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.
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.
WILLOUGHBY, Horton Frederick (Fred)
Passed away peacefully at Ballina Hospital on 15th February, 2015, late of Tintenbar and formerly of Sydney. Much loved Husband of Fay (dec’d), loved Father of Karen (dec’d), Mark, Jenny and Cindy and devoted “Poppa Fred” and Great-grandfather of their Families.
Aged 84 years
Relatives & Friends are invited to attend Fred’s Funeral Service to be held at the Parkview Funeral Home Chapel (21Kalinga Street, West Ballina) Ballina, at 12.00noon on Friday (20.2.2015), followed by Burial at Tintenbar Lawn Cemetery.
Learn more at: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/northernstar-au/obituary.aspx?n=horton-willoughby&pid=174171829
STEVENS Robert (Bobby): Bobby passed away peacefully on Saturday 20.9.2014 at Fremantle Hospital with his loving wife Jean and adored sons Linden and Leslie by his side. Forever in our hearts.
Bobby was an old boy who was in St Johns in 1937.
By LOUISE THROWER
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 »
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 »
Article was published in the Nepean News (Issue 126) on Thursday 12 June 2014
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
A POEM FOR SISTER MADELEINE
“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 »
BRUCE CAMPBELL’S TIME AT ST JOHN’S ORPHANAGE
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 »
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 »
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.