3 thoughts on “Photos of life in a children’s home”

  1. Dear Graham,

    I first went to St. Michael’s in 1955 when I was four years of age. Pining for my mother (having cataract removed), I ran away about 4.30pm and managed to get as far as North Parramatta before being returned to St. Michaels by the police.

    I was returned several years later when Mum had the cataract removed from her other eye. During this second stay, I remember one Saturday night the nuns obtained a film to show to the boys. Unfortunately for us boys, the sisters hired “A Night to Remember”, a fairly graphic recounting of the sinking of RMS Titanic.

    From your time at St. Michael’s (1958 – 1962), I thought it possible that we had been there at the same time. It’s wonderful to hear of someone else who was at St. Michael’s.

    Hoping life has been kind to you and yours, I am

    Yours sincerely,
    Paul Collins.

  2. Hi Paul, since I put my story on this Site there has been you, Kevin Gaunt and Joseph Bognar, It’s good to see that our message is getting out there. I say there would have been hundreds of kids who were affected especially from St Vincent’s Boys’ Home Westmead where I, Kevin and Joseph were after our stay at St Michaels. It’s good to hear from you. You can contact me on my email adress or I will let the Museum know. Cheers buddy and take care, Graham.

  3. Was at St Michael’s from 1962 – 1965 after a short stay at Sister of Mercy Waitara with my older brother Paul. Another older brother (John) was there for a short time before moving on to St Vincents.

    Sister Marie Therese was kind. Sister Mary D’Lourd was stern. The horse/s in the paddock were mean!. The swimming pool was always empty except when it rained. I used to take the nuns boots to the bootmaker up the road for running repairs (via the paddock).

    Was almost adopted out (with Paul), but mum managed to hold on to us. I thought my father died in a war. Turns out he was the reason we were in the orphanage (violent, drunken sod apparently).

    I have one photo somewhere at home of me and Sister Marie Therese patting a dog. I don’t remember the dog.

    Here’s a poem I wrote about some memories:

    St Michaels

    Thrown to the wolves;
    they were dressed in black and white habits,
    the orphanage without a home
    the dorms without soul.

    Best of all was when
    they sliced our left thumb with a razor blade
    the blood test of no reason;
    we all got a shilling.

    And the next day would
    bring the annual fete de complete,
    the shilling spent on floss
    and dental investments.

    St Michael’s Boys Home,
    up the Windsor Road,
    Baulkham Hills.
    The site is now a private hospital.

    I remember the horses
    because they used to kick and bite
    I remember the shoemaker,
    just a walk through the paddock.

    I used to take the nuns’ shoes (to be mended)
    wrapped in brown paper
    hiding their holy smells,
    their blessed fungus dust.

    There was a swimming pool but it was always empty
    or loaded with stinky rain water.
    Somehow I learned to swim
    and it’s saved me from drowning ever since.

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