
Since leaving the priesthood, Molony has continued to play an active role within the Catholic Church. The papers in this series reflect this involvement and comprise three groups. Firstly, papers relating to Molony's involvement with the task force for the visit to Canberra of Pope John Paul II in 1986. Included is correspondence, drafts of statements, addresses and homilies and tour arrangements. Secondly, papers relating to the 1989 Diocesan Synod, at which Molony was the appointed representative for the Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn. And thirdly, papers relating to Molony's involvement in the preparation of the 1994 Social Justice Sunday Statement on Unemployment on behalf of the Australian Catholic Bishops. The Statement was formulated following an approach made to Molony, in 1993, by Michael Costigan, then Executive Officer for the Australian Catholic Social Justice Council. Molony's draft statement was subsequently rejected by the Council. Included is correspondence, research material and drafts of the statement.
The papers in this series relate to Molony's involvement as a committee member of the group Eureka's Children, and with the Eureka Stockade Memorial Trust of which he was both an historical consultant and a trustee. They comprise papers relating to meetings of the Executive Committee of Eureka's Children and correspondence, applications for funding, minutes of meetings, design submissions and background material for the Eureka Stockade Memorial Trust's project to redevelop the site of the Eureka uprising in Ballarat.
Comprises correspondence, research material and writings. Material from the 1950s to 1974 relates to Molony's humanitarian, political and church activities. The papers from 1989-2005 include Eureka's Children Inc. minutes, Australian National University Emeritus Faculty files, material relating to a petition against an ANU-Canberra College of Advanced Education merger in 1989 and Republic of the Free Campaign 1997 papers.
Contained in 12 cartons.