Child Migrants, Forgotten Australians, memories, photos

Built by the boys

by Oliver Cosgrove (guest author) on 7 February, 2011

This photograph kindly forwarded to the National Museum by Oliver Cosgrove shows the interior of the chapel at the former Clontarf Boys Town, now Clontarf Aboriginal College.

Interior of a church empty but for one man

The interior bricks were rendered, the exterior stuccoed, and the roof timbers constructed from jarrah and karri. The parquetry floor was made from she-oak and jarrah, all securely laid in bitumen on a concrete base. The chapel was consecrated in 1941 by the Archbishop of Perth. The chapel was built in one year by the child residents at Clontarf.

5 thoughts on “Built by the boys”

  1. Ironic that the children that were being physically, mentally and sexually abused built a place or worship!!!! And they say there is a God!!!!

  2. My Father was one of the first 12 boys at Clontarf and then Bindoon. He knew br Keeney well. My Father was a dark skinned (so called) orphan. His father was still alive. My Father would have built this structure and others like it. I cannot begin to tell you the horrible things my Father was subjected to. He has been dead for nearly 20 years. His pain has gone. Mine and my sisters gets worse as we get older. I understand the anger Sylvia. I find it ironic, however, that my Father never stopped believing in God and it was so important for him to teach his girls about Jesus. Don’t blame God for man’s inhumanity to man. Why should men get off scott free? Distgusting pig men hiding behind religion did that to those boys (the ripple effect still going today onto further generations) , not God. But I understand why those dreadful acts turn people off religion. There is a huge chasim between God and man’s religion. It is that belief in God that my Father instilled in me that gives me a hope that I shall see him again and nothing will take him away from me (Revelation 21:3, & 4). All the best Sylvia

  3. Forgiving Hearts (2840-2841)

    Christ’s mercy cannot penetrate our hearts if we have not forgiven those who sinned against us. Love is indivisible. We cannot love God (whom we cannot see) and not love others (whom we do see). By refusing to forgive others, our hearts become hardened to God’s mercy. However, confessing our sins opens us to God’s grace.

    From the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Simplified

  4. i was born in ireland off loving catholic parents,thank god.
    we moved to the uk when i was 5years old not far from nottingham
    i live only just over an hour from fairbridge & bindoon.
    the films and storeys i’ve seen and read ,regarding these places
    have made me sick to the stomach.
    i just can not take in ,that human god worshipping people allowed
    this too happen.
    i feel for them all, please let them not suffer that pain any more.
    please god make there life and world a far far better place now.

  5. It is often a dangerous thing to try to encapsulate a whole historic event with one sentence. If it is true it often sounds trite. But I have come across such a sentence that I think summarizes the Christian Brothers’ orphanage scheme in Western Australia:

    “The work for them, and the glory for us.”‘

    Henry Handel Richardson, The fortunes of Richard Mahoney, Vol 3; ‘Ultima Thule, W.W. Norton and Co.,’New York,’1929,p160

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