"Rejoice in the Lord, always. Be strong and fear not" - BENEDICTION

  • Old Boys of St Johns

    Old Boys of St Johns

  • Old Boys of St Johns

    Old Boys of St Johns

  • Old Boys of St Johns

    Old Boys of St Johns

Welcome to the St John’s Orphange for Boys Memorial Website

Dedication St John’s Orphanage Goulburn

This website is dedicated to over 2000 boys who passed through St. John’s Orphanage Goulburn from 1912 till its closing in 1978. The site also acknowledges the tremendous care and dedication by the Sisters of Mercy that took on the roll of parents, educators, nurses and administrators in their endeavors to provide a certain quality of life. A life that otherwise would not have been available to the many needy boys.

In 1975, due to declining numbers, the home took in a small number of girls from St. Joseph’s Girls Home in North Goulburn. The Boy’s Home was closed in 1978. However, the few boys and girls who were left were transferred to cottages which were adjacent to St. John’s and care continued with the Sisters of Mercy until final closure in 1981.

It is with great spirit and enthusiasm that this website is launched and it is hoped that former boys and girls with their families will make an endeavour to renew their contact with their childhood mates.

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Goulburn’s orphanage residents gather for reunion

Posted on March 7th, by Phil Merrigan in Articles. No Comments

Credit: Originally Posted in the Goulburn Post, March 6, 2019 – https://www.goulburnpost.com.au/story/5939800/former-orphanage-residents-swap-memories/

Memories came flooding back on the weekend as former residents of two Goulburn orphanages gathered for a reunion.

Goulburn man and former orphanage resident Alan Gilroy with reunion organiser Phil Merrigan. Photo: Michelle Doherty.

Henry Angos was one of the oldest residents to attend Saturday’s reunion. Photo: Michelle Doherty.

Lindsay Chesworth takes up a trip down memory lane looking through some orphanage history. Photo: Louise Thrower.

Lois Tozer (St Joseph’s 1967-71) travelled from the Gold Coast for the gathering and met up with Vanessa Irving (St Joseph’s and St John’s 1969-76). Photo: Louise Thrower.

Tanya Crawshaw attended with daughter Anna Kaplantzi. Tanya’s partner, David Farraway and husband Desmond attended St John’s while his sisters, Roslyn and Barbara went to St Joseph’s orphanage. Photo: Louise

Former St Joseph’s and St John’s Orphanage resident Elaine Williams … Read More »

2019 Reunion

Posted on March 7th, by Phil Merrigan in Uncategorized. No Comments

Our 2019 St Johns & St Josephs Reunion was again held on Saturday 2nd March at the girls orphanage at Kenmore, St Josephs. Although numbers were down slightly on previous reunions, it was still a good roll-up with around 90 old boys and girls attending with family and friends. This year there were a lot of issues with mail invitations not being delivered and about 30 “return to sender”. Plus, not all email invitations were received, so all things considered it was a good turn up. Including a good result from the wider region of NSW, we had people travel from Western Australia, Brisbane Melbourne and Tasmania. A lot of new faces that made this their first reunion and, like those before, were amazed at the refurbishment work that Maggie and Darryl Patterson are doing to the old building. Maggie … Read More »

Reunion 2019 Invitation

Posted on January 23rd, by Phil Merrigan in Reunions. No Comments

Dear fellow Old Boys, Girls, family members and friends.

Our last Reunion in March 2017 was held in the grounds of St Josephs at Kenmore. This was due to the incredible hospitality from Darryl and Maggie Patterson the owners of the St. Josephs. Our reunion was a major success with approximately 100 old boys and girls with family holding a “picnic” in the front grounds. With age or illness creeping up on many of us, the turn up was extraordinary. It was agreed by all that it was a wonderful reunion and maybe one of our best! Many old girls returning to St Joseph’s for the first time had mixed emotions but all said they were glad they came. Like the girls, we had some old boys from St. John’s make a reunion for the first time.

The good news, Maggie and … Read More »

St Johns Reunion

Posted on January 19th, by Phil Merrigan in Reunions. No Comments


Old boys and girls of St John’s Boys and St Joseph’s Girls Homes Goulburn, along with family and friends are invited to a Reunion BBQ in the grounds of the old St Joseph’s Girls Orphanage, Taralga Rd.  North Goulburn NSW on Saturday March 11th 2017. Starting at11.00am.

For catering purposes and further information please contact:

Phil Merrigan on 0407 618 100 or philmerrigan@exemail.com.au


Maria & Lindsay Chesworth 0423 689 366


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St John’s Orphanage is Burning Down!

Posted on November 5th, by Phil Merrigan in Articles. No Comments

Oh my, we regretfully report that the St John’s Orphanage is Burning Down. This is a tragic situation which we break down courtesy by the Goulburn Post where we have permission to re-publish there article on our website below.

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Former St Joseph’s Girls Orphanage in Goulburn gets a Makeover from Volunteers

Posted on May 5th, by Phil Merrigan in Articles. No Comments

JUST off Taralga Road down a bumpy driveway, hidden behind rows of trees, the former St Joseph’s Girls Home long stood empty and forgotten.

On Thursday, the chatter of children echoed through the hallways once again, as some 60 young volunteers pitched in with painting, gardening and general tidy up.

Read more from the original article here…

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Article from Goulburn Post covering St John’s & St Joseph’s Reunion 29 March 2015

Posted on May 5th, by Phil Merrigan in Articles. No Comments

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“Lost” Painting From St John’s Discovered After 40 Years Missing

Posted on April 7th, by Phil Merrigan in Articles. No Comments

The painting that used to hang in the dining room at St. John’s Orphanage for many years went missing at or just before it’s closure nearly 40 years ago. It recently was discovered in the garage of Horton Willoughby’s home in Ballina. Horton (Fred) sadly passed away just a few weeks ago and his family discovered it in his garage.The painting was assumed lost forever or destroyed by vandals when St John’s closed.So we can now claim that Horton Willoughby saved it. The painting is being “restored” and a digital image is now available in A4 size to any old boy or family member. Please use the contact section of this website to place an order. Horton’s grandaughter is now the owner of the painting and gladly made it available for all to see at our recent Reunion in Goulburn.

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Dream could answer community’s prayers

Posted on September 26th, by Phil Merrigan in Development. No Comments


PURPOSE: Maggie and Darryl Patterson have plans to establish an ‘intentional community’ in the Christian tradition at the former St Joseph’s House of Prayer on Taralga Rd. They exchanged contracts on the building in May.

THE grief of losing their daughter to a genetic heart condition last year hardened a local couple’s resolve to help the community.

Darryl and Maggie Patterson purchased the former St Joseph’s House of Prayer on Taralga Rd four months ago.

Their dream is to transform it into a “contemporary monastery” or intentional community in the Christian tradition.

The charitable organisation would also focus on social action, such as raising awareness of women in slavery overseas and of children in orphanages.

But there are also plans to partner with local churches and agencies, delivering social programs, including a youth group and plugging other ‘gaps.’ The couple, who moved from … Read More »

St John’s Old Boy Reunited with his Trophy after 64 Years

Posted on June 27th, by Phil Merrigan in Old Boy Submissions. No Comments

Way back in 1950 Mark was a winner of the trophy. But, as a boy in St John’s Orphanage, if you won a trophy then it stayed in St. Johns. When the orphanage closed in the 1970’s it was feared all memorabilia was lost. And, sadly in
most cases it has been. Just recently prior to a reunion in Young and with the good grace of the Sisters we were able to obtain some of these trophies that have been “held in trust” in Canberra.

Mark was a very accomplished boxer winning many fights in the region while at St John’s and started to develop a reputation as a very keen hard hitting boxer. On leaving St John’s he ended up in Sydney where he started training again. This move of fighting in the “big smoke” eventually got him selection on the Melbourne Olympic Boxing Team as a reserve.

Mark is overjoyed and quietly … Read More »

Old Boys gather for Sister Madeleine’s Funeral

Posted on August 8th, by Phil Merrigan in Passings. No Comments

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Sister Madeleine Passes Away

Posted on June 19th, by Phil Merrigan in Passings. No Comments

Sadly, Sister Madeleine passed away peacefully in her sleep at 8.30PM on Sunday 16th June. Sister was 110 years of age.

Her funeral will be held at  St Mary’s  Church in Young on Monday 24th June at 10.30AM

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A Poem for Sister Madeleine, 110th Birthday Celebration Saturday 8th December 2012

Posted on December 9th, by Phil Merrigan in Birthdays. No Comments


“Here’s to a Sister, a beautiful lady too

Who means so much to us all

Who puts the welcome mat at the door

For us when we choose to call

She has a keen interest in what we say

Loves to know all that we do

Though it seems 110 can be very old

You’re one that’s young at heart

And while you have lead a busy life

In our lives too you played a part

You were always the one who cared for us

You’re witty and warm and so wise

You watched us, the whole St John’s crew

Success or failure you saw us through

You picked us up when we had a fall

In fact you’re the best Sister of all

So today we are wishing you

A birthday that’s the happiest yet

With cake and candle and don’t forget

Those who care for you all gathered around

To say that in life … Read More »

An “Old Boy’s” Memories

Posted on November 13th, by Phil Merrigan in Old Boy Submissions. No Comments


I was eight years old when I went to the Orphanage. It was in September 1938 when my mother was forced to send me and my two brothers Don and Colin there. We were too much for  her, the final straw was breaking windows in the Parish Hall using catapults. We stayed at the Orphanage until war ceased in 1945.

Mother Superior at St Johns was Sister Ligouri. A very nice lady. Other teachers were Sister Genevieve who taught the infants, she also taught drama and music to all the pupils.  Sister Madeleine taught me for two years. I had to repeat sixth grade as I was too young to go to High School. I remember doing Algebra during the second year which gave me a good start … Read More »

“A Poem of Reflections” – I’m Only an Orphan Lad

Posted on August 30th, by Phil Merrigan in Old Boy Submissions. No Comments

I’m Only an Orphan Lad

I often look back on my childhood
My parents put me away in an orphanage
To me it felt like a cage
They left me feeling angry, sad and alone
I often tried to escape and go home
Bewildered, bitter and cold to the bone
And wondered, if I was good or bad
For I had become an orphan lad

There were times when I would shout and yell
It could be no worse in “hell”
Rudely awakened at every dawn
Still feeling forgotten and forlorn
Told to get dressed and fall into line
To do as I was told and I’d be fine

I would be given many a task to do
Wash that floor, clean that loo
I’d march to the sound of a bell
Then stand back in line, half asleep
Still feeling cold, I’d quietly weep
With a “clip of the ear”, told … Read More »

St. John’s & St. Joseph’s Reunions

Posted on May 10th, by Phil Merrigan in Reunions. No Comments

Reunions have been held several times over many years. Gatherings in parks and clubs have provided an opportunity for old friends to catch up and renew acquaintances. Sister Genevieve was a great supporting of inviting back old boys to St. Johns during her long posting at the home.

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