articles/lectures, documents, Forgotten Australians, Stolen Generations

Welfare refutes slander against Good Shepherd Home

by Oliver Cosgrove (guest author) on 12 April, 2011

How did abuse happen in institutions without anyone knowing at the time? In 1944, a Mrs Grundy in Perth knew. Her letters of complaint against child slave labour at the Convent of the Good Shepherd were published by the Catholic newspaper The Record, on Wednesday, 20 September 1944.  In the reply, the editor published the response of Welfare. Oliver Cosgrove kindly made available to the National Museum this excerpt from The Record, headlined Child Welfare Department Refute Malicious Slander Against Home of the Good Shepherd:

Mrs Grundy, Perth:

The next letter is from Mrs Grundy, Perth. She writes: Dear Sir – Will you please answer the following question?

Q: Why are such corrupt and diabolical institutions as the (so called) Convent of the Good Shepherd, where the inmates are mainly slaves, and where the industrial laws of the country are flouted, exempt from Government inspection?

A: In view of the startling and damaging nature of your revelations, your letter was shown to an official of the Child Welfare Department, so that the matter could be investigated and the abuse corrected if necessary. The following reply was received:

“All industrial homes, including the Home of the Good Shepherd Convent must be approved by the Governor through his representative, before they are allowed to function and all are subject to inspection by Government officials at any time. So far as the Home of the Good Shepherd is concerned, a full inspection covering buildings, living and working conditions, food and books of admission and discharges is made every three months by officers of the Child Welfare Department, who also interview the children and make individual reports upon them to the Secretary of the Department.

“The Child Welfare Department regulations require the institution to provide industrial training, such as needlework, washing, ironing, housework, cooking, gardening, and where cows are kept, dairying. This is necessary for the rehabilitation of the children. The same regulations control the hours of work.”

The next question from Mrs Grundy is this:

Q: The prisoners in our common gaols get a little remuneration for their labour, but in your Good Shepherd reformatory all they receive is plenty of hard work, hard living and blows. No wonder the poor unfortunate girl delinquents prefer the State prison to the sheltering care of your Convents.

A: Once again I quote the letter of the Child Welfare Department official;

“The committal of children to the Home of the Good Shepherd is not made as a punitive measure, but as a constructive one, and every effort is made to train their minds as well as their hands.

“Regular remuneration is not given because the Home is run for the comfort and care, not only of those who work under supervision, but also for those who for various reasons cannot work, some having to be nursed.

“State prisons are a Government responsibility, the overhead cost of running them being met by the taxpayers.

“As for girls preferring State prisons to the Home of the Good Shepherd, this may be said by an incorrigible girl out of bravado, but is far from the truth.

“The conditions of living at the Home of the Good Shepherd are such that many children, both ex-wards of the State and private girls, return there of their own free will, rather than remain in homes or in positions. Government regulations allow that corporal punishment may be administered for offences against morality, gross impertinence, or for persistent disobedience, but not for trivial breaches of discipline or dullness in learning. However, corporal punishment is not resorted to in the Home of the Good Shepherd.”

17 thoughts on “Welfare refutes slander against Good Shepherd Home”

  1. Who was listening way back in 1944? revealing for sure Rachael, but I am aghast! much could have been rectified if some-one had “heard” the anguished voice of 1944……….. lol another pee in our pod………..

  2. I was a slave at the Good Shepherd Convent, Leederville at the time President Kennedy was assasinated and it was NOT a holiday villa. I wasn’t a catholic, yet I was forced to attend mass at 6am each morning. Punished many times for not bowing my head whilst praying. My Nan was Native American and taught me to look up when praying to Creator. She never told me about some evil being living underground waiting to burn me for eternity. Why would I want to bow my head? To pray to him? I was constantly locked in a long dark passage (no light) for hours on end with no toilet facility. This passage was devoid of anything except me. We suffered very long hours of work in a laundry that provided for the major hotels and private boys colleges. The heat in the mangle room was unbearable but we had to endure or be punished. I did meet some very good friends during my stay there but we were never allowed to touch another girl in case we turned into lesbians. Welfare thought it was ok though, to take us to a man who would give us an internal examination every 3 months. My welfare officer said he was a Dr but there was no name out front of his house and no nurse either. I can’t remember the amount of bruises I had from constantly being poked by the nuns. We weren’t even allowed to keep our own sanitary pads (definately no tampons) and had to ask a nun whenever we needed them. Me and a friend managed to run away once but we were taken back by police after a week on the run. We were NOT bad girls and most of us left that place with great resentment for the catholic church, and the child welfare dept. I don’t ever recall my welfare officer asking how I was doing, coping, feeling or anything like that. I don’t think we were meant to have feelings. It was definately a rough hard time but I survived and I still don’t bow my head when I speak with my Creator. Anyone reading this who was there same time as me, I’d love to catch up.

  3. Sue I appreciate your sensitive feelings on Religion especially on the Catholic Church. Before the National apology 84% of FAs had no interest on any level with main stream Christian religions. Since the apology the figure has deteriorated to 96%

  4. WE do need a Royal Commission especially when we read that Welfare Dept. in each state answers questions on complaints with their records showing investigations were made by the Departments and regular inspections were made and children were interviewed . Of the 3000 FAs interviewed only 2 have said that they were ever spoken to but never received any answers or follow ups to complaints that the children had made .The 58000 boxes of Records of FAs found last year stashed away in a warehouse in Sydney are been sorted as we speak . The records should be taken out of Welfare hands and handed over to the Governor General of Australia for her to lock away until they are handed over to a Royal Commission committee

  5. Hi; Lawrie,

    Punch on the net Queenslands Secret Shame, government destroyed records. My question: Why did they want to get rid of evidence what have they got to hide and were they legally allowed to?

  6. Hi; Lawrie,

    Regarding “Queenslands Secret Shame” which is on the net.

    It would be intrestering to know the names of politicions that were in the Goss cabnet that orthorised the destroying of welfare records as mentioned in Queenslands Secret Shame.
    Was Governor General Quinten Bryce in Goss cabnet, and if so she must of known about many abuses that took place with Forgotten Australians not just one case that was mentioned in Queenslands Secret Shame.

  7. Christine Waite Im on the Road at the moment .I will get back to you .I attended a public hearing on the QLD shredgate about 2-3 yrs .ag0 , Lt was held at NSW Parl. house public meeting room .Catcha soon ;

  8. This response from child welfare was similar to one I received from the catholic church in response to a letter I wrote to them in 2006 about past practices of the convent of the good shepherd in Sandy Bay Hobart. Almost a proforma that has been used for the past 60 years. Interesting.

  9. Our G.G Quinton Bryce was a Gov Servant in the Goss and other Gov “s. She was instrumental in working for rights for children and other groups . I can rember a letter she sent to a FA who was seeking help and the letter sugested that he contact Wings for help and assistance in the area he required. . The thing that struck me was that the G.G was aware annd showed empathy for his plight and sadly her hands were tired as the matter was been heard in court .The fact that she chose a non Gov and non church group but a full volanteer group run by FAs by the seat of their pants shows that she was up there with whats happening or not for FAs The fact thst there is now other groups doing the same makes FAs as a whole capable of achieving great things and nobody better than us can make things happen for other FAs..Your knowledge , communication skills and determintation gives other FAs hope that they can also join in .We ,like you will be mosqitoes biting at the ankles of society untill we get justice and healing for all .

  10. Hi: Lawrie Higgens,

    Forgotten Australians dumped into adult mental asylums as a form of punishment where they were given multipal electric shock treatment or threatened by staff to be given electric shock treatment. State Ward childrens guardians were the State, therefore the government must of aproved electric shock treatment on those children.

    ECT consists of electricity being passed through the brain with force of from 70 to 400 volts and 200 to 1.600 milliamperes used in ECT is quite powerful. The power applied in ECT is typically as great as that found in the wall sockets in your home, it could kill the patient if the current were not limited to the head.
    The electricity is so powerful that it could burn the skin on the head where the electrodes are placed. Hence they used electrose jelly to prevent skin burns from the electricity, the electricity going through the brain causes SEIZURES. To prevent muscle paralyzing, a drug is administered immediately before treatment.

    Psychiatrists claim unhappiness or so called depression is sometimes caused by unkown bilogical abormalities in the brain. They say by some unknown mode of action ECT cures these unknown abormalities, but there is no good evidence for these claims, other than mental disorientation and memory loss. ECT does not help eliminate the unhappy feeling called depression.

    Forgotten Australians in orphanages/institutions where Government regulations allowed corporal punishment may be administed for offences against morality, gross impertinence, or for persistent disobedience, but not for breaches or disilpine or dullness of learning.
    Obeying authority with fear and trembelling where your mind would freeze. All us kids did was obey their every word, the cane in the nuns hands most times until the day came when some had a gut full of obeying their extreeme orders and sick of working like a slave, resulting children standing up to them. For that, they were punished for disobedience to authority.
    Children that stood up to the nuns/carers and the runnways were categorized as being disobedient or naughty. The amonut of times one ran away or stood up to their abnormal authority and inprisonment enviourmnent and being in a systems of abuse backed by government harsh regulations. Those girls were sent to adult mental asylums for treatment for rebellion and bad behavour.
    The treatment for adolesecent rebellion was electric shock treatment as mentioned above.

    Sadly in the 50/60 erra, children were seen & not heard, this mentality was in orphanages/institutions schools and society. My school teacher used to bang childrens heads together and humalate us, I believe they hated children that belong to the state as we were treated different to other children.
    We were looked down upon in society most times in those days and treated as rubbish persons.

  11. HI, Christine, Im on another computer as I left my USB stick 700 klm’s away .The source of material people have , like .you , does not get much attention from our present providers . The state and church funded groups who suppose to fight for those who suffer in the way you have mention ,do not and cannot point the FINGER at the guilty parties. The AFA booklet does this also . If AFA was to point the ginger the booklet would not have been printed. The groups are a servant to those providig the funding.The second addition of the booklet was pulled and so it should have , It was a very much watered down version of the first edition Who ever was involved should –take a walk — and never be allowed to be involved with FAs issues again .To those who are in the know —PLEASE EXPLAIN .—.Come on Forgotten Australians—Come on —.

  12. Hi: Lawrie,

    In response to your letter dated 7/5/11, Im using another computer.

    Punch on the net: Canada Universities buys Duplissis Orphans, then click the first story babies in Canada.
    Listen to Axel Cooley- Tele. Gracia, Corresponden.
    You will see footage of the nuns and priests who worked in conjuction with the CIA government in disposing over 50 thousand orphan bodies and sold them on the black market for 3 to 10 thousand dollars each.
    No wonder a law was passed code 176 to protect churches from any criminal events they did to orphans. This happened in the 50s.

    I wonder if the same thing happened here in Australia with Forgotten Australians, I read some where thousands died or were missing. Perhaps thats why the CEOs silence- no pandorias box opening.
    Corruption and criminal genocide murder of children at the highest level took place in Canada.

    Im sure Adele, CEOs and Government know all about it. They are employed to collect data on F.As, and are not employed to reveal such information about crimes committed on children, neither delivering evidence of what took place to Forgotten Australians which is very sad.

  13. Hi; Lawrie,

    Punch on the net……..
    Universities buy Duplessis Orphan Babies.
    Click Banished babies Canada and listen to Alex Cooley Tele. Gracia Corresponded.

    I didnt add the word babies just after orphan on last letter.

  14. The AFA book regarding the FA’s second edition has not been pulled, it is available to anyone and the AFA is not beholding to anyone.

    All members of the AFA are Forgotten Australians and they are volunteers amazing how some can sit back and judge yet won’t put their hand up to do the things these volunteers do.

    Everytime an FA volunteers to do something for FA’s you can bet there is someone ready to throw stones without researching anything, they accuse people before they get any facts at all.

    On the day of the Victorian Apology I handed many of these booklets and would suggest read it entirely before we point fingers.

    Anyone wishing a copy of the second edition can either get in touch with the AFA or if they like they can send an email to and request a copy.

  15. Some very good reading for those who thing our Governor General doesn’t have any skeletons in the closet, I suggest you read all, dont just browse and look for the juicy bits otherwise you may get the story wrong.
    Quentin Bryce
    Kevin Rudd
    Mr. Beatie
    Mr. Swan
    Mr Goss

    It’s like a who’s who when it came to shredding evidence.

    And we all though Bjelke Peterson was the only corrupt minister from Queensland.

    They were all complicit in covering up.

    There are plenty of websites that have documented this case and still today in the federal Parliament it has raised it’s head and also did so prior to Rudd becoming PM.

    Who is corrupt.

  16. Thanks Joy for your comments I was given the AFA booklet at the unveiling of the Vic memorial I must admit I only read about 4 or 5 pages when I was ask to give it back . I was not impress with what I read but it may have improved. I will see if I can get it up on google I was not impress with the first issue even though i had placed 450 books in peoples hands and commented further . When I realized I was giving out information that was not covered in the book I lost my enthusiasm as you can see information given on this sight have not been written in the AFA book . As for our G.G Quintin Bryce been involved by association does that make me also a person of possible ill repute been an ex member of
    the police force and also my family members sharing many decades in the gaol system

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