Tom Keneally Centre

The SMSA is proud to be the home of the Tom Keneally Centre.

Come and visit; it’s a perfect place to do some research or just enjoy some peace and quiet.

Everyone Welcome!

Opening Hours

Tuesdays, Thursdays & Fridays
from 10:30am – 2:30pm.

Tom Keneally Centre at Sydney Mechanics' School of Arts

Tom Keneally wearing a hat in the Tom Keneally Centre

Thomas Keneally - About the man

Booker Prize winner Thomas Keneally is one of Australia's best known and most respected authors.
Tom Keneally Centre

About the Tom Keneally Centre

The Tom Keneally Centre holds the research collection of world-renowned author Thomas Keneally, in addition to copies of his own works and some items from his private collection of photographs and memorabilia.
Frank Moorhouse (left) with Tom Keneally in the Tom Keneally Centre

Tom Keneally Centre - A Cultural Hub

A cultural hub, the Tom Keneally Centre is devoted to Australian literature and history, reflecting the synergy between the SMSA and Tom Keneally's approach to writing and to life; open access to knowledge, continued learning and social change.
Borrow from the Tom Keneally Centre

Borrow books from the Tom Keneally Centre

SMSA is pleased to announce that members can now borrow books from the Tom Keneally Centre collection, in addition to the main SMSA Library.

Events in the Tom Keneally Centre

Tom Keneally Centre, books and Tom Keneally

Tom Keneally Centre — Everyone Welcome

Visit the Tom Keneally Centre — Everyone Welcome. Discover the living legacy of award-winning author Thomas Keneally, described by sydney(magazine) as one of the top 20 most peaceful places in Sydney.

Walter Mason — Charles Dickens & The Mystery of Edwin Drood

Walter Mason presents a fascinating talk on Charles Dickens & his final novel, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, which remained unfinished at Dicken's death.

Tom Keneally News

27 Aug 2016 — Celebrating the Tom Keneally Centre’s 5th Anniversary

In August 2011, the Tom Keneally Centre was opened by Professor The Honourable Dame Marie Bashir AD CVO, who was then the Governor of New South Wales. Five years on, the TKC (as we lovingly call it) has become a cultural hub, open for EVERYONE to visit.

It is very much a living library! Visitors are welcome to browse, read, use the members’ computer, or just ‘chill out’. SMSA members can also borrow from the collection.

Anniversary Events

The Sydney Mechanics’ School of Arts is rightly proud to be the home of the TKC, and to celebrate its the Tom Keneally Centre’s 5th Anniversary several fantastic events were held on Wednesday 17th August:

  • Guided Tours of the TKC where participants were able to get a ‘behind the scenes’ view of the Tom Keneally Centre hosted by Tom Keneally and his daughter, Meg Keneally.
  • A free public talk with Tom and Meg Keneally who spoke about the TKC, their recent collaborations and solo-projects and what it’s like to have two Keneallys in the writing business.

About the Tom Keneally Centre

All the books on Tom Keneally Centre shelves have been owned and read by Booker Prize-winner Thomas Keneally, and they form his living legacy to Australia. Tom has taken on the formidable — but highly valuable — task of making notes on the significance of each book and why it has its place on the shelves. Look for the red dots to read the books he has already notated; they are now in one section to make them easier to find.

Since its opening, we have been privileged to host some of the best and most well-known Aussie fiction and non-fiction writers in the Tom Keneally Centre, including Frank Moorhouse, Peter Grosse, Helen O’Neill, Tara Moss and more. Apart from talks and readings, we have had ‘live blogging’ events, poetry readings, writing workshops and of course, Writing Master Classes taught by Tom Keneally himself. What’s more, Tom also has an office in the TKC that he uses on a regular basis — and he’s usually happy to chat to those who visit.

Everyone is welcome to visit.

We invite you to visit the Tom Keneally Centre on one of its Open Days and experience it for yourself.

We also offer tours of the TKC and SMSA to interested community groups. Please email for further information.

Tuesdays, Thursdays & Fridays
from 10:30am to 2:30pm.

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6 Jul 2016 — Sydney Metro Upgrade — Planning your visit to the SMSA

Plan your visit to the SMSA

We have compiled information from the Tomorrow’s Sydney and Travel Choices websites to help you plan your visit to the SMSA and Tom Keneally Centre with minimum disruptions. Read on for our tips.

Major Transport Changes

The NSW Government is transforming Sydney through multiple Major Projects over the next 18 months, including the construction of a new Light Rail.

There will be an impact on travel into and in Sydney with Public Transport changes and road closures in place on sections of George Street. Construction will continue along George Street for most of 2016.

More Information:
Tomorrow’s Sydney Travel Choices

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6 Jan 2016 — Membership Renewals: Grace Period until 31 Jan.

Members, renew before the end of our Membership Grace Period on 31st January to retain uninterrupted borrowing and membership privileges.


As previously advised, all annual memberships expired on 31st December 2015.

If you have not yet renewed, please take advantage of our Membership Grace Period and renew before 31 January 2016. The Grace Period allows people with expired memberships extra time to renew without gaps in their borrowing and membership privileges.

Our rates remain the same and there are loads of membership benefits:

Download the Membership Form*

WEA Members: Download the SMSA Library Services for WEA Form

Great Value!

$15 – Ordinary membership
$10 – Concession membership
$10 – Readers (students only – no voting rights)


11 Dec 2015 — Christmas Opening Hours for 2015

SMSA will be closing
over the Christmas break
as shown below.

We wish you a very Merry Christmas
and a Prosperous
and Happy New Year.
See you in 2016!

SMSA Board and Staff



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27 Nov 2015 — Gift Certificates now available!

Is it too early to think about Christmas? We don’t think so!

Present your friends and family Membership Gift Certificates and share your love of SMSA.

Ask our Librarians
about Gift Certificates

The joy of giving

With an SMSA Gift Certificate, you can now give the gift of 1000s of books – whether they are books, ebooks, magazines, emagazines, or audiobooks! PLUS your friends or family will also be able to attend all of our fantastic events held here at the SMSA. They’ll also have all the benefits of membership of a historic organisation that’s been part of Sydney’s cultural landscape for over 180 years!

For just $15 they can have all this – and LOVE you forever.

Remember young, old, mums, dads, work mates, neighbours— anyone (over the age of 18) can join.