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. Convent of the Good Shepherd .
    I'm trying to trace a Theresa Burns who was at the convent in 1922, whether a a novice nun or a laundry worker iI don't know but really want to find out .
    Any ideas from anyone . I'd really appreciate any help .
    Joan

  2. hi my name is michelle and im hoping to help my mum find some of her friends from the years 1962 and 1963. Her name is sandra and she was 15years old in 1962. i can be contacted at mcintosh@ncable.net.au. She use to have to help serve the meals and she spent alot of time in the machine room.
    thanks in advance
    michelle

  3. hi my name is michelle and im hoping to help my mum find some of her friends from the years 1962 and 1963. Her name is sandra and she was 15years old in 1962. i can be contacted at mcintosh@ncable.net.au. She use to have to help serve the meals and she spent alot of time in the machine room.
    thanks in advance
    michelle

  4. I was in Abbotsford, working in the ironing room 1967-1968. Like most of the girls, now women from there/that place I always feel slightly twisted in a way that is hard to explain to people who were not part of the nightmare. Like something very important was stolen from us. I don't even know what it was that the Nuns took from us but I do know that their taking it left us horribly damaged.

    I have read all of the above comments and it makes me feel a lot better to know that I am not the only one who has never gotten over "Abbotsford". I was feeling like I must be a bit of a wus or something.
    Wendy.

    1. hi judy its angela i was with mother albert in the good shepherd convent at abbotsford in the 1960s i remember you and jenny was wondering how you have been

    1. Hi Vincent, I have just discovered this site. I have also read a blog on here from Trish McLeod (nee Patricia Ryan), who was in St Joseph's class at Abbotsford. Unless I have got mixed up as I was later in the Sacred Heart class also at Abbotsford, then the time I knew her was in 1958 I believe. If I knew her when I was in the Sacred Heart class, it would have been through part of 1962, and all of 1963 and 1964. She was a good friend to me and if I recall correctly, she only had a Dad, as I think her mother had died. She had blonde hair and was fairly quiet and timid. I've often thought of her. I don't believe that she was sent there in the 1970's by the Court as she would have been aged around early 20s then. She was a similar age to myself and I was aged 10 in 1958, and aged 13-16 in the years 1962-1964 when I left Abbotsford. If you can give more information, it might assist me to isolate which period I knew her. However, I do not know what happened to her after I left there. My name then was Kathleen (Kathy) Houlihan. Hope the above helps

      1. hi Kathy,
        thankyou for your response. We are glad to have found someone who knew margaret.would it be possible to have a contact number or email address to learn more about margaret.we would be happy to discuss our reasons for wanting this knowledge with you.
        regards vincent

  5. Hi,
    My mum was in Abbotsford convent in the 1930's and I'm trying to find out more information about what the place was like at that time. Is anyone able to help me?

    1. There is a group called Clan, which stands for Care leavers Of Australian network , Phone number 1800008774 ,i am a member and my name is Heather, I too was in abbotsford convent in 1959 till 1963 . I worked in the ironing room . Sometimes worked 3 pressers .

  6. My mother who is now 74 years old attended school at the Abbotsford Convent. This would have been during the late 30s and the 40s. My mother didn't live at the Convent but has many stories of mistreatment and some of kindness shown by some of the nuns. One of the things that my mum has talked about were the "orphans" who lived at the convent but in a different area. They didn't mix with them (due to the Convent rules/structure) but sometimes they would talk to them through a fence. Mum said she asked them what they did and the children said they cleaned things etc. I think they told her that they had to wash/polish the floors etc. The children asked her and her friends about their lives. She paints a very sad picture of those children and even as a child felt sorry for the children there.

  7. Hi I have read your comments with great interest, I was at The Home Of Good Sherpherd, The Pines In Plympton adelaide for nearly 2 years from 1954, we worked in the laundry, also had to take saints names
    I would be interested in hearing from anyone who spent time at the Pines. Thank you for your site.
    Mary

    1. God help me…i thought it was W.A…crikeys!…i was there in the 60's but i have only started remembering over the past 3 years so i am still frightened to death about the truth….thanks for putting those words on paper 4me to read 2day.

  8. After finding this website and reading the comments I am sitting here crying and remembering the Good Shepherd convent in Albert Park where we were slaves in the laundry and weekends spent on our hands and knees scrubbing floors. We were controlled all our waking hours by either nuns or "Auxiliaries" . My nickname was Beehive and still today I suffer the emotional trauma from being in a "prison" at only fourteen years of age and working in an ironing room ironing up to 250 shirts a day Monday to Friday and compensated with meals and a bed in a dormitory which was unsupervised and locked each night and made to wash "down there" each night with a face washer taken into "the toilet" which was so unhygienic and a bath once a week if we were lucky.
    I suffered the trauma of being physically beaten on many occasions from older girls who were bullies and ended up in the infirmary.

      1. I have contacted MacKillop Family Services and other organisations to obtain information about various Homes, (in the search for info on my relative's unwed biological mother and father) – and apparently all records for Albert Park convent seem to have been burnt or lost! (How interesting – strange, when nuns are usually excellent record keepers – is there something to hide?) Of course, obviously there is. It's called the shame of maltreatment, abuse and imprisonment of young girls!!.

    1. Hi Marie. I was there and it damaged me for many years. How other comments praise the nuns and the system is beyond me! Many of us were in the 13-15 age range and should have been at school. Instead we were worked like dogs and although we never went hungry, the food was appalling. We filled up on bread and jam most of the time. Most of us were guilty of the most minor offences, it was laughable. Like having a boyfriend too old for us or running away from home! We were locked in at night and were lucky a major fire never occurred. We had mentally ill women sleeping next to us. I was unlucky enough to be placed next to a Down's Syndrome woman who masturbated each night. I am very ill at present and am tidying up my life by facing my demons. I was a pretty, intelligent and kind girl who was exposed to cruelty, bullying and despair. By the time I managed to get out of that place I was a hardened mess. Why in the hell would I want to meet up with anyone from that experience?

  9. I had to keep the comments short but would like to hear from any of the girls who were incarcerated in The Good Shepherd Convent in Albert Park between 1960 to 62. A traumatizing time which has affected me my entire life and wonder how the Catholic Church got away with using us as slave labour.
    I can be contacted at mrkn27@bigpond.com Beehive

  10. Hi I was in the orphanage part of Abbotsford Convent with my two sisters Mary and Veronica. I then spend my adolescent years with the Good Shepherds in Bendigo. The stories and memories above are similar to mine.

    It is so hard to find friends from the years in the home. At St Aidan's (Bendigo) we did our schooling by correspondence. I remember there were 10 of us in year 9 ( i think) and five of us had the first name Maureen. I am still trying to catch up with girls i grew up with then.
    Hi Marie, did you know Roma Saitta when you were at Albert Park? Her sister was with me at Sy Aidans and i used to write to Roma regularly.

    I missed going to the reunion because i was overseas at the time and wondering if there will be another one this year. Cheers, Happy New Year to all the girls,
    Maureen Cuskelly

    1. Hi Maureen The name Roma rings a bell. I remember an indigenous girl called Lola who belted the crap out of me, also a girl called Isabelle who beat me up in the dormitory late at night and ended up in the infirmary.

    2. Hi Maureen I was at St Aidens in 1970 for 3months I wasn't there for long i ended up running away. I was there when Wendy was there and was with Wendy and Roma at Nazareth House. Roma ended up in Winlaton, and I continued to keep in contact with Roma after the homes. Sadly Roma passed away in 2001.

  11. Hi Everyone,

    I am trying to trace some history – does anyone remember a Sister named Cecilia Castles at Good Shepherd Cov? She was there for over 60 years or Mother Superior? Thanks!

  12. Hi I was wondering if anyone remembered Sister Cecilia or may have heard her nickname Cis…..she was not very tall………..under five foot. She at one time ws in charge of the linen for one of the dorms.

  13. hi jennie ive been looking for you for ages i was with mother albert in the sewing room i was there from 1968 till 1971 do you remember prudence.julia rieter and diane gill my name is angela i was about 2 years younger than you

  14. hi all im looking for jenny jacobson and judy johnstone my name is angela dyer was in good shepherd convent aroung 1968 till 1971 was in the sewing room with mother albert and imelda does anyone one know them

  15. I've heard the stories over the years. I went to Abbotsford, St. Euphrasia's to attend school, not as an orphan. My best girlfriend who I still see spent her child hood years as "convent kid" as we used to call them. I was scared of some of the girls from the convent.The looked tough and frightening and I now realise why. They were treated, no not treated, abused really in many different forms.

    The stories my friend told me back in the 60's and over the following years I found to be absolutely shocking. She had nightmares well into her 40's over the years she'd spent in the convent. She was pushed down a few stairs by Mother, gee will I say her name, no, I've heard she's still alive and she still frightens me..lol.

    I was at Abbotsford 1st form 1966 to 4th form 1969. Even not being in the convent, the nun's were pretty cruel at school. I remember getting whacked over the head a few times by a certain nun, but my life at Abbotsford was a breeze compared to the girls that lived there day after day. I had the luxury of catching the train home with a fun bunch of school friends to a loving wonderful family.

    I still often wonder if they realise now, finally, what they did to hurt and damage so many girls who lived in the convent, or are they still in denial.

  16. hi jennie how are you its angela i was in the good shepherd convent at abbotsford with mother albert and imelda

  17. To all the girls who were in the Good Shepherd Convents. I recently applied to the Archivist for specific dates of when I was "in their loving care" and reply was the Good Shepherd have LOST all records of girls in Good Shepherd Albert Park. The written letter back to me stated this which I find incredulous to believe that they have no records of any girls placed in their care in the late sixties. I have lost contact with Mother Anne somehow she does not answer any of my emails anymore. I hope you are OK and you were so kind to me so if you read this please get in touch as I do not blame any of the nuns just the system. Beehive

  18. Hi everyone
    I hope its ok if I post this here. I'm trying to find information about my husbands grandmother who was with the Good Shepherd Sisters. I don't know a lot but here is what I have.
    Her name was Ivy Mena. She was fostered by a family with the name of Andrews. She would have been born in 1913 but was apparantly in and out of the convent over the years. I do know that she was back in the Albert Park convent in June 1931 until June 1932 but of course would have been an adult by then. I have a letter from the Good Shepherd Sisters Archives confirming this but it states Mr & Mrs Andrews as her parents. I have heard that she worked in the laundry at sometime but am not sure where or when. She was married in 1837 so i do not know if she returned again.
    Regards
    Suzanne

  19. Hi Helen, Do you remember we all had to clean our beds with feathers dipped in kerosine on linen change days, the shed where the onions were kept on huge racks, the dairy farm run by Mother Agnes and Wuffy and Terry – the two dogs and the huge gum tree is still there minus the swing underneath it. Would love to visit the inside of the building again.

    1. Hi Ursula, i do remember the cleaning of the beds with feathers & kerosine, also having castor oil if you said you were sick and didn't want go to church. Reading these bloggs brings back a lot of memoirs am only thankful that most of them are not bad ones. Barbara

  20. cont./ Saturday morning was jobs, jobs, jobs, you just did what you were told. Sunday parlour day, butter wouldn't melt in their mouths, if you were lucky enough to get a visitor. If not, well you know the drill. I have started a facebook site for St Aidan's girls, it is St Aidan's Conquerors, I suppose I should have expanded that to include all of us. Love to you all, always remember: Scars remind us of where we have been, they don't have to dictate where we are going! Live long and prosper as Spock would say.

    1. Hello?…beam me up please…i just did a cyber walk via google earth street cam to see my way…so i walked from my house up the street to my primary school, (((on sharon street, and an extention of nun street)))…and then further up the hill to the street the orphanage is on and i slowly made my way up the road to saint Aidans…i only started to remember in the past 3 years and still think the scars are so deep i don't wanna remember but now after i did that yesterday…i fell in love with my castle/home and i just wanna sit on the grass in the garden and look at that building and write my story as my heart and soul are rent from my being into the reality of this dream…thank you.
      I did conquer the fear and the mental illness without medication.
      I am still very very afraid.

      1. My father lived at St Aidans Orphanage in Bendigo from 1922 to 1929. Aged 3 – 10 years old. He loathed porridge as an adult because of the watery stuff he had to eat as a child. He never drank milk either. He recalled washing his face in freezing cold water in winter. No hot water except for the ( I thought) weekly saturday night bath. I am very interested in communicating with any one who has information about the day to day life at St Aidans during the 1920s but also up to 1951 as his mother lived and worked in the laundry from 1922 and later until her death in 1951. Many Thanks. Please email me on darlinkfran@yahoo.com

  21. Hi Everyone My name is Sandi formerly (Beverley), I spent one night in Oakleigh before being moved to St Aidan's Bendigo where I lived for nearly six years. It must have just been the way that these nuns did things, not one thing different to your stories. Same mob though.

    Our day, up at 5.30am, washed and teeth cleaned, 6.00am jobs to do, mine was to wash the Apium way on my hands and knees, then polish it. Hallway leading to church. Then off to church for morning prayers, 6.30am, 7.00 breakfast and maybe kitchen hand until 8.30, of off to the laundry until 8.30am. Up to school until 12.00 then lunch, laundry or kitchen details until 1.00. School until 3pm then back to laundry until 5.30pm. Pulling steaming hot sheets of a huge bloody mangle in 40 celcius heat under a tin roof. Slave Slave Slave, half an hour to do homework, then dinner. 6.30 pm to group room, evening prayers, then one hour to yourself, then bed. That was weekdays.

    1. Hi Sandi, I came to St Aidens from Abbottsford in 71, your name rings a bell. My name has also changed but back then I was Laura Scott.

      1. Hello Greycat, I was at the convent onwards from 1970 and looking for anyone who may remember me; I was four years of age at the time with a noticable markings of eczema, skinny, brown hair, brown eyes and small.

  22. This is maybe not the place to post becuase my query is much earlier, I just cant find anywhere to ask these questions. Family has just found out through gaining death certificate that Great Grandmother , Mrs. Elizabeth Hedges, died in Magdalen Asylum, Abbotsford in Oct 1912 aged 49 years.

    Where can I go to read about the REAL story of that place at that time?

    We are having a family reunion in a few months of my 9 siblings and want to be able to present a realistic picture, but cant find anything other than a few articles in The Argus Newspaper arund that time describing some aspects of it?

    Sorry for hickjacking this blog. Desperate for REALISTIC info such as what did she have to do – a married woman with a child – to be 'put' in there and ultimately die in there of pnuemonia?

    chrisandjoni@aapt.net.au

    Many thanks for reading this.

    1. I would suggest contacting MacKillop Family Services – Mr Fraser Faithfull [fraser@goodshep.com.au]

      He is the archivist for the Good Shepherd Sisters. He is in denial of course about the negative side of things (is loyal to the "good" sisters!, but if you just request him to research, I'm sure he'll be of assistance.

      Ph: (03) 9419 5773 – He works on a Thursday.

      Good luck,
      regards, Paula

  23. I am trying to trace what happened to my Mother, Mary Margaret O'Loughlin, who was known as "Caroline" in the Good Shepherd Convent, Abbotsford, in the Sacred Heart Class section; she is listed as being there from 4 November 1942 till 16 August 1943. Does anyone know of her? She was 18 and a short pretty little red haired girl. She kept her time there a big secret and she died in 1993 in Perth WA, leaving us many questions about a possible sibling. She had come from the Broadmeadows Babies Home; starting there 3 March 1942, resigned no date, but she turned up at St Josephs 4 Nov 42. She had come down from the Vic Mallee district, a farmers daughter.

  24. Referring to my above blog about searching for what happened to my Mum, Mary Margaret O'Loughlin: if anyone has any help, you can call me on (08)9495 2191, or mobile 0400154683, or bensley@iinet.net.au.
    It is distressing to see all the poor people on the Clan website trying to do their own searches for justice about their abused past, and to think I may have a "lost"sibling out there from 1942 or 1943, well, this is troubling me and my family. I do not understand how the Abbotsford Convent site is being used for Arts and crafts and community happy things today (rental income for the Catholics!) while there is a host of lost and damaged people who were "orphans" and relinquishing mothers who are being Ignored by "good"?! christians knowing they are hiding information! This is so unjust. There is no god, that is only a figment of guilty christian imaginations!

  25. After months of counselling with a Psychologis I have come to terms with my "stay" in Good Shepherd Convent Albert Park. Although that was the "system" at the time to look after girls "who did not tow the line", yet we were just normal teenagers like myself and the local catholic priest told my mother I was "in moral danger" for speaking to the boy of 22years across the road. A very very traumatic time in my life being whipped out of school whilst studying for a scholarship. No education in the convent as we worked in a laundry Mon to Fridays but I will say the nuns did what they had to do and were all very kind even if we were watched 24/7. They had their hearts in the right place and were also victims of the system . God bless them all especially Mother Anne, Mother Luke and others. Things have changed now and back then it was too much discipline and not enough TLC. Now things have gone from one extreme to the other and not enough discipline or guidance. Would love to meet up again with some girls who were in Good Shep in Albert Park 1960 – 62. . Marie Ryan nicknamed Beehive in Albert Park.

  26. Hello I have just spent the last hour reading all the blogs as I take time out from writing my family story, and I wish to send loving thoughts to all those who suffered while at Abbotsford. My story has been 3 years in the making after learning that Abbotsford Convent still existed. My main brief was to try and understand why my mother and her siblings were placed in institutions.
    I now have a firm grasp on events that led to such a drastic step, however actually understanding the life they led eludes me and I have to accept I will never really understand.
    Two of my aunts were sent in 1916 and my mother was sent at the age of 41/2 in 1920. I was fortunate enough to interview my 100 year old aunt before she died in 1908.
    The thing is my aunt had a glowing account of the nuns and the education she received, while my mother before she died broke down about the consecrated penitents who she called the "old girls". She had nothing bad to say about the nuns. Perhaps these girls fared better than others because Sr Fidelis Reid was known to their mother, so maybe she protected them.
    End blog 1

  27. Blog 2
    As you can see, I will never know for sure what actually happened but I do know, these girls spent the rest of their lives being ashamed of their time at Abbotsford and it was always a big dark family secret.
    Thank you for the opportunity to contrbute and I guess I will just have to wing it as best I can, but some of your comments have been useful
    My very best wishes
    Helen

  28. I back you up one million per cent they were some of the worst memerories of my life it was horrendous in their we worked liked dogs then if we were really good once a month or something I never did ! you would go to the beach in the nuns swim suits well when your in your teens and fashion was really making its way then they were hiddeous so on the long long balcony that some nutty woman that was left at the alter would continuisly walk up and down that place was so darn spooky we were kids soo bad u would not believe what it was like unless u had been in there OMG! I ran several times they destroyed (the nuns) all I ever owned,pics ect those cows I tell u! there were a couple of nice ones I have to say I they were far and few between though! it was so very degrading in that hole had to cut this short sorry not enough room it says
    marilyn Fitzpatrick Ross is my married name !

    1. Names I remember Lola who thought she ran the show (a guest like myself), Maria, Trevaskis sisters, Isobel who gave me the hiding of my life late at night in the dormitory, she was much older than my 14 yrs. I can relate to your comments as we watched the nuns frolicking in the water on the beach while we were incarcerated and worked in the laundry and ironing room. Visitors once a month if we "behaved ourselves" which I never did as I was one angry little girl for being ripped out of school as I was very clever studying for a scholarship and because some moralistic Catholic priest brainwashed my mother into believing I was in moral danger. OH THE DAMAGE YOU HAVE ALL DONE the system psychogically damaged us. We should have been educated not worked in a laundry as unpaid slaves to the Catholic Church. I was so angry one day I picked up a potplant on the basketball court and threw it at a nun and it landed at her feet. Boy did I need a Psychologist back then even but instead was severley punished and they did pull you into line by punishing your whole group.

  29. Hi, my mum Noreen Rice was at the convent, as a boarder, from the late 1930's – 1940's. Unfortunately mum has now passed away and I would dearly love to talk to anyone who may remember her.
    She also had two sisters at the convent, Dorothy and Barbara.
    My email address is michaeldeltito@hotmail.com if anyone has anything to share.

  30. From beehive albert park convent. I just remembered the poor nun who copped my anger on the basketball court was a tall nun Mother Martina. I believe she is still alive and hope she forgives my bad behaviour which under the circumstances was very understandable. I missed my mother and siblings so much I cried all the time but never showed it and always acted tough though I am a big softie. Another point I have read in these blogs is of the shame.
    Even today I cringe if someone mentions the "convent". The shame and embarrassment of being somewhere where most people think immediately your were a "bad uncontrollable girl" . It is a time none of us will ever forget.

  31. Hi all its angela i am organizing a reunion for the good shepherd convent at abbotsford on the sunday the 14th of november from 11am till 5pm it will be for women who were in these convents from years 1960 through to 1971 when it closed anyone in good shepherd convents throughout australia in these years are welcome if you could reply to me by no later than the 30th of october at my email address angelad9492@hotmail.com thank you angela

    1. hi Angela, i went to the good shepherd convent in January 1972, and stayed till December 1972. At that time i remember there were a lot of very old sick women and some mentally challenged people but no orphans. The girls like me were there to work and serve as punishment for perceived unruly behaviour. I was 15 and charged with 'exposed to moral danger and uncontrolable''. It was a difficult time, and survival was a raw instinct that i honed to perfection. Do you remember sister Geraldine? I would be interested in attending a reunion. I havent talked much about that experience, not in any detail anyway, but it is all as fresh as yesterday.
      Kind regards
      Vanessa Gray

      1. hi venessa i was with mother albert in the sewing room but worked on the school hilidays in the mangle room and the laundry i left in december 1971 let me know if you would like to come to the reunion cheers angela

  32. Have just discovered these sites regarding the Good Shepherd Convent , Abbotsford as was thinking of going back there for a look after so many years, I was there from 1968 to 1970. Jennifer.

  33. Angela, i have just discovered that the convent i was in was "St Joseph's Convent of the Good!? Shepherd" in Croyden / Ashfield, NSW, not Victoria. The only girls' name i know from then & there is Ydanka (Edna), & she lived in Dulwich Hill. She was my best friend when i was there. She would be about mid 50's by now.

  34. ** Angela, i was in the convent from february thru till august, 1969. In fact i was trying to ecape from a top floor dormitory window, by tying sheets together, on the very day that man first walked on the moon!! Everybody else was downstairs somewhere, watching the moon landing, but not me!! Boy, was Sister Madelaine mad when she discovered me doing that?! YES. They sent me home that very night, together with the three stone i'd gained in bodyweight! There was a (young) Sister Margaret who would, once a month, endure a huge red pimple on her chin. Poor thing. I ironed priests' surplices, among other things, using a flat iron connected by a length of garden hose to the gas supply, with a roomful of girls all doing the same, under extreme pressure to NOT SCORCH, & with no steam at all. Almost an impossible feat i tell you. 3min timed showers, clean water of course. Completely strip the bed every morning, a task i never once did, EVER. Yay, for me!!! Sister Madelaine also STOLE text books i was using for my tech course, saying she couldn't find them!! Unbelievable. And the SMELL of the geriatric patients' clothes when i had to iron them, after hand washing & rinsing them, was enough to make me almost GAG, honestly. Some of the things we were forced to do were quite disgusting. Like attending mass every morning & more sometimes, as i am Church of England. I don't recall not having enough food though.

    1. hi there i was there from 1968 till 1971 in the sewing room upstairs sounds like you were in the ironing room do you remember mother louis she was the head nun in the ironing room and mother helen i had mother albert

  35. Hello girls, i'm from March – August, 1969. A time spent anguishing, & languishing, in St. Josephs Convent of the Good Shepherd, Ashfield NSW. I'm very keen to talk to anyone who may have been there, or who knew someone who was placed there.
    Shezzi.

  36. hi there angela i was also there at that time what a places the food was shit the nuns treat us like slaves i was the last girl to leave and go to geelong convent i went to school and mother thomas was our teacher and she was a bitch my name is irene ryan and my sister name is robyn do you remember us as i remember you

  37. Hi my name is Michelle Dunn {Kells} I have just made contact with some girls I have grown up with in St.Josephs Abbotsford, From the age of 3 1/2 TO 13 They have just had a reunion which I missed. I have spent the past 2 days very emotional ,remembering all the past I had shut out, but would love to make more comment once I have settled down and can bring myself to talk wothout crying.Talk soon Michelle

  38. Hi

    My name is Sandi Gamble and from 1967 – 1973 I was in the care of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd Convent at Bendigo. St Aidan’s. I have started a community site for all children who were in the care of the Good Shepherd so that you might catch up with old friends or find those that you thought were lost forever. This encompasses all Good Shepherd. So far we have 41 members. This site is private and only available by invitation. I am very happy to welcome you to the site please email me at sandi.gamble@bigpond.com and I will send your invitation asap. Have a great day.

    Regards Sandi

  39. Hi girls posting another blog. The nuns and Catholic institution will be cursing the internet forever and a day as they thought it could be all swept under the carpet and on top of that to state all records were lost or destroyed from Albert Park how convenient they must have a lot to hide. We all must be owed a fortune in wages having us working in their laundries making them a fortune instead of educating us which is the key to everything. I want to also add once I got a two inch fat splinter in my foot and it took them five days before they knew they had to take me to the hospital. Why not call a doctor in?. No taxis walking with an infected foot with Chrissie the Auxiliary to the hospital in town. Also what qualifications did the Infirmary girls have pushing crap up your vagina.
    Marie Ryan

  40. My name is Elizabeth, I was put into the Good Shepherd Convent in Ashfield by the court for 2 years, my big crime was to run away from home, my father died when I was 10 years old and my mother became an alcoholic. At the grand old age of 13 I tried to kill myself, life for me was lonely and not real good, when that failed I ran away from home, when I got caught I ended up in Ashfeild. I worked in the laundry for awhile but I burnt to many heavy Mayfair uniforms so they moved me to the kitchen. I am a Methodist, so as you can imagine in those times my life was made a misery. I was forced to participate in mass and made to scrub miles of flooring. My mother paid for me to be there, so they not only got slave labor out of me they got paid for it as well. The good news is ..I am not 57 years old and I never did another wrong thing in my life..I was to scared they would put me back in there There are many other instances I go through of ill treatment but I would be here all day.. I hope those of you who posted here have had good lives despite the way we were abused.

    1. Elizabeth, i too was in the Good Shepherd Convent in Ashfield in early 1969, for five soul shattering months, during which i gained 3 stone! You are the first person i have ever spoken to about the ordeal i went through, except for my youngest daughter whom i told only last year. Amazing how scarred & altered i still feel. Those nuns stole something so valuable from me, & i don't even know what it was! I only know it is missing. Please contact me, i need to talk about this to someone who knows. Shez, previously Cheryl Adams.

      1. I only look at this blog now and again as it saddens me to read all our stories and like you ashamed to talk about it as we are stil scarred from our experiences and no matter how hard we try to live a normal life it keeps coming back to haunt us. Can you imagine this happening today and we were just silly teenage kids with issues they never gave a shit about.

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