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Like a Bridge over Troubled Water in Sydney: Warrane College and the Student Protests of the 1970s

José Manuel Cerda
(Article originally published in Studia et Documenta: Rivista dell´Istituto Storico San Josemaría Escrivá, 2010, vol. 4, num. 1, pp. 147-181)


Opus Dei began its activities in Australia in 1966. Only three years later it opened Warrane College, a large independent residential college associated with the University of New South Wales. In this article, José Manuel Cerda, an historian and Vice Rector for Academic Affairs at the Gabriela Mistral University in Santiago de Chile, explores the foundation of the college, analyzes its aims and ethos , and provides a detailed account of the opposition to the college that arose as part of the student protest movement in Australia in 1971 and 1974.

Abstract: This article refers to events occurred in Sydney, from 1966 to 1974, to provide some general background to the foundation of Warrane College, a university hall of residence entrusted to the spiritual care of Opus Dei and affiliated with the University of New South Wales. Primarily based on journalistic accounts, this study is divided into three main sections: first, it provides a narrative of the foundation of the college, then an analysis of the particular aims and ethos of the residence, and finally, it describes the growing opposition to the project and the subsequent protests of 1971 and 1974.

Keywords: Opus Dei – Josemaría Escrivá – Australia – Warrane College – 1966-1974

Abstract: Questo articolo tratta una serie di eventi, avvenuti a Sydney tra il 1966 e il 1974, riguardanti la fondazione di Warrane College, una residenza universitaria affidata alla cura spirituale dell’Opus Dei e affiliata all’Università del Nuovo Galles del Sud. Lo studio si basa principalmente su fonti giornalistiche ed è diviso in tre parti: la descrizione del processo fondativo della residenza, l’analisi degli obiettivi formativi della stessa, e l’opposizione al progetto sorta in alcuni ambienti dell’università suddetta, con le proteste che ne derivarono nel 1971 e nel 1974.

Keywords: Opus Dei – Josemaría Escrivá – Australia – Warrane College – 1966-1974


*I am very grateful to David Bolton, William West and Fr Joseph Martins for the comments and suggestions regarding this article. The following piece will offer no more than a reading of the events, which emerges mainly from journalistic accounts reporting the incidents of 1971 and 1974, thus inviting further—and more contextual—work, based on state and ecclesiastical records. The title relates to the 1970 song by Simon and Garfunkel.

Warrane College is a residential college for university students affiliated with the University of New South Wales in Sydney, and entrusted to the spiritual care of Opus Dei. Its prehistory can be traced to the 1950s, when the Catholic archbishop of Sydney, Norman Cardinal Gilroy, first came into contact with members of Opus Dei and a sample of their educational initiatives in Europe. The most senior figure of the Catholic Church in Australia, Cardinal Gilroy attended the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965), when he is likely to have met Saint Josemaría Escrivá. Thomas Muldoon, auxiliary bishop of Sydney, recalls that after an audience with the Founder of Opus Dei, Pope Pius XII famously said to Gilroy that Escrivá “is a true saint, a man sent by God for our times”[1].

As it turned out, Gilroy’s visit to Rome was to prove a crucial moment in the early history of Opus Dei in Australia. The cardinal was then entertaining the idea of setting up a residential college at a university campus in Sydney and the University of New South Wales—then the New South Wales University of Technology—was very short of places for student accommodation. Opus Dei must have loomed large in the mind of the Australian cardinal, not only because of the words of Pius XII about its saintly Founder, but also because Gilroy had taken note of the experience of its members in the administration of university halls in Spain, Italy, Ireland and the United States[2].

The prelude to the project and the Foundation

In 1963, Father Salvador Ferigle, a member of Opus Dei and lecturer at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago, had been to Sydney on his way from Tokyo to Rome, and had met Cardinal Gilroy and visited the university campus. Four months later, and under the impulse of Saint Josemaría, two priests and two laymen of Opus Dei went to Australia to settle for the first time. They lived on Silver Street, in the suburb of Randwick, near the university. Several other laymen from Spain and the United States came to support the apostolic work of Opus Dei in Australia, and in 1965, they set up Nairana Cultural Centre on High Street in Randwick, also very close to the campus[3].

In the 1950s, there was a move to set up a Catholic university in Sydney but it was finally decided to build instead a residential hall and add to the long-standing presence and important function of St. John’s College at the University of Sydney[4]. The Kensington Tech (or New South Wales University of Technology) was founded in 1949 and in the face of increasing student demand for accommodation in the 1950s, it became the most suitable campus for new halls of residence[5]. At the Australian Universities Commission in 1959, the Vice-Chancellor of the university and representatives of the Church met to discuss the prospects of setting up a Catholic college on campus, and it was agreed that “depending upon a suitable site being obtained, and Commonwealth grants for the triennium 1961-63, the Church would match the available finance to provide a college for up to two hundred residents”[6].

The details of the negotiations between the Church and the university concerning the building were managed by Father John Burnheim of St. John’s College. It is worth citing a letter he sent to the Vice-Chancellor in June 1963 in which he reveals a great deal of enthusiasm for the project and the Church’s confidence in the suitability of Opus Dei for its management:

I am very happy to be able to tell you that a Catholic organisation called Opus Dei is very anxious to push ahead with the project for a College at the University of N.S.W., and that the Church authorities are giving them every encouragement and support. Two of their members, Father James W. Albrecht and Christopher Schmitt are in Sydney and are empowered to take immediate steps towards making a foundation […]. In the near future I shall no doubt be handing over any negotiations concerning a college at the University of N.S.W. I know that they will pursue the project with great vigour, and I hope that they will enjoy the same very cordial and understanding relationship with you and the University that I have enjoyed over the past few years[7].

Members of Opus Dei had spent only three years in Australia and they were now entrusted with a major task for which they received unreserved support from university and church authorities. Gilroy’s letter to Albrecht in March 1964 stamped the initiative with an official blessing:

As you know, for some years now, the Archdiocese has had the desire to establish a Residential College at the University of New South Wales under Catholic auspices. I am pleased that Opus Dei has come to Sydney and is providing an opportunity for this desire to become a reality […]. While I was in Rome, I had the opportunity to visit one of your international student residences there. I was very pleased with the spirit of the people in the residence and the work Opus Dei is accomplishing there. I am happy that you plan to establish a residential college in order to carry on this work here, and I wish you every success and assure you of my blessing[8].

Michael Steuart, then the secretary of a committee set up to materialise the project, received a letter in 1968 from the Chancellor of the university praising the efforts of such a group and stating that he was “also pleased that the direction of Warrane is to be entrusted to Opus Dei, an Association which has had wide experience in this field”[9]. The contract between the administration of the college and the university was arranged as a lease for ninety-nine years with an option for renewal and with a nominal rent. In addition, “the University will not require to extend its authority into each College but will leave the responsibility for the control and discipline of students therein to the Rector of the College”[10].

The members of Opus Dei and those collaborating with its educational initiatives were not only given support and encouragement, but their future college was to enjoy some autonomy and independence from university authorities. One of the clauses of the lease established “no express restrictions upon the fashion in which the College shall be administered or governed nor does it contain in specific terms, any normative rules of discipline or conduct which the College is required to observe”[11]. In consequence, the new college at the University of New South Wales was to be shaped by the same principles and characterised by the same spirit that impressed Cardinal Gilroy of the residences entrusted to the spiritual care of Opus Dei in Europe and the Americas.

But how was an Opus Dei college different from other university residences? What was it exactly that impressed Cardinal Gilroy about the hall he visited in Rome? And now that everything was on course for the foundation of the college, how would a few members of this organisation in a foreign country proceed to imprint on this overwhelming project the Catholic spirit of Opus Dei shown to Saint Josemaría in 1928?

The college was named Warrane, and this was perhaps the very first manifestation of its affiliation with the principles promoted by the projects under the direction of Opus Dei members. Warrane is an anglicised version of Warrang which in one of the aboriginal languages of Australia means “Sydney Cove”, where the first European settlers established themselves in 1788. Some may have expected the new college at the University of New South Wales to have a “Catholic” name—after all, the Church had initiated and was significantly involved in the project.

Furthermore, an initiative of this nature could have followed the precedent of St. John’s College, set up in the nineteenth century as the Catholic college of what was then the only university in Sydney[12]. Josemaría Escrivá always practised and encouraged others to have a very intense veneration of the saints of the Church, but he had indicated that the corporate initiatives of Opus Dei would not have the name of saints, so none of these projects would be identified as officially Catholic[13].

Opus Dei had gone to Australia to serve the Church and, as we shall explain, the ethos of Warrane College was to be closely associated with the principles and values of Catholic doctrine. However, it was made clear from the beginning that the college was not run by the diocese, nor was it in any way dependent on directives suggested by the hierarchy more than any private initiative run by ordinary Australian Catholics. Cardinal Gilroy, who seems to have understood this aspect of the spirit of Opus Dei, celebrated the work of the Warrane College Development Committee in a letter sent to its secretary, Michael Steuart, in October 1968: “it is especially pleasing to know that you have the co-operation of men of different faiths who have the common desire to establish Warrane College in the knowledge that its benefits will be extended to students of all faiths”[14]. Residence in the college was open to non-Catholics just as much as membership of its management and administration. As Owen F. Hughes remarked in “Tharunka”, the newspaper of the Students’ Union, as with all residences of Opus Dei throughout the world, “Warrane will be open to students of all religions, races and nationalities. The College will, in fact, make every effort to have the greatest possible diversity among the residents and tutors”, and quoting the words of Saint Josemaría, he continues: “In Opus Dei pluralism is not simply tolerated. It is desired and loved, and in no way hindered”[15]. This was not mere university diplomacy. When the college was officially opened in 1971, The Sydney Morning Herald informed that “its resident population will include undergraduate and postgraduate students from every faculty at the university, and will represent more than twenty countries, mostly in the Pacific area. Open to students of all faiths, the college has residents of many denominations”[16]. In 1972, for example, 72 per cent of residents at Warrane were Australian; 24 per cent from Asia; and 4 per cent from other continents, and since its foundation, the college has hosted students from over forty different countries. This multicultural interaction was so prominent a feature in college life, that it was noted and celebrated in 1972 by the Minister for Immigration[17].

But if Warrane was not run by the Catholic Church, neither did Opus Dei own the college. In an interview with the Students’ Union’s newspaper, the Master of Warrane clarified that it is owned “by a non-profit company called Education Development Association, the constitution of which provides that should it ever be disbanded, its assets may not go to any of its directors but must go to charities”. In the same interview, when asked about the relationship between the college and the university, the Master explained that “the college is built on land leased from the University and is thus legally distinct from the campus. On the other hand since it is an affiliated College, there is obviously a great deal of co-operation between the College and the University, and so we feel very much a part of the campus and we are very proud of it”[18]. The relationship between Warrane and the university community was deemed so essential an aspect of its mission, that college facilities were open to non-resident members as well as lecturers affiliated as academic fellows or visiting tutors[19]. Warrane was then counted among the very few student halls entrusted to the spiritual care of Opus Dei in the world which enjoyed official affiliation with a university, an important feature considering the apostolic objectives of such initiatives[20].

The lease of land which allowed the construction of Warrane was signed on 27th March 1967. One half of the building costs was provided by the Commonwealth Government, one quarter by the State Government of New South Wales, and the rest was obtained by the Warrane Development Committee by means of a bank loan, the payment of which was raised by contributions from individuals and local companies. Construction of the college began in January, 1969, and the building was ready to accommodate students for the third term of the academic year of 1970.

It was an imposing structure of dark brown bricks which dominated the skyline of Kensington with its tower of eight floors elevated over the south-east corner of the university campus on Anzac Parade with Barker Street. The building was equipped with single bedrooms and facilities to accommodate 204 students, resident tutors and other senior and domestic staff. The first two storeys included the chapel, a number of offices, a common room and snack bar, a library and music room, as well as a large dining room adjacent to the entrance hall and reception room. Next to the dining room were the premises reserved for the household administration, managed and directed by women of Opus Dei in collaboration with some others. For the standards of the 1960s, Warrane College was indeed a large-scale structure which impressed the neighbouring community and was the subject of an extraordinarily detailed description in the Sydney Morning Herald[21]. Opus Dei was barely starting its activities in Australia and its members would have surely preferred a much smaller building in order to offer a more personalised attention to residents in accordance with the principles that inspired this type of project in other parts of the world. The Work, however, had gone to that corner of the world to serve the Church, in the words of Saint Josemaría, “as she wants to be served”[22]. In this case, a particular model of residential education, so successfully tested in several countries, was naturally adapted to local circumstances, not without difficulties as we shall see. More in the traditional style of Opus Dei residences was Creston College, a university hall for women with capacity for thirty students just outside the northern bounds of the university campus, on High Street[23].

Joseph F. Martins was appointed Master, the highest authority in the residence. A member of Opus Dei, Martins had migrated from the United States after obtaining a doctorate in physical chemistry from Harvard University and having directed a small residential hall in Boston[24]. The dean of students was Owen F. Hughes, also from the United States, and then a lecturer in the School of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering at the University of New South Wales. In the administrative and academic management of Warrane, they were assisted by a number of staff, among them twelve residential tutors, divided between the six residential floors, several lay members of Opus Dei, and two Catholic chaplains, also in residence[25].

Warrane was officially opened on Sunday 13th June, 1971, by Sir Roden Cutler, Governor of New South Wales. The ceremony was also attended by David Hughes, Minister for Public Works; Sir Kevin Ellis, Speaker of the New South Wales Legislative Assembly and Deputy Chancellor of the University of New South Wales; Rupert Myers, Vice-Chancellor of the university; the members of the Warrane Development Committee, and more than two hundred guests, among them the college residents[26].

The distinctive aims and ethos of the College

Warrane College then became one of the seventy university residences in Australia and one of the six colleges affiliated with the University of New South Wales[27]. Four of these colleges were non-denominational halls managed by the university, being the three Kensington Colleges (Baxter, Basser and Goldstein colleges) on the upper campus, and International House on the lower campus. New College was the name of the residence also established on the lower campus under the auspices of the Anglican Church. Like Warrane, the Anglican college was located on Anzac Parade and was built in similar fashion. In the middle of 1968, representatives from the Jewish community in Sydney approached university authorities with a view to building the third denominational college on Barker Street, after their proposal was rejected by Sydney University[28].

As Warrane, all these institutions were affiliated university colleges which aimed to provide a communal environment nurtured with active participation in a variety of collegial activities ranging from social events to cultural initiatives, from sporting competitions to academic endeavours. Like all affiliated colleges in Australia, these were not simply halls of residence providing temporary accommodation during the university term in the manner of student hostels. Similarly to the first colleges established in Australia in the nineteenth century, the post-war residences aimed to maintain and cultivate at least the most fundamental traditions first espoused by Oxbridge colleges in the Middle Ages, “while expressing, in their architecture and style of life, new ideas and approaches to university student life”[29].

In varying degrees, an intense collegial life was common to all the student halls affiliated with the University of New South Wales from the late 1960s, and came to complement and enrich the university experience for thousands of students in Sydney. However, the principles upon which Warrane was established and the aims driving the efforts of its management towered above the objectives of all other residential colleges at the University of New South Wales, and indeed in Australia.

The particular ethos of Warrane is a most fundamental consideration in understanding the college’s short history, the spiritual aspects of its mission, and the educational vision that shaped its extraordinary make-up. A few months later the official opening of the college, the Master explained in an interview:

There are many types of colleges throughout Australia, each with its own environment and structure, and we welcome this diversity. At the same time, we have chosen a particular set of characteristics for Warrane, designed a building with these in mind, and are now guiding the initial stages of the College’s development in a way consistent with these principles. We are confident that the College will prove itself over the years[30].

In concordance with the aims of the Education Development Association, the college’s first and most fundamental purpose was “to promote education and the development of character in accordance with the principles and ideals of Christianity”[31]. Such an objective was common to all university residences established by members of Opus Dei throughout the world, but in 1970, it implied a most ambitious and daring novelty for a college in the increasingly secularised environment of campuses in Australia[32]. When asked whether Opus Dei was relevant to the Australian conditions, the college Master, Joseph Martins, vigorously answered that “there are two main points that Opus Dei emphasises: living one’s Christian commitment fully and sanctifying oneself through one’s work. It is obvious that both Christianity and work have a place in Australia. Opus Dei’s message is relevant here as in the some forty countries where the Association carries on its work”[33].

The college, however, had been erected in a country that, like many others in the developed world, was rapidly losing its Christian roots and renouncing much of its cultural heritage. In this context, the presence of Warrane and its contribution to campus life became all the more notorious and pertinent. Tony Shannon, a lecturer in the Department of Applied Mathematics at the University of Technology in Sydney, had been in touch with members of Opus Dei and residents at Warrane long enough to grasp the essential mission of the college. In an article published in 1974 in the Canberra Times, he explained:

Warrane seeks to provide a stimulating environment in which the intellectual, moral and overall human development of the men who live there can flourish […]. Essentially the college tries to provide a framework within which these ideals can be realised, and it utilises the resources and services of men of good will who share these aims […]. More specifically, Warrane’s aims are: (1) to ensure good study conditions and further the intellectual development offered by the university; (2) to promote a spirit of friendship and understanding in an atmosphere of warmth and service to others; (3) to provide, for those students who wish it, the opportunity to know and practise the Christian faith more fully; (4) to encourage participation in all aspects of university life; (5) to foster an awareness of one’s social responsibility and of the opportunities to contribute to the needs of the society in which we live[34].

Employing these ideals and principles to shape the ethos of a large affiliated college in Australia of the 1970s was by no means a simple enterprise. To fully comprehend and appreciate what these ambitious goals entailed, it is necessary to analyse the methods and means used to achieve them. In other words, we should ask how were these aims materialised; how did they distinguish Warrane from the other colleges, and how was the model for similar residential halls around the world transported into Australia? In essence, what was, as already said, the particular recipe that had left Gilroy so impressed upon his visit to that residence run by members of Opus Dei in Rome?

In order to ensure good study conditions and further the intellectual development offered by the university, the college appointed several tutors every year. These tutors would be residents chosen on the basis of seniority and academic experience, and in 1971 they were expected to conduct tutorials, be available to students for consultation concerning their university courses, and be aware of their academic standing. Beside these academic obligations, these tutors were also asked to fulfill a number of mentoring and leadership tasks. In 1973, these roles were separated and two groups of tutors were established: those designated academic tutors were exclusively concerned with the academic welfare of the students in the college, while a second group known as resident tutors, were appointed for each floor to look after their personal wellbeing and were entrusted with some authority over the residents[35].

The sanctification of work is at the very centre of the message of Opus Dei, and since studying was the principal occupation of university students, it was naturally afforded a central place in the college experience. “An hour of study, for a modern apostle, is an hour of prayer”, once wrote Saint Josemaría[36]. A large number of tutors, a comprehensive tutorial program, an encouraging environment of academic achievement, and ideal study conditions were the ingredients of the Warrane recipe. An excellent ratio between tutors and residents ensured personalised attention and regular academic counselling. In addition to the assistance offered by the permanent staff, the academic environment at the college was substantially aided by 22 visiting and resident academic tutors, who offered assistance on a wide range of subjects. “The Visiting Tutors are generally members of the University staff, ranging from Teaching Fellows to Senior Lecturers. There are 44 tutorials given each week in 29 different subjects, and all of these numbers are expected to increase as the college develops”, explained Joseph Martins. Furthermore, “tutorial groups are kept small—usually no more than six students—in order to make them be of greater benefit to the student”[37].

Although attendance at these tutorials was voluntary, as with all other activities organised for the residents, the fruits of such an intense and elaborated scheme were soon to earn for the college some academic success. In the early 1970s, the percentage of residents who passed all their subjects at Warrane was the highest among all colleges affiliated with the University of New South Wales. At the end of 1973, for example, 98.7 per cent of the residents at Warrane were allowed to proceed with their university courses, while nearly 82 per cent passed all subjects that year, a figure that was significantly higher than at the Kensington colleges and New College[38].

Academic achievement was encouraged and rewarded at Warrane from its earliest history. A college scholar award was given each year to students who on average obtained a distinction level or higher in all subjects. In 1974, the State Minister for Education presented the award for the first time to eleven students at a dinner in the college[39].

These numbers speak for themselves, but they are not only, not even primarily, the product of the tutorial system. There was something particular of the environment at Warrane which encouraged academic achievement. The Master of the college observed in 1971:

The other aspect is that of providing good study conditions. This, of course, should be a feature of all colleges, but good study conditions do not just happen—they require the cooperative efforts of all, and some system of operation whereby all of the various activities within the College will not detract from these conditions. In order to achieve this, the policy at Warrane is that the residential floors are for the residents, and are not meant for visitors, for large group activities or for anything noisy. For any of these, the common room areas should be used, and the College provides very extensive common facilities to make this possible […]; this arrangement also provides a reasonable measure of privacy for the residents[40].

Further contribution to this environment was made by weekly guest speakers to broaden the professional and cultural horizons of the residents, and study weekends designed for those who wanted or needed to intensify their study towards preparing exams or completing assignments.

The Warrane model, however, was not entirely geared towards the academic performance of its residents, nor was this successful system what characterised the college most. The staff was also greatly concerned with promoting a spirit of friendship and understanding in an atmosphere of warmth and service to others.

Residential tutors were appointed for this purpose. According to an outline of proposals for 1971, the staff indicated that two tutors were to be allocated to each floor and they would be expected to help establish gettogethers or social gatherings on the floors in a way which creates a homelike environment among the residents; be vigilant about study conditions, apply the rules and deal with the students on these matters; visit the residents with frequency for counselling and mentoring; and finally, help the House Committee member on each floor in promoting floor-based activities and contributing to the social interaction and cohesion of the group[41].

While the elected members of the House Committee, later known as the Activities Committee, were entrusted with organising activities for all residents at Warrane, the residential tutors were appointed to take a leading role on each floor and thus organise activities for the residents of their floors. Among these undertakings, perhaps the most significant were the floor gatherings on each night, which came to be popularly identified as coffee club. These were informal meetings which gathered the members of each floor, who voluntarily participated in a variety of conversations concerning daily occurrences, college news and activities. For the residents, they were an opportunity to relax, take a break from study, celebrate birthdays and keep informed of the events organised by the House Committee. Above all, the main purpose of these floor gatherings was to offer a unique opportunity for the residents to know each other, thus creating a home-like environment of friendship and trust. In this context, there was hardly any need for locks on doors, a feature that is special to Warrane, where the interaction of residents was similar to that of a family[42].

In order to nurture this special environment, the tutors constantly encouraged the residents to consider the needs of others and developed an ongoing attitude of service. They are also urged to practice the virtues required for mutual understanding, for accommodating differences, and thus facilitate common living.

Owen Hughes, then Vice-Master at Warrane, lived in a residence entrusted to the spiritual care of Opus Dei in the United States just like the Master, Joseph Martins. He writes:

Characteristic of the residences of Opus Dei is an especially active college life. At Warrane students will be encouraged to exercise their initiative and to join together in organising activities of all types: music, drama, sports, seminars […]. This active participation gives rise to a spirit of belonging in which the resident feels himself part of the college, and not just a lodger. Testimony of the involvement of the residents in the life of the college is their frequent continuing interests in the affairs of the college even after they have left university[43].

The residents at Warrane were not only introduced to an intense college life, but the internal environment also encouraged them to become actively involved in all aspects of university life. Shannon revealed that the college “impresses one not only as a well-run educational project but also a centre which has much to contribute to the university and the community at large”[44].

Douglas Logan, the Principal of the University of London, wrote in 1964 with reference to a residence entrusted to the spiritual care of Opus Dei in London: “I have been deeply impressed by the excellent results you have achieved in the present Netherhall House and by the real university atmosphere you have created there”[45]. As an affiliated college, Warrane was even more involved in university affairs and senior residents were elected to the House Committee every year to strengthen the presence of the college at the university and ensure an active participation of its residents on campus.

The composition of the committee was: a president, secretary, treasurer, activities director, editor of the newsletter, sports chairman, amenities chairman, one of the tutors, six floor members, and one nonresident member of the college. They met regularly to discuss and decide on matters concerning internal and external activities, and were advised by senior staff members. This group organised the college ball, a highlight in the social calendar of the year and a much publicised event on campus, as well as promoting outings and weekend trips. They were to coordinate the participation of Warrane in the Inter-college Sports Shield, an annual sporting competition among the affiliated halls. The name of Warrane was inscribed in this shield several times in the 1970s, and the teams that represented the college demonstrated a great deal of sporting prowess, particularly in rugby[46]. And just as the college promoted and rewarded academic achievement, the sportsman of the week was presented with the Willie Wong Best and Fairest Award, a cup named after a resident from Malaysia who represented Warrane with distinction in a number of sporting contests. The presentation of this award became a tradition in college and has continued to honour the efforts and skills of many residents. Sporting success was a fundamental element of cohesion and has fed college spirit for decades in a country where sport awakens unparalleled fervour.

The committee of students collaborated with the staff in promoting the participation of residents in general university activities and membership of student clubs and societies. Several residents were also active in student politics and some became members of the Students’ Union Council[47]. A number of public lectures were organised at Warrane every year and added to the talks given every week by guest speakers from the professional and academic world. In 1972, for instance, the residents were exposed to the knowledge and experience of Walter Bunning, one of the best architects in Sydney; Victor Couch, Vice-Rector of the Sydney Teachers College; Elwyn Lynn, director of the Power Gallery of Contemporary Art; Douglas Miller, renown neurosurgeon; Emmet McDermott, former mayor of Sydney; Vincent McGovern, pathologist; Edward St. John, lawyer, and Sir Philip Baxter, from the International Atomic Energy Agency. This is but a sample of those who were invited to speak at the college in 1972. These weekly lectures served to widen perspectives among the residents while facilitating privileged contact with a range of professional undertakings.

These sessions also fostered an ever present awareness of the student’s social responsibility and of the opportunities to contribute to the needs of society, another of the aims procured by the staff and tutors at Warrane, and unmistakably inspired by the mission preached by the Founder of Opus Dei of “contributing to resolve in a Christian way the problems which affect the community of each country”[48].

The corporate undertakings of Opus Dei around the world were social initiatives, and all its educational enterprises, such as a Warrane, promoted social awareness among the students. Typical of the social initiatives of Opus Dei were Strathmore College in Nairobi, the first interracial school in East Africa; Centro Internazionale della Gioventù Lavoratrice in Rome, a residence and school for industrial workers entrusted to Opus Dei by Pope John XXIII and inaugurated by Pope Paul VI; the Radio School ERPA, offering lessons by radio to indigenous people in the highlands of Peru, to mention a few[49].

Residents at Warrane were encouraged to participate in community service and devote some of their time to visiting nursing homes and families in poorer areas of Sydney, feed and accompany the homeless, and assist the elderly with some gardening. These activities have greatly enriched the college experience for generations of university students, and have been an integral part of the education for life which is offered at Warrane. If an intense social and sporting calendar was a feature of most colleges affiliated to the University of New South Wales, Warrane also engaged its residents in a great deal of community service and social work[50]. In the words of Saint Josemaría, a residence entrusted to the spiritual care of Opus Dei provided “not only a place to stay but numerous activities to complete the student’s human, spiritual and cultural training”[51].

These particular features were characteristic of a college committed to the education of its residents in Catholic morals and ethics. The final and most important of all objectives established with the foundation of Warrane College in 1970 was to provide, for those students who would like it, the opportunity to know and practise the Christian faith more fully. This purpose inspired all the other aims we have cited and, in various ways, it informed every single project designed for the college. Not only was this a distinctive feature of Warrane in comparison to the objectives of the other colleges, but the concept of offering personal formation in human values and virtues went far beyond the Oxbridge standards of collegial education.

On offer to Catholic residents and the faithful at large, as well as those interested in Catholicism, was a rich variety of spiritual and doctrinal activities: ongoing courses on Christian principles, ethics and history, a weekly chaplain’s talk, and personalised spiritual guidance and training were made available to all who would like to start or improve a relationship with God. The chaplains were also available for confessions, and Holy Mass was celebrated in the college chapel every morning[52].

Like the chaplains, some of the resident tutors also assumed a pastoral role whenever requested by the residents entrusted to their care. But in explaining the role of the chaplains in Warrane, the college Vice-Master insisted that “functions of a religious character will of course be organised, but the residents will be under no obligation to attend them. In fact, respect for the freedom of the individual to participate or not in any activity is basic to the spirit of Opus Dei”[53]. In consequence, “no obligation whatsoever of a religious nature will be imposed on the residents”, who could gain acceptance into the college regardless of their religious beliefs or personal convictions[54].

Over the years, the experience of many at Warrane has been one of real conversion: many Catholics have learnt to live their faith more fully and love the Church more intensely, a few have discovered their call to join Opus Dei. For many non-Catholics, on the other hand, the years at Warrane have served to become acquainted with Catholic doctrine, and several of them have been received into the Church.

Catholic or not, the residents have always been encouraged to lead a life of virtue and principle. Those willing to reap the benefits of a wholesome collegial experience have learnt to establish order in their life by keeping a room tidy or following a daily timetable; they have also learnt about the commitment of fatherhood and marriage by taking care of other residents and assuming leadership roles; they have learnt a great deal about Christian decency and modesty by observing the basic norms of personal hygiene, behaviour and dress. They have acquired social skills later necessary for developing lasting friendships and for the crafting of successful professional careers. Finally, and most importantly, many residents have naturally turned the practise of these virtues and the assimilation of moral and ethical principles into a lively relationship with God.

There can be no doubt as to the radical change that years in Warrane have prompted in the life of many young men. Staying at the college was therefore a challenging experience for those willing to assume the demands of an education for life. The resident was no mere lodger because the college was much more than a hotel.

But in spite, or perhaps because, of such a demanding environment, Tony Shannon wrote in 1974 that “full to capacity, the college has an everincreasing number of applications and a long waiting list. The immense majority of present residents indicated Warrane as their first choice when applying to the colleges on campus”[55]. At the end of 1971, for example, more than 70 per cent of the students applied to be admitted back the following year, showing that many were at least satisfied with their experience at Warrane[56].

Opposition to Opus Dei, student protests and the enquiry

However, the same Warrane ethos responsible for its success and attractiveness to so many also encountered hostility from a noisy minority, particularly among student activists on campus. The validity of such ambitious and transcendental goals was not understood or tolerated by everyone, for they embodied a staunch resistance to many of the trends and ideologies emerging at university campuses from the mid-1960s.

All over the world, the traditional university experience was challenged by radical minorities who opposed all forms of authority and morality. In the words of Patrick O’Farrell, these trends responded to “emergent student mores, marked by anti-authoritarianism, anti-religion, and aggressive personal laxity”[57]. In the English-speaking world, much of this activism and protest in the 1960s was fuelled by a combination of Marxist ideas and the new commandments of the sexual revolution, and found an inspiration in the 1964 Berkeley Free Speech Movement, among other student uprisings[58]. In Australia, the university environment quickly became politicised and rebellious from 1965, after the commitment of Australian troops in support of the United States military involvement in the Vietnam conflict, which was seen as cooperating with authoritarian and capitalist forces[59].

Under the banner and façade of personal freedom, all this spontaneous idealism on campuses hides intended implications: a minority of radical students wanted to assert control over university administration and thus transform the nature of tertiary education by changing the focus from teaching and learning to urging political, moral and social change. In this there seemed to have been a measure of contradiction, for the student movement pretended to seize and employ the very authority they detested.

Although a rejection of traditional morality and any form or shape of authoritarianism were the major causes that united student movements across the world, the radicals at different universities were constantly in search of a local cause célèbre to initiate and justify action, mostly by a typical sequence of propaganda, march and occupation[60]. In Australia, for example, any measure taken by university authorities which contradicted the emerging ideology was turned into a cause for protest. In consequence, from 1967 to 1974 there were violent student uprisings at the universities of Monash, Queensland, Sydney, Adelaide, Melbourne, La Trobe, Flinders, and Macquarie[61].

The student population at the University of New South Wales in Sydney was moderate compared to the others, perhaps because it had originally been a technological institute and was therefore attended by a larger proportion of science and engineering students[62]. The Students’ Union, however, was controlled by people who had been influenced by the Freethought Society, the Libertarians, and the Sydney Push in addition to influence exercised by international trends, all of which advocated the defiant ideas typically associated with the movements of the 1960’s[63]. In 1971, then, student activism at this university found a most convenient cause for protest, a real gold mine to keep radicals occupied on campus. The presence of Opus Dei in Warrane College was suitably turned into a local Vietnam and the Catholic organisation became the target of violent opposition in the early 1970’s. The historian Patrick O’Farrell explains that “some were genuine radicals frustrated in their larger ambitions and seeing in Warrane a specifically local issue which they might champion with some hope of drawing on immediate and individual discontent”[64].

Opus Dei was seen by the radicals as a formidable opponent because its mission was in direct collision with the moral relaxation they intended for university students. While the members of Opus Dei tried to promote high standards of decency and hard work among the residents at Warrane, many student activists were preaching, at the very same time, the gospel of liberation from any moral constraints and the chains of a virtuous life. Several decades before, Saint Josemaría’s words in The Way had inspired a Christian reaction to such trend: “There is need for a crusade of manliness and purity to counteract and undo the savage work of those who think that man is a beast […].”[65]. This was indeed a head-on clash of principles, and in the agitated circumstances of 1970’s, conflict was perhaps inevitable. Also in reference to the Anglican foundation of New College, Ian Walker observes that the situation “was as if the colleges had arrived at the wrong party!”[66].

Although the opposition to Opus Dei should not be exaggerated, the reaction against the administration of Warrane College in the 1970’s is a rather complex phenomenon that goes beyond the outcry of a few rebels on campus. Perhaps confused by some of the reforming resolutions of the Second Vatican Council, some members of the Newman Society, an association of Catholic students at the University of Sydney, branded Opus Dei a conservative, right-wing and authoritarian organisation, “hostile to the spirit of renewal within the Roman Catholic Church […] informed by the more traditionally Spanish Catholic vices of arrogance and suspicion of the secular world”, to be feared and opposed in Australia[67]. In spite of Gilroy’s convictions, the university council’s approval, and the overwhelming evidence which showed Opus Dei’s aims to be exclusively spiritual, some Catholics -also outside the Newman Societyechoed in Australia the same misconceptions that others have fabricated overseas. Opus Dei was accordingly linked to the Franco regime in Spain, “it was held to be un-Australian, fascist, was allegedly secretive and the enemy of freedom”[68]. In addition, they warned, Opus Dei’s proposal to look after the spiritual administration of colleges at the universities of Oxford and Fribourg had been reasonably rejected[69].

Most of the opposition to Opus Dei from 1966 to 1975 did no more than to repeat these views and was primarily channelled through “Tharunka”, the publication of the Students’ Union at the University of New South Wales[70]. It could not have been otherwise since, as we have pointed out, the first step in the sequence of student protest was propaganda, and most student organisations were filled with radicals in this period. Interestingly, however, the Students’ Union—largely dominated by atheists and agnostics—and some Catholics in Sydney, became odd allies in confronting Opus Dei, too authoritarian a group for the former and too orthodox a movement for the latter. Unfortunately, such an awkward confabulation has been a recurrent phenomenon in history.

Many of the written accusations in “Tharunka” were so misinformed, slanderous, and obscene, so charged with belligerence and intolerance, that to cite the authors would only do great disservice to their honour and obliterate their cause. They could be summarised using the synthesis offered by William West: “Stripped of their rhetoric, the objections in Tharunka to Warrane College policy boil down to (a) they are Catholic; (b) they don’t let students visit maids or girls in rooms; (c) they expel students for breaking rules or promoting pornographic movies; (d) they hang crucifixes on walls”[71].

The editors of the student paper would certainly add a few more objections, such as that Opus Dei members exert pressure on the residents to join it, and that residents were constantly being observed and obliged to conform to strict moral codes. All these accusations were vividly illustrated with letters of anger and dramatic testimonies of former residents, carefully selected quotes from Saint Josemaría’s book The Way, and with opinion pieces of informed and devout Catholics so as to demonstrate that opposition to Opus Dei was not prompted by anti-Catholicism[72].

The attacks on Opus Dei had in the 1960s been confined to pen and paper, but the theft of a sex manual published by “Tharunka” in 1971 gave the radicals a local excuse to test their strength against the university authorities and further their cause against Opus Dei. About six thousand copies of the manual, announced on campus as the family issue, were stolen the night before distribution, and without much investigation it was alleged by the editor of “Tharunka” that they had been taken by residents of Warrane, assuming that Opus Dei would have naturally opposed the distribution[73].

A meeting was called, not only to condemn the theft but also to show public opposition to the rules at Warrane College and the spirituality of Opus Dei. All of the literary ammunition directed at Opus Dei since 1966 was collected and used again to replenish the pages of “Tharunka” in 1971 and 1972. On campus, the small but loud opposition to the administration of Warrane had commenced a fierce campaign with the cry “Joe must go”, directed at the college Master, Joseph Martins[74].

Only two months after the official opening of the college, the staff and residents at Warrane were confronted with dramatic scenes on that famous Monday 9th August. What followed the meeting of students held at the university roundhouse was broadcasted by most radio stations and attracted the attention of newspapers all over Australia, one of which reported the following:

The incidents occurred after a meeting of about 2,000 students in the university roundhouse passed a resolution demanding that the university end the lease of Warrane College […] shortly after 2 pm, after a number of students had left, the meeting narrowly voted that students should ‘adjourn to Warrane College’. Several hundred walked to the front of the college in Anzac Parade, and about 10 ran inside. A group of college employees and residents blocked the doorway, and pushed back others who were trying to force their way in […]; the crowd then moved to the side of the college, and a number of students climbed in through a window. Police kept arriving throughout the afternoon until by 3.15, 21 police cars were parked beside the median strip in Anzac Parade. About 40 police were moving through the crowd. Soon after 3 pm, police entered the college to remove the students who had run inside […]. The arrested students will appear in Waverly Court this morning[75].

The radicals had resorted to occupation, the third stage in the sequence of protest. Violence had finally come to the Kensington campus and seven students were arrested as a result. The diary of the college records that “an estimated 600-strong crowd mostly curious onlookers was watching the siege”[76]. The residents at Warrane had not only opposed the meeting and its resolutions, but they defended the college during the attempted invasion by throwing all sorts of missiles, rubbish and water bombs from the windows[77]. Some must have felt like triumphant soldiers after a battle for they had driven away the invaders, others were simply pleased at being the centre of attention. The college diary keeps the recollection of an extraordinary day for everyone at Warrane:

Most of the radio stations broadcast[ed] the incident at the college. Reporters from various media came to interview the master and many did it by phone. In the evening after tea, the main common room became the TV room as everybody went to watch the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Commission) telecast of the “siege”. Other channels also reported on the same events. From this day on Warrane or Opus Dei shall have been heard by the whole of Australia[78].

It had been a difficult day for those running the college, but it was almost as if the rebels had done Opus Dei a great favour: shortly after its opening, Warrane had made the news all over Australia. In any case, Joseph Martins publicly declared that Opus Dei had nothing to do with the disappearance of the manuals and the director of students’ publications quickly wrote a disclaimer to one of the newspapers stating that the controversial family issue was not an official publication of the Students’ Union and that there was no official support for the occupation of the college[79]. In addition, an avalanche of letters came in support of Opus Dei and its project for Warrane College. One published in the Sunday Australian touches the essence of the conflict by observing in reference to the stolen manuals that “mere theft is not normally enough to bring out the demonstrators. I suspect it wasn’t the reason. The real crime of Opus Dei is that it teaches obedience, chastity and self-denial—matters as foreign to militant students as truth and justice”[80].

On 10 August, the day after the siege, another meeting was convened at the Roundhouse by the editors of “Tharunka”. This time the meeting was attended by the Vice-Chancellor, who stated that he was aware of no breach of the terms of the lease with Opus Dei concerning Warrane, that there were no grounds for protesting, and that changes to the rules should be made by the college administration. Also at the meeting were some residents, staff and members of Opus Dei, one of whom stood up in front of the unruly crowd of students and delivered a speech in defence of the aims of the college[81].

The meetings and the violent tactics employed by some radicals within the Students’ Union to politicise debate and impose their ideology on campus was denounced in “Kundu”, a publication of the university’s Democratic Club, in an issue published shortly after the siege, urging

moderate students to involve themselves in the affairs of the Students’ Union to ensure that the pro-violence minority is not allowed to dictate policy […] otherwise it will be necessary for the Administration to take action to safeguard the rights of the Students’ Union Council and of all students to hold and express their own views without fear of intimidation[82].

It was increasingly clear to all that action against the administration of the college was being inspired and conducted by a small minority of radicals without general consent from student representatives.

As the campaign continued, however, two university lecturers, who had been branded by the rebels as members of Opus Dei, declared two weeks after the protests:

None of us are members of Opus Dei and, for that matter, only one of us is nominally, a Catholic […]. We are however active supporters of Warrane College and the efforts that members of Opus Dei are making in an honest attempt towards broadening the intellectual development of the residents […]. During the periods of our association it has never been suggested to any of us by members of Opus Dei that we should support any other activity of that organisation assuming that there are others, apart from those directly related to the development of Warrane as a university college […][83].

A minority of students persisted on their attacks over the next year. In June 1972, about half of the college residents broke the rules concerning visitors, but three were singled out as particularly defiant, and were expelled. Although they were reinstated two days later and the visitors rule was revised after peaceful dialogue and mutual compromise, the incident was reported in several newspapers and television news, and the editors of “Tharunka” took this opportunity to reactivate their discourse on Opus Dei[84]. As this had also been the case in 1971, the Master of the college urged the residents to deal with this as an internal matter, and “deplore the introduction of external pressures”[85].

Animosities cooled down in 1973 as “Tharunka” was slowly cleared of some radical trends, but the magazine continued to lead the opposition to the presence of Opus Dei on campus, and the violent scenes of 1971 were repeated in 1974. On Wednesday, 5 June, some 2.000 students met at the Roundhouse convened by an Anti-Opus Dei Committee, and a number of expelled residents spoke against the rules, particularly that which forbade residents taking women to their bedrooms, and opposed what they called “petty restrictions and puritanical attitudes”[86]. Then points of The Way were recited out of context and in public to reveal once again the undemocratic nature of Opus Dei. Once the crowd had been excited, entertainment was promised by the radicals and the circus began. The events were proudly recounted and made a glorious feat of student power in “Tharunka”:

The meeting was followed by the Opus Dei Passion Play with a Black Coffin (Opus Dei R.I.P. inscribed); borne by four hooded pall bearers. The “Devil” led a “funeral procession” to Warrane College where 1,500 students “exorcised” the “Holy Mafia” with cries of “Opus out now”. An effigy of Joe Martins “jumped” from the 14th floor window to his death below. Students felt it only fitting that he be placed in the coffin (There was a solemn silence during the ritual burning of the same). “To the Admin” came the cry when it was apparent the real Joe wasn’t going to address the crowd. After a noisy march through the campus the Chancellery was shaken by the might of student power for the first time since the late 60’s. The confrontation in the Council Chambers began with John Green (S.U. President) being appointed Chair-person[87].

The headquarters of university administration were thus the third and final stage in the sequence of student protest because Warrane had been defended by its residents, supporters and staff, and most evidently, because the main target of the radicals was not Opus Dei, but the university authorities. A letter to “Tharunka” a week after the occupation makes it clear. A student representative writes with frustration:

The demonstration last week that resulted in the occupation of the University Council Chambers by 500 students showed that students can be a force within this University […] [but] as long as the University is controlled by conservative forces of administrators, business interest and senior staff, students will never have real power within the University […] we the students should have the power to make this and other decisions within the University[88].

Although there was no consensus as to the measures that students could take concerning the administration of the university, violent means of protest had been employed by student organisations at other campuses in Australia and the radicals at New South Wales would not be counted as the exception.

The Students’ Union and a handful of activists had incited a large crowd to join them in testing strengths with university authorities, and this time they took advantage of the absence of the Vice-Chancellor, who was then overseas, to bully the acting authority and exploit the fragile situation. There was less violence in this protest than in 1971, but the activists achieved a lot more. While they failed to have Opus Dei ousted from the campus, they managed nevertheless to push the university into a compromise: a committee would be established “to inquire into the recent public criticism and protests over the management of Warrane College and to investigate whether […] is contrary to the interests of the University generally”[89].

Although the rebels had gathered support at the Roundhouse by passing the microphone to expelled students, obviously disgruntled with their experience at Warrane, the Activities Committee of the college wrote to “Tharunka” only two days before the march and in representation of the residents, to complain that many residents had been intimidated on campus, and to clarify that “there seems to be almost universal agreement opposing the present campaign against Warrane and Opus Dei”[90]. To explain the intimidation that Warrane residents suffered on the university campus as a result of this campaign, we need to borrow the words of a letter published in “Tharunka”, shortly before the protests: “the rhetoric and cartoons make rather obvious the real reason behind this campaign”, points out the student, “the far left-wingers and sexual freedom supporters cannot tolerate a bit of the campus which dares to reject their standards”[91].

A week after the march, a letter appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald praising the efforts of Opus Dei members in the administration of Warrane and questioning the cause of the protesters. It is here cited almost in its entirety because it offers an interesting analysis by a non-Christian of the inevitable clash between the educational aims of the college and the radical ideas espoused by a minority of student activists from the mid-1960s. In addition, his testimony is important because it summarises much of what has been said of the particular mission of the college and the real agenda of the radicals. Ben Haneman, Warden of Clinical Studies at St. George Hospital and member of the board of Warrane College, wrote in June 1974:

At the outset I want to make it clear that I am a Jew and not a Catholic, that I am a socialist and that I have tremendous sympathy and affection for students.

I became a member of the college board because I have tremendous admiration for the work this college is doing. It has been my passionate belief that not only is there room for Warrane at the University of NSW, but also that the university has a need of Warrane. I believe that this college can make a significant contribution to the life and work of the university.

I believe that Warrane’s opponents have singled it out because it takes a spiritual rather than a materialistic position. Not everyone will accept this explanation. The explanation that will be offered in its place will be student unrest because women are not allowed in the residents bedrooms.

When I was young—and I’ve now turned 50—the rule Warrane has now regarding women visitors was accepted as utterly reasonable. I know very well this is no longer acceptable to many students, and I accept that it is not acceptable. But if a student has a need to live in a mixed college, he can go to any of the other six colleges on campus, which are all mixed, and live there.

Surely a college can make its own rules, as everyone can make rules in his own house. I accept that promiscuity is now permissible. The “Tharunka” youngsters seem to want to make it compulsory.

It is evident on the campus that it is the editors of the student newspaper “Tharunka” who have taken the lead in the present opposition to Warrane.

[…] the more ideas that get into the university the better. That is what universities are all about. Minds can meet, ideas can be thrashed out and discussed, and often discarded if necessary. But what the opponents of Warrane want to do is to silence one point of view altogether. No thinking student could possibly go along with them, whatever he thinks of Opus Dei[92].

Testimonies such as these were submitted to the committee of enquiry in defence of the college and Opus Dei. The investigation began on July 22nd and concluded on November 11th. The six members of the committee, which included the president of the Students’ Union and no one from Warrane, assembled on eleven occasions, received 149 written submissions and interviewed 18 of those who sent written testimonies[93]. After much consideration of documents, interviews, and a thorough inspection of the college, the committee resolved in a 22-page report, the following:

There is no evidence before us capable of supporting the suggestion that Opus Dei has employed its position on the campus as a means of bringing its corporate influence to bear upon any institution of the University […] [or] is an organization which designs by secrecy and stealth to overthrow existing institutions, or to infiltrate, for its own purposes, positions of power and responsibility. The material before us does no more than establish that, in this country at least, it is the lay apostolate which it purports to be […]. We have no reason to question the good faith of those members of Opus Dei associated with the management of Warrane […] the College possesses special aims and special character [and] the University, which invited Opus Dei to establish this College, cannot now contend that its aims, as set out in E.D.A’s memorandum and articles, are other than proper and deserving of support […]. We are of the opinion that a University has a duty to tolerate intellectual pluralism, and the expression of disparate views[94].

The exoneration was publicised in several newspapers in November 1974 and the attacks against the administration of Warrane College practically came to an end thereafter[95], “yet the matter was not trivial or irrelevant”, observes Patrick O’Farrell in his historical account of the university. “It raised again the question of how a tiny minority of students in Tharunka could sustain an agenda well past its use-by date: the era of student power had long ended and it was rationally and politically obvious that the anti-Warrane agitation could go nowhere, whatever the motions gone through”[96].

Although the magnitude and relevance of the protests of 1971 and 1974 should not be exaggerated, there are a number of reasons for considering these incidents as an important section in the early history of Warrane College. In the first place, these were public events and as such, they are undoubtedly the best documented episodes in the history of the college and, accordingly, a more accessible subject of enquiry for the historian. In studying these events, therefore, we attempt to set the record straight because, unfortunately, little else is known about Warrane apart from the protests, the details of which have too often been prey to distortion.

Secondly, these attacks had been, as it were, Warrane’s baptism of fire. This violent assault on the aims of the college and the public nature of the campaign against its management did much to advertise the spirituality and apostolic mission of Opus Dei in Australia. In fact, some current Australian members encountered Opus Dei precisely because they were somehow involved—on both sides of the fence—with the protests of 1971 and 1974[97]. In consequence, one of the unexpected—and surely unwanted—effects of the fierce campaign against Opus Dei on the Kensington campus was that the newly arrived organisation of lay Catholics jumped from total anonymity to a focus of public knowledge and discussion. The events which prompted such a phenomenon are therefore worthy of historical attention.

Finally, just as the circumstances forced the residents and many students on campus to take sides, the members of Opus Dei were strengthened in their convictions. In the face of vicious antagonism and slanderous attacks, those running the college avoided polemics and reacted with the serenity and patience that had also characterised Saint Josemaría’s response to unceasing campaigns against Opus Dei and his person in Europe. “We have to understand,” he used to repeat to the members of Opus Dei, “that we are not understood”[98].

A note from the Regional Commission of Opus Dei in Australia to the staff of the college reminds them that the Founder is praying for the Residence and has asked everybody in Opus Dei to keep Warrane in mind. Saint Josemaría transmitted peace and strength to the members of Opus Dei in Sydney, and encouraged them to protect the family environment at the college[99]. Forgive, forget and continue to work towards fulfilling the aims established for the college was the attitude adopted.

The first college chaplain, the late Msgr. John Masso, once recalled that “the great motivating idea behind Warrane is expressed in a wall hanging in the college’s library—the great commandment: ‘That you love one another’”[100]. This principle of Christian charity inspired the ethos of the college, the reaction against the protests, and very recently moved a former member of parliament to describe Warrane as a powerhouse of grace that had changed the life of so many students for the better[101]. This must have been the perception impressed upon Cardinal Gilroy in his visit to that residence entrusted to the spiritual care of Opus Dei in Rome.

In the early 1970s, the college was as a bridge over troubled waters. The Warrane College Crest includes a ship on top of some waves. These waters have brought many new challenges!

José Manuel Cerda. Born in Santiago de Chile, has a BA (Hons) and a doctorate in history from the University of New South Wales (2007). He was visiting research student at the universities of Oxford and St. Andrews (UK), and has published a number of articles on the institutional history of medieval Spain and England. He is an associate member of the Centre for Medieval Studies (University of Sydney), the Network of Early European Research (University of Western Australia) and ad tempus researcher of the Instituto de Metodología e Historia de la Ciencia Jurídica (University of Madrid). He was Director of Studies and Assistant Dean at Warrane College, where he lived from 2001 to 2006. He is currently teaching and researching at the University of Chile, in Santiago.
email: joecerda@gmail.com.



[1] Artículos del Postulador, Postulación de la Causa de Beatificación y Canonización del Siervo de Dios Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer, Sacerdote, Fundador del Opus Dei, Roma, 1979, p. 395, and n. 1249. According to Bishop Muldoon, the Pope remarked: «È un vero santo, un uomo mandato da Dio per i nostri tempi».

[2] Cf. Ian Walker, Church, College and Campus: The Sacred and the Secular in the Foundation of Denominational Colleges in Australian Universities, with particular reference to certain colleges in universities established in the period 1945 to 1975, unpublished doctoral thesis, Sydney, The University of New South Wales, 2001, p. 427. Members of Opus Dei had set up Netherhall House in 1952 and Greygarth Hall in 1958 as residences for university students in London and Manchester respectively. The Founder encouraged the newly settled members of Opus Dei to establish a residence for university students as soon as it was possible (cf. Andrés Vásquez de Prada, El Fundador del Opus Dei. Vida de Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer, vol. 3, Madrid, Rialp, 2003, p. 320. The foundation of university residences entrusted to the spiritual care of Opus Dei around the world is summarised in ibid., pp. 341, 504; Owen F. Hughes, Disorganised Organisation?, Opus Dei Replies, “Arena”, 30 September 1968, p. 4. Owen Hughes, member of Opus Dei and lecturer in Mechanical Engineering at the University of New South Wales, indicated in the student newspaper that “Warrane College […] comes as one of more than two hundred university residences and hostels established by Opus Dei throughout the world”. “Tharunka”, 29 October, 1968. “Tharunka” is the student magazine at the University of New South Wales, and past issues are stored and catalogued at the university library. For more details on this publication, cf. “Tharunka”, n. 69.

[3] Nairana offered “diversified educational and cultural activities for high school and university students” (cf. Hughes, Disorganised Organisation?, p. 4). Refer also to “Tharunka”, 7 June, 1966; Peter Kelly, Opus Dei Moves into Sydney?, “The Bulletin”, 2 March, 1963, p. 7.

[4] Cf. Walker, Church, College, p. 427; “Tharunka”, 7 June, 1966.

[5] In a letter to Michael Steuart, secretary of the development committee for the future college, Justice Clancy, the Chancellor of the university, wrote in 1968: “I am particularly pleased to see the efforts of private initiative, as exemplified by your committee, in the establishment of affiliated colleges, which are so sorely needed” (25 November, 1968, extract cited in Walker, Church, College, pp. 436-437). The Federal Government became particularly concerned with student accommodation at university campuses in the 1950s and launched a scheme to promote residential colleges in 1955. There were some fifteen thousand students enrolled at the University of New South Wales in 1970, about eight hundred of whom lived in the five residential colleges on campus. Warrane contributed to this number with another two hundred places (The Sydney Morning Herald [hereafter SMH], 10 June, 1971, p. 14).

[6] Walker, Church, College, p. 432. According to the student newspaper “Tharunka”, “this followed an approach by the University to His Eminence [Cardinal Gilroy] which in turn followed a change in the A.U.C. (Australian Universities Commission) policy which became favourable to the building of denominational Colleges at the newer Universities which were up until then only supplied with non-denominational Halls of Residence” (“Tharunka”, 11 April, 1967).

[7] These excerpts are taken from the UNSW Archives (FN. 29367 CN.461/1), and included in Walker, Church, College, p. 433.

[8] Cited in Walker, Church, College, pp. 434-435 (from the UNSW Archives, see above). Contrary to what the historian Patrick O’Farrell asserts, the members of Opus Dei wanted to cooperate with rather than supplant the apostolic work of the Catholic chaplaincy at the university—at that time run by the Missionary Fathers of the Sacred Heart—, regardless of the perceptions or predictions of the resident chaplain. Cf. Patrick O’Farrel, UNSW: A Portrait, Sydney, UNSW Press, 1999, p. 165; Interview with David Bolton and Joseph Martins, Sydney, July, 2006.

[9] Cited in Walker, Church, College, p. 437. The committee was primarily devoted to planning and to raising one quarter of the funds necessary for the construction as well as providing assistance and guidance in the establishment of the college. Its patron was Sir Kevin Ellis, Speaker of the New South Wales Legislative Assembly and Deputy Chancellor of the University of New South Wales. The committee was affiliated to the Education Development Association (E.D.A.), set up on 4 November, 1964, as a company to represent Warrane College and future initiatives of similar nature and promoted by members of Opus Dei in Australia. Its chairman was Michael Steuart and it was to E.D.A. that the land lease of 99 years was granted by the university authorities in March 1967 (Committee of Enquiry into Warrane College, The University of New South Wales Council, November, 1974, p. 2).

[10] From the UNSW Archives, and cited in Walker, Church, College, p. 435.

[11] Committee of Enquiry, p. 3.

[12] A brief history of this college can be found in http://www.stjohnscollege.edu.au/history.html (6 November 2008).

[13] Cf. Josemaría Escríva, Conversations with Monsignor Escrivá de Balaguer, Sydney, Little Hills Press, 1993, n. 81; cf. also n. 47. This aspect of the spirit of Opus Dei is succinctly explained in Scott Hahn, Ordinary Work, Extraordinary Grace: My Spiritual Journey in Opus Dei, New York, Doubleday, 2006, p. 89. Warrane College was to be a private initiative, certainly inspired by Christian values, but not a project depending on the hierarchy of the Catholic Church.

[14] Cited in Walker, Church, College, p. 436.

[15] “Tharunka”, 29 October, 1968. In 1974, for example, 37 per cent of the residents at Warrane College were not Catholic (Committee of Enquiry, p. 9).

[16] SMH, 10 June, 1971, p. 14.

[17] The Minister for Immigration was Albert J. Grassby. Another manifestation of the international character of Warrane was The Asian Cultural Festival, organised by college residents, attended by more than three hundred people, and opened by Robert Webster, Chancellor of the University of New South Wales. There were about a thousand overseas students enrolled at the university in 1970 (O’Farrel, UNSW, p. 120). Saint Josemaría insisted that all the residences entrusted to the spiritual care of Opus Dei were to be open to students of all races and faiths, precisely because none of them were to be established as denominational colleges. Perhaps the most appropriate example is Strathmore College, the very first inter-racial college in Africa (Vásquez de Prada, El Fundador, pp. 382-384, 452-453). Opus Dei’s ecumenical spirit is treated in Hahn, Ordinary Work, p. 4.

[18] This was published as a separate pamphlet entitled Warrane College-Opus Dei, in response to a questionnaire sent by Jeffrey Cohen, director of Student’s Publication of the Students’ Union on 3 September, 1971, following the issue of “Tharunka” of 31 August 1971, which was devoted to Opus Dei.

[19] Cf. Warrane College-Opus Dei, and “Minutes of the College Council”, ref. 8/72, pp. 3-4.

[20] An article in “Tharunka” noted this when reporting the signature of the lease in March, 1967. An appropriate distinction is there made between running halls of residence near universities, and managing colleges affiliated with a university (cf. “Tharunka”, 11 April, 1967).

[21] Cf. Governor to open university college, SMH, 10 June, 1971, p. 14; Jon Powis, Opus Dei on the campus, “The National Times”, August, 1970; and “Tharunka”, 2 October, 1968. The architectural layout of the building is described with surprising detail in the piece cited above. In the same page where the article is printed, a number of companies in the building construction market proudly publicise their involvement in the construction and equipment of the college. Cf. also “Tharunka”, 25 February and 4 November, 1969.

[22] Cited in Hahn, Ordinary Work, p. 46. A report printed in “Tharunka” indicates that, in fact, “during the first year of operation the number accommodated will be somewhat smaller, in order to allow the college to develop more gradually” (“Tharunka”, 4 November, 1969).

[23] Cf. “Tharunka”, 1 September, 1971. Creston was run by women of Opus Dei and was originally not an affiliated college of UNSW. Unlike Warrane’s, its layout was typical of university residences managed by people of Opus Dei in other countries.

[24] Joseph Martins was native of East Providence, Rhode Island. He studied and lived in Boston since 1957, and obtained a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and a Master of Arts and Ph.D. at Harvard University. For two years, he was Master at Trimount House, a residential hall promoted by Opus Dei members for students in Boston (cf. “Tharunka”, 4 November, 1969). On Trimount House, see John A. Gueguen, The Early Days of Opus Dei in Boston As Recalled by the First Generation (1945-1956), SetD 1 (2007), pp. 78-81.

[25] Cf. Governor, p. 14.

[26] Sir Roden Cutler had also attended the foundation ceremony in February, 1969, which gave official commencement to the construction of the college (“Tharunka”, 25 February, 1969).

[27] Cf. Governor, p. 14. There were approximately seventy colleges in Australia which accommodated one fifth of a total of 120,000 students enrolled at universities.

[28] More information on the foundation of these colleges is provided in “Tharunka”, 4 June, 1968; O’Farrel, UNSW, pp. 120, 164, 167. A brief history of New College and The Kensington Colleges may be gathered from the following websites: http://www.newcollege.unsw. edu.au/history.html; http://www.kensingtoncolleges.unsw.edu.au/about/our_history.html (6 November 2008).

[29] Governor, p. 14.

[30] Warrane College-Opus Dei.

[31] Committee of Enquiry, p. 11. This was cited from the Memorandum of E.D.A. in relation to the objectives of Warrane College, its affiliated institution.

[32] Cf. Donald Horne, The Lucky Country: Australia in the Sixties, Ringwood, Penguin Books, 1964, pp. 52-58; O’Farrel, UNSW, pp. 162, 167.

[33] Warrane College-Opus Dei.

[34] Tony Shannon, In defence of Warrane and Opus Dei, “Canberra Times”, June, 1974.

[35] This organisation was collected from various proposals made in 1971 and 1973 concerning the role of tutors at Warrane and approved by those running the college. The original tutorial system is still in place after minor modifications over years of experience.

[36] Josemaría Escríva, The Way, London, Scepter, 2001, n. 335. Cf. Id., Furrow, Sydney, Little Hills Press, 1987, n. 428; Hahn, Ordinary Work, p. 5.

[37] Warrane College-Opus Dei, p. 3.

[38] In 1973, the Kensington colleges were home to 423 students, 312 of whom passed all their subjects (73.8 per cent). New College hosted 185 students, 137 of whom passed all their subjects (74 per cent). 124 of the 152 residents at Warrane passed all their subjects (81.6 per cent). This data is gathered in Committee of Enquiry, pp. 14-15. The figures for International House and Shalom College are not provided.

[39] Cf. Shannon, In defence.

[40] Warrane College-Opus Dei, p. 3. The common facilities referred to by Joseph Martins were main common room, reception room, snack bar, library, chapel, music room, and six tutorial rooms.

[41] Cf. Outline proposals for the college in 1971, “Minutes”, ref. 1/71, p. 2.

[42] Those applying to live in Warrane are still surprised when finding that the doors of rooms have no locks. They quickly embrace this particularity when experiencing the home-like environment and realise that Warrane is not a hotel. This environment replicated the ambience of familiarity felt at the centres of Opus Dei (cf. Hahn, Ordinary Work, p. 5).

[43] “Tharunka”, 29 October, 1968.

[44] Shannon, In defence.

[45] Hughes, Disorganised Organisation?, p. 4.

[46] Cf. Shannon, In defence.The Inter-college Sports Shield engaged the affiliated colleges at the University of New South Wales in a number of sporting competitions such as rugby, football, basketball, hockey, tennis, swimming, cricket, squash, baseball and several others. The name of the college which accumulated the highest score at the end of the year was inscribed in a large wooden crest kept by the winner until the next year. The competition officially began in 1971, it has earned a lot of prestige and tradition, and is still a much appreciated trophy among the colleges.

[47] Interviews with David Bolton and Joseph Martins. Cf. also Outline proposals, p. 2.

[48] Escríva, Conversations, n. 19, and Id., ns. 56, 57, 119.

[49] Cf. Hughes, Disorganised Organisation?; cf. also footnote 2.

[50] Community service trips to overseas locations have involved dozens of Warrane residents since the 1980s to commit some of the holiday time to voluntary building and social work for disadvantaged communities mainly in the Pacific region and south-east Asia. The initiative has recently been adopted by other affiliated colleges at the University of New South Wales.

[51] Escríva, Conversations, n. 56.

[52] Interview with Joseph Martins. Cf. Escríva, Conversations, n. 29; Id., Christ is passing by, Manila, Sinag-Tala, 2001, n. 81.

[53] “Tharunka”, 29 October, 1968.

[54] Cf. Hughes, Disorganised Organisation?, p. 4.

[55] Shannon, In defence.

[56] These numbers were collected in May 1972 at a meeting of the college staff to discuss matters concerning admissions and recruitment (cf. Admissions, “Minutes”, ref. 8/72).

[57] O’Farrel, UNSW, p. 162.

[58] According to Keniston and Lerner, this radicalism was not widespread at American universities nor was it usually manifested with violence. It was rather a phenomenon linked to “protest-prone” and perfectly identifiable minorities within few campuses. According to Clarke, Egan and Lefkowitz, these minorities were largely made up of students with no religious beliefs. The 1970s, however, seemed a peaceful decade only in comparison to student unrest in the 1960s. In addition, it must be said that the Vietnam War attracted dissent and protest in the United States and the western world beyond the minority of naturally rebellious students (cf. Kenneth Keniston – Michael Lerner, Campus Characteristics and Campus Unrest, “Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science”, 395 [May, 1971], pp. 39-53, and particularly pp. 50-52; Helen Lefkowitz Horowitz, The 1960s and the Transformation of Campus Cultures, “History of Education Quarterly”, 26 [Spring, 1986], pp. 1-38; James W. Clarke – Joseph Egan, Social and Political Dimensions of Campus Protest Activity, “The Journal of Politics”, 34 [May, 1972], pp. 500-523). The situation in Australia with very few universities in the 1960s, seems to have been different because student activism started later and continued well into the 1970s (cf. The radicalisation of the campuses, 1967-1974, based on Mick Armstrong, One, Two, Three, What are we fighting for?, Melbourne, Socialist Alternative, 2001, www.anu. edu.au/polsci/marx/ interventions). Cf. also James Franklin, Corrupting the Youth: A History of Philosophy in Australia, Sydney, Macleay Press, 2003, pp. 289-295.

[59] Cf. William J. West, Opus Dei: Exploding a Myth, Sydney, Little Hills Press, 1987, p. 156; Walker, Church, College, pp. 451-453; O’Farrel, UNSW, p. 162. Cf. also references in footnote 61.

[60] Cf. Armstrong, The radicalisation; Walker, Church, College, p. 442.

[61] Cf. Armstrong, The radicalisation; Franklin, Corrupting the Youth, pp. 281-294, 309; O’Farrel, UNSW, pp. 162-163.

[62] Cf. Armstrong, The radicalisation.

[63] Detailed explanation of the ideas espoused by members of these groups and the relation between them is offered in Franklin, Corrupting the Youth, pp. 158-161; Walker, Church, College, pp. 439-442.

[64] O’Farrel, UNSW, p. 163. The foundation of a Jewish college was also turned into a controversial matter by the editors of “Tharunka”, who claimed that the mode of management of the residence would oppose the liberal and orthodox Jewish communities in Sydney (“Tharunka”, 4 June, 1968).

[65] Escríva, The Way, n. 121.

[66] Walker, Church, College, p. 452. Ian Walker’s doctoral thesis spends an entire chapter on Warrane College. His approach is sensible and his description is detailed and useful, but has important weaknesses. Firstly, he fails to understand the spiritual nature of Opus Dei and therefore its mission in Warrane, mainly because much of his analysis rests upon the views of Mark Lyons and Michael Walsh, as if they were experts on Catholicism and Opus Dei (refer specially to Walker, Church, College, pp. 428-431). He seems to overlook that both authors contributed to the international and Australian campaign against Opus Dei. Secondly, although Walker recounts the story of the conflict considering both sides by citing letters and interviewing university authorities, not a single oral testimony from the staff or residents of Warrane is included in his analysis. Considering that most of the protagonists are still alive and in Australia, it is not a minor issue that none of them was interviewed. His thesis is otherwise informative and insightful.

[67] Cf. O’Farrel, UNSW, p. 163. These views are expressed in a piece published in “Tharunka” as soon as the lease between Opus Dei and the university was signed in 1967 (“Tharunka”, 11 April, 1967). It is likely, however, that such views on Opus Dei were not shared by everyone, not even most, at the Newman Society, and that the editors of “Tharunka” used the opinion of Catholic critics to hide behind (this is, in fact, clarified in a letter to the editors of “Tharunka”, published on 1 July, 1966). Ian Walker refers to a Newman Society dinner in June 1966 when guest speakers questioned the suitability of members of Opus Dei for the administration of the Catholic college at Kensington. A history student, described as a “prominent member of the Newman Society”, wrote several articles against Opus Dei from 1966 to 1971. Cf. Walker, Church, College, pp. 437-440. On the participation of members of Opus Dei in the Second Vatican Council see Vásquez de Prada, El Fundador, pp. 473-496.

[68] O’Farrel, UNSW, p. 162. Among several others, the Italian journalist, Vittorio Messori, dispelled the black legend fabricated about the aims of Opus Dei. Cf. Vittorio Messori, Opus Dei. Un’indagine, Milano, Mondadori, 1994. Particularly relevant are pp. 21-48 and 253-281; Federico M. R$()$3! – Javier S$:, Fuentes para la Historia del Opus Dei, Barcelona, Ariel, 2002, pp. 114-116; Vásquez de Prada, El Fundador, pp. 520-533.

[69] Cf. “Tharunka”, 7 June, 1966; 1 July, 1966. These are among the several references made to the episodes. Joseph Martins explained in an interview that after the Paulian fathers had resolved not to set up an affiliated college at Fribourg in 1964, “Opus Dei was invited to help out by establishing a college. The Association considered the position and proposed a private non-affiliated men’s residence. This proposal was accepted by the relevant authorities but met with some promise of opposition. After further discussion with the Fribourg authorities the proposal was abandoned. In Oxford, a few years earlier, Opus Dei submitted proposals for a college (which had been approved by the Colonial Office, the British Council and the Commonwealth Relations Office). In the 1960s Oxford’s Delegacy of Lodgings declined the proposals as not conforming with Oxford traditions. It should be remembered that at Oxford the colleges are much more integrated with the University as teaching colleges. A residential college would be something quite different. Opus Dei has been entrusted with the spiritual care of a residence at Oxford called Grandpont House” (Warrane College-Opus Dei).

[70] Members of these groups, referenced in n. 62, assisted the edition of this newspaper in the early 1970s (Cf. Franklin, Corrupting the Youth, p. 175). According to the Master of the college “Tharunka has a mixed standing among students, many of whom hold it in low regard and consider its contents in many cases morally debasing and unworthy of a university publication. On at least one occasion the regular weekly publication of Tharunka was suspended and another publication appeared with a different name containing material so liable to prosecution that no identifiable students would take responsibility for its publication” (Joseph Martins, Information of the events of the last few days related to Warrane College, Kensington, 13 August, 1971, p. 2).

[71] West, Opus Dei: Exploding, p. 157.

[72] Articles in “Tharunka” claim that the presence of Opus Dei on campus has made the work of the university chaplain increasingly difficult and that prominent members of the Newman Society as well as other “respectable” Catholics do also oppose Opus Dei (cf. also footnotes 8, 69, and 70).

[73] Cf. Student sex manual theft alleged, “The Australian”, 5 August, 1971; Letters, “The Australian”, 6 August, 1971; Brian McKinlay, Uproar over sex book follows pattern, “Sunday Review”, 20 August, 1971.

[74] New College was also the object of attacks from radicals on campus, and in 1975 a group of dissidents within the college attempted to start a campaign against the college management with the help of “Tharunka”. According to David Bolton, the editors declined for “they had already got their fingers burnt with Warrane” (Interview with David Bolton; cf. Walker, Church, College, p. 442; O’Farrel, UNSW, p. 164). Stuart Babbage of New College sent a submission to the committee suggesting that the university has “an inescapable responsibility to maintain inviolate the freedom and independence of the colleges and to protect them from partisan regimentation and repression” (cited in Walker, Church, College, p. 448).

[75] Students besiege uni college, SMH, 10 August, 1971. The Vice-Chancellor of the time, Rupert Myers, said he was called on to address the crowd of angry students at the Roundhouse, and his “knees were knocking; it was a terrifying experience” (Interview included in Walker, Church, College, p. 421).

[76] Warrane College Diary, 8 August 1971, AGP (General Archive of the Prelature), serie M-2.2, D-23-3.

[77] Police at Uni. Clash, “Courier Mail”, 10 August, 1971. A member of the staff registered the events of that day in the college diary.

[78] Warrane College Diary, 9 August, 1971, AGP, serie M-2.2, D-23-3. News of the incidents were reported in all major newspapers in Australia: College stormed in students’ riot, “Daily Telegraph” (Sydney), 10 August, 1971; Student riot under review, “Daily Telegraph”, 11 August, 1971; “Sunday Review” (Melbourne), 20 August, 1971; Police rush to stop Uni. Brawl, “Sun” (Melbourne), 10 August, 1971; Letters, “The Australian”, 6 August, 1971; The “Spanish Mafia” comes under attack, “The Australian”, 10 August, 1971; “Sunday Australian”, 12 August, 1971; Police at Uni. Clash, “Courier Mail” (Brisbane), 10 August, 1971; Students besiege Uni college, SMH (Sydney), 10 August and 16 October, 1971.

[79] Cf. Letters, SMH, 16 August, 1971; Letter from Joseph Martins to “The Australian”, 5 August, 1971. In another letter sent by the Master to the same newspaper, on 11 August, 1971, it is clarified that “although several students were dismissed from Warrane College this year, none left for disagreeing with Opus Dei philosophy, but because their behaviour was not in keeping with the standard expected of them”.

[80] Nothing left to read, “The Sunday Australian”, 15 August 1971.

[81] Cf. Warrane College Diary, 10 August, 1971, AGP, serie M-2.2, D-23-3; Interview with David Bolton. Bolton was the speaker at this meeting.

[82] “Kundu: A Publication of the U.N.S.W. Democratic Club”, 10 August, 1971, p. 2.

[83] This letter was published in “Tharunka”, 26 October, 1971.

[84] Cf. “Tharunka”, 4 May, 1972; O’Farrel, UNSW, p. 163; Row at Uni. Over rules, “Daily Telegraph”, 5 June, 1972; Uni. Students reinstated, “Daily Telegraph”, 6 June, 1972; Uni rule relaxed, “Daily Telegraph”, 8 August, 1972; Students criticise expulsions, SMH, 5 June, 1972; letter from the Australian Broadcasting Commission to Josep Martins, 7 July, 1972, and Statement given by the college Master to Channel Ten by telephone, 21 April, 1972.

[85] This was part of a notice posted on the official College notice board on 5 June, 1971, two days after the incident and once the students had been reinstated.

[86] “Tharunka”, 12 June, 1974; West, Opus Dei: Exploding, p. 156.

[87] “Tharunka”, 12 June, 1974.

[88] “Tharunka”, 12 June, 1974.

[89] Committee of Enquiry, p. 1. David Bolton recalls that the siege of 1971 had been a more serious affair (Interview with David Bolton). For another enquiry into Opus Dei, conducted by the Italian Parliament in 1986, see West, Opus Dei: Exploding, p. 158; Messori, Opus Dei. Un’indagine, pp. 37-44.

[90] “Tharunka”, 3 June, 1974.

[91] “Tharunka”, 3 June, 1974.

[92] Letters, SMH, 14 June, 1974.

[93] Committee of Enquiry, pp. 1-2. A detailed analysis of the committee and its conclusions in Walker, Church, College, pp. 445-450.

[94] Committee of Enquiry, pp. 7, 20-21. The verdict becomes all the more remarkable considering the arguable observations of Patrick O’Farrell: “at the time, within the university hierarchy, attitudes towards religion were hardly favourable […] the University of New South Wales and religion did not mix” (O’Farrel, UNSW, pp. 166-167).

[95] Opus Dei college is not subversive, says council, “The Australian”, 12 November, 1974; Sex adjudged reason for college ban on women, SMH, 12 November, 1974.

[96] O’Farrel, UNSW, p. 163.

[97] Interviews with Joseph Martins and David Bolton. The seed of the spirit of Opus Dei has been spread all around—once remarked the Founder—because the Work of God has been hit very hard by all sorts of obstacles (cf. Vásquez de Prada, El Fundador, pp. 352-353).

[98]Comprender que no nos comprendan” (cited in Vásquez de Prada, El Fundador, p. 520). The staff at Warrane faithfully continued to pursue the goals for the college in spite of the difficult circumstances, and were not shaken by the attacks. A clear manifestation of this attitude is revealed in a register of matters discussed in 1974 by the administration of the college, in which the “Tharunka” campaign appears as a modest entry among many items for discussion. “Callar, rezar, trabajar y sonreír” (remain silent, pray, work and smile), was the advice given by Saint Josemaría in the face of accusations and campaigns against Opus Dei (cited in Vásquez de Prada, El Fundador, p. 533). “Caritas mea cum omnibus vobis in Christo Iesu!”, were the affectionate words of encouragement from the Founder to those suffering persecution in Spain and The Netherlands in the 1960s (cf. Vásquez de Prada, El Fundador, pp. 520, 530; Hahn, Ordinary Work, p. 5).

[99] Note from the Regional Commission of Opus Dei in Australia to the Residence (1974). “¡Cuánta compañía os hago, desde aquí!”, wrote the Founder to the members of Opus Dei in Australia (cf. Vásquez de Prada, El Fundador, p. 325).

[100] West, Opus Dei: Exploding, p. 159.

[101] These were the words employed in 2005 by John R. Johnson, former member of the State Parliament of New South Wales, at a dinner with the Cardinal Archbishop of Sydney in Warrane College.