Memories of Abbotsford Convent on an Ebay discussion forum

On an Ebay discussion forum, of all places, are to be found a series of uniformly adverse recollections by former residents of the Abbotsford Convent, and some other Catholic institutions. One woman’s story, pieced together by me from multiple posts, with a little editing, is:

‘It was indeed the Convent of the Good Shepherd, the Sacred Heart Class was where we kids worked our butts off to feed the nuns and the orphans (the orphans I don’t mind helping to feed …… ) and St Euphrasia was for schooling. So there were four sections in all. When my father placed me in the convent (I wasn’t in trouble by the way, at least not pregnant…), my father got rid of me as a plaything and the convent was as good as anywhere else.

We girls got up early, went to mass, came back, attended the refectory where we all had breakfast (such as it was) then we went to work. I was only a kid back then and didn’t know better, I just accepted their slavery as normal! Hubbys Bub [another poster on the disucssion board] the stories we could tell, your friend and I except my heart already feels as if it is breaking in two. As for my anger it’s getting like a great big ball. I don’t dare say too much else, as right now im not coping well at all.

This I want to say: breakfast was luke-warm porridge with a slice of STALE bread. Lunch on the other hand was soup, with the morning’s left over porridge added for volume! Please, I just need someone else to back me up as I know it sounds unbelievable!

We worked so hard. I usually worked in the ironing room, but did some time in the mangle room, which is a huge round press that one fed sheets and such into! Anyone who knows me will tell you I loathe ironing, hence most of my clothing is drip dry!

We had a huge bath and toilet area. We had a bath once a fortnight from memory and even so the water we used had been used several times before we got in Y…..UCKO! The crows, usually called auxiliaries, would drag us down there and beat the bejes-s out of us if some nun had a complaint against any of us. Never mind if it was true or not. Biff! Bash! And cop that! Until we grew older and now and then fought back.

There was also a method of complaint called standing on the slab. We would walk off work and stand in the middle of the room and that’s where we stayed until bedtime. We could eat the muck they gave us for breakfast, then the nun in charge of our workplace would ask us if we were prepared to work. I was too stubborn to comply and so went without many a meal. Some of the girls would try and smuggle us something, but it was usually at extreme risk to themselves, and many a child went down the toilet just for feeling pity for a fellow sufferer.

I make absolutely no apologies whatsoever for despising those cows called nuns if they were the gaurdian of our souls then god help us. I looked at my granddaughter and thought I wasn’t much older or bigger than that when I first went there! HANG your heads in shame, you women who were portrayed as the gaurdians of our bodies and souls. SHAME SHAME on you! The only time I have ever stepped inside a Catholic church since was to attend a funeral. I wandered around for some time after that eventually I realised I had a spiritual need so looked deeply into the Bible, and now I know what’s actually in the Bible, I despise them even more. Not only because they were nuns, but primarily because they were WOMEN!

Totally unforgiveable bvehaviour, however I can forgive (not easily ) but because the Bible directs us to! I DEFINITELY CANNOT FORGET THOUGH. I have deliberately wiped a lot of menories away, in order to survive and a survivor is exactly what I am and can take a little comfort in that.’

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524 Replies to “Memories of Abbotsford Convent on an Ebay discussion forum”

  1. aph.gov.auHi Maureen,

    The Mullighan Report can be found at http://www.aph.gov.au/Senate/committee/clac_ctte/completed_inquiries/2004-07/inst_care/index.htm You can also read or download the submissions the committee received. I am currently working my way through the ones from Victorians.

    David Hill’s “The Forgotten Children: Fairbridge Farm School and It’s Betrayal of Australia’s Child Migrants” I borrowed from my local library. If you are a member of a library ask if they have it, or can get it. I have no idea what it costs, but any bookstore would see about ordering it in for you. It was published in 2007.

    And about the different classes mixing sometimes – there’s more chance of pigs flying or a snowball surviving in hell than we BAD GIRLS being allowed to corrupt anyone else! I have taken in the last week to using the google satellite map to look at the site from the air. It looks so tiny now, and it was my gaol for 2 years and 5 months (I was lucky enough to get out early by accident)and seemed to be large then. About 7 weeks now till the reunion. It’s a bit scary, but it can’t come soon enough now – the demons need facing.

    Love to all of you
    Valerie

  2. aph.Okay, looks like I can’t put a link in. I’ll email you a link, Maureen, but if anyone else wants a look at the Mullighan Report try the address below – but take out the spaces (hopefully this will work)

    http: //www.aph. gov.au/Senate/ committee/clac_ctte/ completed_inquiries/ 2004-07/inst_care/index.htm

  3. Greetings Valerie, The convent site seems so small from the Google map , and the fitting reality is that the Sacred Heart Class is actually very small.As a child it seemed
    very large to me ,but I think in retrospect it was more the atmosphere that kept us feeling so tiny !Just a personal thought and I would be most interested to hear how others considered it back then .Warm thoughts to all our sisters , Maureen.

  4. hi floss its angela if you get stuck for a lift to the reunion hust give me a call on 0393647676 i live near you and will be able to give you a lift cheers angela

  5. maureen on my site goodshepherdgirlsaustralia this man named paul was the one that wrote this write up regarding about the girls mixing together in the convent i was trying to explain to him that this never happened he was telling me his mother was in there from the 1920s till the 1930s and he was trying to find information on her life in there this is what he wrote on my site this question Thank you ‘angel’ for the info re St Josephs Class. I took in all you said, it was very informative, but wondered about the following.
    You said the different classes did not mix, but I think I read other documentation that maintained they did mix in certain circumstances. I could find the source if you are keen. In your opinion are there some inaccuracies in this other documentation that maintains that ‘different classes did mix sometimes’? Or what do you think about this contradiction?
    Q2: As opposed to the preservist groupings were penitents or those from law enforcement agencies kept apart from preservists under all circumstances?
    Q3: As far as Abbotsford goes would you recommend reading ‘Pitch your tents on Distant Shores’ to get a accurate detailed account of interns experiences and nuns activities at Abbotsford?

  6. Greetings all, Time is marching on isnt it? has everyone gone off to arrange thier summer wardrobe ,,
    swimmers and all? Or are we all feeling a tad uneasy
    about the reunion ?No-one seems to have tuned in for a while ,and I believe we all need the reassurances this
    blog brings .I have just read an article about the effects of neglect and abuse has on children .Fascinating ! I think of what we were subjected to as exploitation as well,and wonder how it could have been allowed to continue as long as it did .

  7. Hi Maureen,

    Yes, I have been missing in action, but not cold feet – a long story that you don’t need to know about. The more I read about kids in institutions, the more horrified I am. But we who were in one of them are probably the only ones who can truly understand.

    I make it five weeks till we meet up.

    Valerie

  8. This isn’t a comment but more a question. I have been searching for information about a place called Meena House. It was run by the Good Shepherd Nuns and women who had unwanted pregnancies went there to give birth. I was led to believe that I was born there but have since discovered that it was not me but possibly a sibling that was born a couple of years after me. I am guessing that the year of the female child born at Meena House would have been around 1957. Does anyone have any information with regard to children born Meena House. I have discovered that it was located in Richmond. That is all I have. I am greatful for any info that is forthcoming. Thanks Sharne.

  9. unimelb.edu.auhttp://www.unimelb.edu.au/infoserv/lee/htm/family_support.htm sharne i havent heard of the unmarried place at richmond but there was an unmarried place at carlton opposite the royal womens hospital is this the place you mean

  10. I only have the name Meena House and was adivsed by elderly parishiners that it was Richomond. Some who gave birth there took their babies home others were adopted. My Birth Cert says Royal Womens Hospital so there may be a connection. I will continue to investigate. Thanks for the speedy reply.

  11. Hey Sharne , I cant help except to say Ive been around a while and I cant remember any place in Richmond called Meena House . There WAS a refuge thingy in Richmond ,it was called Mary Anderson Lodge And it was situated in Burnley St ,not far from the birth place of Nellie Melba.. however it cant be the one you seek as it was run by the Salvos .Also the unmarried place in Carlton ,across from the Womens, wasnt a Good Shepherd run home ,it was in the charge of the Josephite Nuns .Perhaps the Richmond archives might have some reference if you could gain access .I wish you well ,and wish I could offer more , All the very bestin your search ,Kindest thoughts ,Maureen . Have you thouight of placing an ad in the richmond paper at all ?Someone may remember.

  12. Hi Sharne

    This may be of use to you, the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus purchased a Mena House from Elizabeth Glover (nurse) in 1930. At that time it specialised in obstetrics and gynaecology under the supervision of the pre-eminent specialist in the field, Dr. J.W. Dunbar Hooper. It is known today as Cliveden Hill Private Hospital and is situated at 29 Simpson Street East Melbourne, this is two blocks from Victoria Street Richmond. This order I believe may be aligned with the sisters of St Joseph at St Vincent’s and Cabrini hospitals.

    Of interest is that Catholic Bishop Christopher Prowse was born there in 1953 and in 1961 union official Irene Bolger was a nursing assistant at the hospital. If you were able to contact either of these people (use the net for info) you may be able to ascertain if this is the hospital. I am researching my mother’s life and did a little research for you and hope that others may reciprocate. Kind regards Gaile, and hello to all who are attending the reunion, I wish you all a day of love, joy and sharing.

  13. Thanks for that info Gaile. In the past 2 weeks I have gained a lot of information that I now need to check into. Weird little things that start to be recalled from early years and sit in the back of my mind bugging me(maybe due to reaching what others call ‘old age’). If I find what it is I think I may find I will let you guys know. Thanks for your help. Sharne.

  14. i have been reading different articles on this site and i am begining to realize that alot of what is supposed to be our recollections and stories people are taking advantage of by writing books about our experiences without our permission i cant believe that people could dare to do this

  15. You hit it on the head Angela,you are saying what ive suspected for quite a while .I know of someone who is involved in a Doco currently and I want to tell them the truth from a personal view point .How the info I supply is interpreted and respected is quite another thing however .I do believe that the actual victims are 100% entitled to tell thier personal story in thier own way ,but certainly not by others who are jumping on the band wagon and robbing us of our dignity OR attempting to . About the reunion will we have access to the building EG the workrooms ,the dispensary ,the dorms etc .otherwise it will seem
    a bit empty ,dont you agree?

  16. If it’s the case that our discussion is being used by people without our permission, perhaps we need to organise something a bit more private (if that’s at all possible).

    But it’s also food for thought. Perhaps one of us needs to write our story. I should probably put my hat into the ring, but am happy for someone else to do it. Perhaps we can put it on the agenda for the reunion.

    I’m with Maureen – I’m hoping that we do get to see as much of Sacred Heart as possible. And that’s after almost 40 years of hoping I never saw it again.

  17. Hi Ladies, I look forward to your discussions, as it gives me an insight into the type of life my mother may have had albeit 30 years later, I sincerely hope that someone doesn’t misuse the site. Perhaps you should pose the question to the creator of the site and enquire about copyright laws and if it was considered when the site was created.

    When I wrote to the ‘Archivist’ for the convent they indicated that the St Joseph’s building that was located on the corner of St Heliers and Clarke Streets, was demolished in the late 1970s after the closure of the Convent to make way for the Good Shepherd Nursing Home. I hope that it wasn’t one of the buildings you hoped to see.

    They also stated that ‘St Euphrasia’s was the convent school which served both girls in care as well as day students from the local area’. How does that information fit with your joint knowledge?

    Also Renee, were you able to ascertain if your Grandmother was at the convent during the mid to late 30’s. Warm regards to all Gaile

  18. Commenters, the law would regard your comments as ‘literary works’ and the authors (not me) would own the copyright in your comments, I think. Copyright just descends on original work, and there is no need to have it registered, or assert it, unlike a patent or a trade mark. Having said that, the internet is not a world which pays a lot of regard to copyright, and it is the case that even copyrighted material may be used in accordance with the law. If someone wants to comment on your comments, they can reproduce a reasonable portion to do so, for example. This whole post started when I took comments from an Ebay forum, cut them up, pieced them together, edited them, and reproduced them on this blog. From memory, I did not seek permission first, which was probably a bit naughty, but I did promptly write to the commenter and tell her I’d done what I’d done and said I would take down the post if she objected. It’s nice to have you here on my blog, but I’m sure you can find a password protected internet space to have private conversations with one another if that’s what you, or some of you, would prefer.

  19. Hi to the ‘AbbotsfordBlogger’

    I personally would like to thank you for your expedient reply. I cannot answer for the other ladies, however I believe that it gives somewhat an answer for the other commenters. I have no issue with the site as my comments and interactions are only with regard to my mother. I hope that if the ladies do decide to go to a personal site that you will keep me informed. I enjoy the communication that this blog gives me, and I feel that it allows others to have a glimpse of what may have been, if circumstances had not been as kind to us, as it was to some of you. In other words if you still believe ‘ there by the grace of God goes I…’ Again, warmest regards Gaile.

  20. Hi Gaile,

    Between August 1966 and December 1968 the girls in care had no communication whatsoever with the girls from St Euphrasia’s.

    A handful of girls in care received a little schooling during that time. I was one of them. We spent our schooldays in a classroom in the “Industrial School”. To my knowledge, that was the only room in use in the Industrial School. Before and after school-hours, and on Saturday mornings, we worked in the laundry.

    The girls in care saw the inside of Sacred Heart, and on Sundays attended the church itself for Mass. We had Mass every other day in the chapel within Sacred Heart. But even in the Church we were segregated in a separate wing – there were three – the public, the nuns, and us.

    It was no different to being in gaol doing hard labour. In fact, we would probably have been better treated if he had been in gaol.

    1. Hi Valerie, I was at the school during 1966-68. My name is Dianne Kohlman, sorry I cannot recall you. I was wondering if you remember me. The teacher was Mother Dominic at first then a different nun took over. When I left the convent I went to the hostel at Albert Park in Danks Street. Take care – Dianne

  21. Greetings all. Angela ,I believe that authenticity is recognisable ,and people may steal things from this blog .but only we know the circumstances and the incidents first hand. I personally began my story of the years in Abbotsford approx six months or so ago,but have been rather caught up with other things of late ,but hope to get back to it shortly .Thanks to Gaile ,and the Abbotsford Bloggeras well.,Hugs to all my sisters .

  22. Angel ,for some inexplicable reason I dont seem to be able to join that site , however would love to be part of a class action against the authorities who placed me in the Bendigo Convent under the guise of being in need of PROPER care and protection !Its almost laughable isnt it ?,those nuns were some of the least capable of giving any kind of care.I wouldnt surrender the care of a pet rat to them quite honestly!What did we get in the care of the nuns ?EXPLOITATION thats what
    IM REALY SPITTING CHIPS AT THE MOMENT!

  23. Hello everyone,

    although i was not alive during the era you speak of my mother was a resident of abbotsford convent, she would have been there during the 60s i would say, her name was Maria (mary) VanRysewyk and i hope to be able to bring her to the reunion. she didnt see the nuns as so hard, some of them maybe but then her mother was hard so was used to it. we still have contact with one nun who is now in ashfield NSW Mother Martina, i took my mother to see her just recently, she is a very gentle old lady and has help my mother so many times over the years. my mother would love to see some of the old girls, she often talks of her youth and the Mangle room and rosary place. i have jioned your group on facebook and will hopefully talk to you some more there, would love to find some people who know my mum, i would love her to come to the reunion, i think it would be very healing for her. shes a little anxious about it. i you know her please let me know, i also have some and can get more photos of abbotsofrd and the nuns from mother martina. regards karen

    1. Karen please please put me onto the facebook site. I was in Rosary Place Albert Park1960 -62 can't get the exact time as the Archivist has informed me that all records have been lost, how convenient. What are they scared of?
      I remember Sister Martina very well, she was very tall and recall a time during my anger of being incarcerated I threw a pot plant at her on the basketball court which landed at her feet. My nickname was Beehive I remember a Maria from this period dark haired big girl. I wish a top journalist would tell " our stories" to let everyone know of the emotional trauma we suffered for just being "teenagers".

  24. Gaile, my grandmother was in the boarding house section first then 2 years later( probably 14 yo ) she went into the work rooms.She was at the convent from 1938 ish to 1943 ish.She said that every one was given a saints name and they were only to use those names and if caught using their real names they were of course punished harshly,she said they still would share their real names but it was hear to remember any one’s real name as they wernt allowed to use them.
    Hope you come to the reunion and you can chat to her.

  25. Hi Renee – Unfortunately I am unable to attend the reunion, and comparing our dates I realise that my Mother and your Grandmother did not cross paths. However, perhaps Angela would be kind enough to accept and pass on our details (through her email address that she published earlier, on this forum) and we could arrange some correspondence. I would appreciate any insight from your Grandmother’s perspective into how life was at the convent around that time. Also Karen are we able to have the contact details of Mother Martina in NSW? You also mentioned a group on Facebook, I have been unable to ascertain the name of the group, is anyone able to assist? How fruitful is this discussion page!! I realise how difficult it is for many of you, and can only thank you sincerely for sharing many of your memories with us, your courage is indeed very humbling. As always, warmest regards to you all Gaile

  26. The practice of giving the girls a Saints name in there was pretty well finished when I was in Abbotsford,but they still practiced it in Bendigo Convent during my time there ,but no-one really bothered much ,not even the Nuns.Gaile ,if you go to the winlaton site there you might find our one .fRANKLY
    Ive been flat tack recently and cant remember the name.

  27. Welcome Karen,I was there in the late sixties, i dont know if i knew your mother though ,her name isnt

    ringing any bells at the moment . Still it will be great to speak with her and see how her memories

    compare to mine Please tell her that we all have some adverse feelings and her anxiety is totally normal. I do hope she makes it Cheers and warm wishes to your MUM also

    Maureen

  28. Karen ,ANOTHER ERROR on my part ,I wasnt there in the sixties,i was there in the late fifties, So there is no way i could j have known your mum ,however i do look forward to meeting her Cheers Maureen

  29. Hello all, have have been recalculating the dates my mother was a resident at abbotsford, she would have been there from about 1959 at age about 15 until about 1964. for the person that asked, sister Martina is now at Ashfield convent, in the nursing home attached, i went to see her along with my mother back in May this year and i must say for a 85 year old lady she is certainly doing very well, took us out for dinner and came back to our motel to reminise for hours about the old days at abbotsford. me at 37 think its all a bit mundane but believe its great for my mothers healing over her childhood and youth, so i sit and listen to it all. i will email sister martina and be sure its ok to pass on you email address. which i am sure it is but will ask anyway, the group on facebook is called good shephard convent abbotsford melbourne. jsut type that into the groups search and it wil come up. i am hopeful of finding a few people my mum knew.

  30. There is another site called forgotten australians ,
    but i dont think it would be of much assistance ,however its worth a try, isnt it ? If I work out how i will invite you to become a member if you are interested Gaile.Cheers , Maureen.

  31. Victoria Melbourne-Convent of the Good Shepherd Laundry & Collingwood Children’s Farm [1863-2003: St Helliers St, Abbotsford. Inmates segregated into penitents & preservites: orphans waiting for the arrival of a custody relative], Ashfield–Glentworth Home [1913-1978: Good Shepherd Laundry on Victoria St. Infirmary wing, sewing room. Police Courts sent girls there], Bendigo-Convent of the Good Shepherd Laundry [St Aidans Rd], Melbourne ’s Victoria Market [child mass grave found this on the net look at the end part

  32. Angela,Could you send addy for this info please .
    I guess we all knew that the Vic Market was built on
    a cemetery site,bUT childrens graves? Doesnt sound right does it ?Cheers

  33. Wirntupinya-nyja-rru [They Killed]
    Juma-ngku [Child] Mass Graves
    Sisters of the Good Shepherd Magdalene Asylums
    Volksfront
    1568: Spanish explorer Alvaro de Mendana
    1606: Luis Valle de Torrez & Willem Janz
    1642: Abel Janszoon Tasman
    1788: English Penal Colonies
    2006: Now a British Commonwealth Country
    Wal Campbell claimed the Good Shepherd Sisters were involved in a major racket. His paper hinted at babies born in convents & girls in the laundries being killed off or dying from exhaustion & being buried in strange places – Alan Gill
    Broken Rites Australia, non-profit organization of survivors of church-related sexual abuse who advocate for those who need help, is familiar with adult callers abused as children & women abused in a vulnerable situation, a single, or seperated, or unhappily married woman who consulted a church pastor & was then sexually abused in the course of counselling. They’ve also seen sick & medicated women abused by hospital chaplains. Within the Catholic Church, victims keep silent. Parents do not go to the police. Reporting is only to a church official, which is great for the church because they can then move the offender to a new area with new targets or an overseas study trip. Arrival or leaving details are of course not discussed with parishoners. The Black Collar Crime Cases consist of a survivor who consulted with police & found police had aggregate data of their abuser already.
    New South Wales Sydney: May 1787-January 18, 1788: Captain Arthur Phillip sailed from England with 570 male & 160 female convicts, 200 soldiers, 30 wives, & a few children in 11 ships to Botany Bay. The first white settlement in Australia & the beginning of the city of Sydney. Sydney Town Hall: Mass Grave
    Queensland Queensland-Sisters of Mercy Holy Cross Retreat & Girls Home-Industrial School for Girls [1904-1973: Co-located with the Magdalene Asylum for Unmarried Mothers at Woolowin, Queensland. Based on the Magdalene Asylums of Ireland. Mothers worked without pay in the laundries. Their children adopted out. Sent by the Children’s Court of Brisbane. Karalla the maximum security home with rotten food.], Brisbane-Mitchelton [Slave Laundry: Hotel sheets & tablecloths], Rockhampton-Mercy Sisters Orphanage [Neerkol]
    South Australia Adelaide-Plympton The Pines [Five meter high fence. Some sent by the courts, others transferred from the Goodwood Children’s Home run by the Sisters of Mercy]
    Tasmania: Abel Janszoon Tasman Hobart [Each of Australia’s state capitals is not only the political center but also the chief commercial, industrial, & cultural center of its state. Each is the oldest or one of the oldest settlements in the state. Each was laid out near the mouth of a river & as close as possible to a good ocean harbor]
    Victoria Melbourne-Convent of the Good Shepherd Laundry & Collingwood Children’s Farm [1863-2003: St Helliers St, Abbotsford. Inmates segregated into penitents & preservites: orphans waiting for the arrival of a custody relative], Ashfield–Glentworth Home [1913-1978: Good Shepherd Laundry on Victoria St. Infirmary wing, sewing room. Police Courts sent girls there], Bendigo-Convent of the Good Shepherd Laundry [St Aidans Rd], Melbourne ’s Victoria Market [child mass grave]
    Western Australia [New Holland] Perth-Good Shepherd Laundry [Leederville]
    Northern Territory Darwin-Palmerston
    Ashmore & Cartier Islands Uninhabited
    Christmas Island Wackenhut Corrections: 2002: Immigrant Detention center. Jails asylum seekers
    Cocos Islands: Coconut Islands 27 islands 1720 miles NE of Perth: 1609: British East India Company: Captain William Keeling, West Island, South Island, Direction Island, Horsburgh Island
    Coral Sea Islands
    Heard & McDonald Islands, 2700 miles SW
    Pitcairn Island: Major Pitcairn 1767: Philip Carteret’s HMS Swallow. 1789: Mutiny on the Bounty: Captain William Bligh. Survivors settled on Pitcairn Island,
    Norfolk Island 1825-1856: New South Wales Penal Colony. 194 Bounty descendants moved from Pitcairn to Norfolk Island
    Sutton Forest, Central Railway Station, Fantome Island Aboriginal Leprosarium [Prison near Ingham for Aborigines, Maori & Pacific Islanders. A 7 year old child was jailed for 10 years], Peel Island [white prison]
    Bowral-Hopewood Childrens’ Home, Christian Brothers’ Bindoon Orphanage [Possibly the most appalling children’s home ever to exist in Australia – Alan Gill, Orphans of the Empire

  34. Thanks for that info angela,but i meant the actual site
    where you foub nd this info. You know the old saying Dont believe what you read ,and only half of what you hear ! Id just k like to do some investigating of my own Not to say i dont believe you ,you would have no reason to lie ,but I like to tread slowly and be able to back up information ,if you know what I mean ,As for Wal Campbell,I reserve my opinion about his claims ! You are quite the investigator arent you ?keep up the work and info ,some of it HAS to be fact !
    Thanks for your time and effort again , I cant wait to actually meet you ,are you getting excited yet?

  35. Has everyone gone,?I have moved on ,and find much comfort in the Forgotten Australians Site. If you are looking for comfort , and caring and much much more ,you might also find this site comforting and informative as well .Best wishes to all those who posted here,and a huge thanks to the Abbotsford Blogger ,without him I may never have had the awakenings I am experiencing now . Bless you all and thanks for sharing part of your life with us .

  36. Hi all well the reunion is over i look forward till the next one in 2 years time it was a great sucsess with over 200 people attending cheers angela

  37. great to hear the reunion was a success. did anyone remember me (Theresa Mamo). I know it was a long time ago that I attended St.Euphrasia’s, but it seems like yesterday to me. I might make it to the reunion in 2 years time. It’s a long way to come from Malta, but I’ll try.

  38. Hi Everyone,
    Glad to hear all went well and the reunion was well attended. Theresa, I’ll email you soon and fill you in on my holiday. I’m still trying to catch up with 5 weeks work. Would be great to see you down under, but having just travelled to Europe I know exactly what you mean by “a long way from Malta”. I was that badly jet lagged this time it took me 10 days just to get back into a normal sleeping cycle. Regards to all Luisa

  39. Hi Luisa,Looking forward to your email. I know it has been a hectic time for you travelling from one place to another, but the break from your routine will do you good. We are going on a Baltic cruise next summer. Looking forward to it. So till next time, Theresa.

  40. Hi everyone the reunion went well with over 200 people attending so it was a great day. Hopefully we will continue to do the reunion as either an annual thing or every 2 years it will be good to catch up with everyone cheers angela

  41. hello, my mum was an orphan from italy in 1952 she stayed at the convent for two years, from a convent in
    italy to a convent in australia as her brother never came to get her, she said she arrived 15 years old in australia with bruises on her chest from italian nuns, only to face more nuns waiting for her in port melbourne she said she cried so hard, her brother wasn’t there for her as she hoped, her parents were killed in the war, anyway I remember as a child visiting Mother Germaine at the convent, does anyone remember her, was she a good nun? My mum said she tried to escape in the laundry truck.
    Feel sorry for all the orphans in institutions.
    Kind regards Aurora

  42. hi there aurora i remember mother germaine she was a lovely nun very kind you say your mum used to try and esca[pe in the laundry trucks i remember that that used to happen and yet i was there alot latter than your mother i was there in 1968 and it was going on then i suppose your mum could tel;l you some stories about the convent cheers angela

  43. surely there must be someone out there who remembers Mother Rita from St. Mary's Class (the farm section)

    and ancient Mother Agnes who ran the poultry farm and Maree who married Leo Goey and Ettie Pikoski

    1. Hi Ursula I did respond to you I would have been at St Mary's the same time as you ,looking forward to hearing from you soon regards Helen

    2. Ursula I am not great with computer but I remember you as I was in St Mary's in 50's & was there when Queen Elizabeth visited the convent grounds. I think you were much older than I & wore your dark hair braised. I have no idea how to make contact with you so I'll give you my email in case you see this post. I was Maureen Clarke & was 7 years old I'm no 67…time marches on. Remember Mother Rita. email is mauseho@dodo.com.au & I hope we have a chance to chat sometime. Names of some I remember were Marlene Mifsud, Leane Kalnins, Barbara Stepkovski, Lesley Lloyd Jones, Helen Pratt (your age)

  44. hi i am looking for info regarding the mithchelton sisters of good shepherd later changed to mt maria youth centre then to mt maria re education centre for girls. many ppl have been trying to get someinfo on it but it all seems to have vanashed.
    it is know a a high school now (mout maria secondary college)
    i would love to know and talk to anyone who may know anything. a girl named theresa ided in the attic becaue th nuns lft her there.))
    please help me

  45. Does anyone know of a young girl came to the home to have her baby she was a slim girl came from the south coast by the name of Gloria she did not work at the home she was working in town the year 1979

  46. As a student at St.Euphrasia's from 1949 to 1955, I remember the first year Sister Austin came to teach in grades seven and eight. She told me many years later, when being given the rundown on the pupils who would be in her class, that this girl, me, Maureen Compton, was another in a long line of Comptons, but this one has a brain, please nurture it, and she did. Yes she was strict , but helped me to get a diocesan scholarship so I wouldn't end up in the shoe factories like most of my family before me. We were kept separate from the girls at St. Josephs, the orphanage school, whose yard we had to pass on our way to and from school and we were told to keep our eyes down and not to mix with them. I only knew about the girls at Sacred Heart because of my grandfather being their driver , and learned many years later when I was sort of a boarder at Rosary Place in Albert Park that the women and girls who worked in the laundry were either those placed there by the courts, women who sought refuge there either because they were widowed or mistreated by their husbands or families, and adult Downs Syndrome sufferers who needed to be in an institution for some reason.Although I was called school Maureen others had their names changed while they did their time I still had chores to perform at weekends. I had to get down on my knees and scrub a quarter of the refectory floor, with scrubbing brush and rags. My father was supposed to pay board and I went home for first term holidays, but as he hadnt paid the second term i was dragged kicking and screaming in protest, I don't work. I am school maureen,down the stairs, to an ironing table. I learned to iron the priests shirts and pyjamas after theyd been through the hot press, touch ups and folding them neatly. I am a very good ironer to this day That was in 1958I learned so many things while there. How to draft patterns and make clothes, millinery,drama, seeing my first play, The Mikado, put on by the St. Ignatius Loyola drama group from Richmond.

    1. HI Maureen, I was in St Joseph's Section of the Abbotsford Convent and was an "inmate" from 1953 to 1964. I have been for a long time trying to locate a girl named John Pinkham and wonder if you knew her or know where she may be at present. I would also like to locate another girl there at the time named Patricia McMahon.

      Patricia McLeod (nee Ryan)

  47. As a student at St.Euphrasia's from 1949 to 1955, I remember the first year Sister Austin came to teach in grades seven and eight. She told me many years later, when being given the rundown on the pupils who would be in her class, that this girl, me, Maureen Compton, was another in a long line of Comptons, but this one has a brain, please nurture it, and she did. Yes she was strict , but helped me to get a diocesan scholarship so I wouldn't end up in the shoe factories like most of my family before me. We were kept separate from the girls at St. Josephs, the orphanage school, whose yard we had to pass on our way to and from school and we were told to keep our eyes down and not to mix with them. I only knew about the girls at Sacred Heart because of my grandfather being their driver , and learned many years later when I was sort of a boarder at Rosary Place in Albert Park that the women and girls who worked in the laundry were either those placed there by the courts, women who sought refuge there either because they were widowed or mistreated by their husbands or families, and adult Downs Syndrome sufferers who needed to be in an institution for some reason.Although I was called school Maureen others had their names changed while they did their time I still had chores to perform at weekends. I had to get down on my knees and scrub a quarter of the refectory floor, with scrubbing brush and rags. My father was supposed to pay board and I went home for first term holidays, but as he hadnt paid the second term i was dragged kicking and screaming in protest, I don't work. I am school maureen,down the stairs, to an ironing table. I learned to iron the priests shirts and pyjamas after theyd been through the hot press, touch ups and folding them neatly. I am a very good ironer to this day That was in 1958I learned so many things while there. How to draft patterns and make clothes, millinery,drama, seeing my first play, The Mikado, put on by the St. Ignatius Loyola drama group from Richmond.

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