Forgotten Australians, memories, photography

Lost people #1

by Cath on 28 June, 2010

There are plenty of photos and narratives of children’s homes on the web. And often one post sparks many other connections – memories, but also appeals to help find a lost friend or relation.

St John's Orphanage, Goulburn
St John’s Orphanage, Goulburn. Photograph posted to ABC Pool by Rossco.

There were two orphanages in Goulburn – St Joseph’s Girls’ Home (1906) and St John’s Boys’ Orphanage (1912). Rossco called this image St Joseph’s, but a commenter on the Pool site is sure that it’s St John’s.

In trying to verify, I came upon another photograph of the same building, taken and posted by Danman. The introduction to his photo is followed by a long string of comments, some of which are from people with direct experience of the place, or whose family recall being there. In the 54 comments, there are some amazing threads.

Curiously, the confusion about whether this is St Joseph’s for girls or St John’s for boys recurs there. Danman doesn’t name the orphanage, but says that his mother attended for a time. A commenter claims that that can’t be true, since it is the boys’ orphanage. Maybe it is St John’s for boys, but for some reason she went there anyway. We know from Warren Porter that an institution might take in a child of the opposite sex.

Forgotten Australians, memories

Cold grey orphanage in Goulburn

by Fran Yule (guest author) on 20 January, 2010

In 1947, Fran, aged three and her sister, aged five, were taken to St Joseph’s Orphanage, Goulburn.

It was a cold grey building run by cold grey nuns who mercilessly controlled the children in their care. When a child cried, or laughed out of turn, or stumbled over their prayers, or wet their bed, they were punished. Children in the orphanage were not allowed to be children. There was no compassion, no love, no nurturing. The rage I feel when I recall my time there is also cold and grey. How could human beings treat innocent children as if they were criminals? These women were “brides of Christ” dedicated to serving Him through good charitable works?!! I remember one particular nun, Sister M, who looked after the under-5 children. She was cruel. There will never be another way of describing her. It was as if she hated children. She hated their neediness. I hope she went to hell. I hope Christ turned His face from her.