Some people may find content on this website distressing. Read more
New South Wales - Organisation

St Magdalen's Retreat (1887 - 1947)

  • The laundry building at St Magdalen's Retreat, Arncliffe, 1899

    The laundry building at St Magdalen's Retreat, Arncliffe, 1899, courtesy of Bayside Council Library.
    Details

From
1887
To
1947
Categories
Catholic, Female Rescue Home and Home
Alternative Names
  • Good Samaritan Convent
  • St Magdalene's
  • St Magdalen's
  • St Magdalen's Convent
  • Tempe Convent

St Magdalen's Retreat at Tempe, near Arncliffe, provided accommodation for females over the age of 12 years by the Sisters of the Good Samaritan. It was established in 1887 and was used by the New South Wales Government as a care institution, as well as accepting voluntary admissions from families who could not care for young women.

Details

The foundation stone for St Magdalen's Retreat, Tempe was laid by Cardinal Moran in 1885, and the home was opened in November 1887. The site was the grounds of Tempe House, built in the 1830s by John Verge for Alexander Brodie Spark. The noted philanthropist Caroline Chisholm leased Tempe House for a girls' school in 1863 and it was bought by the Good Samaritans in 1884. The Sisters built new buildings, including a chapel.

The objects of the Retreat were to 'provide a home for unfortunate women and girls of all creeds and classes; to help them reform their lives; and after a period of probation to restore them to their friends or to provide them with clothes; and to find suitable situations for them'. Like most homes of its type, St Magdalen's Retreat ran a laundry, and this work was part of the redemption for the girls.

By the 1940s, the government social welfare policy no longer favoured institutional rehabilitation and from 1947 until 1970, the Sisters of the Good Samaritan cared mainly for girls committed by the courts. St Magdalen's Retreat became known as the Good Samaritan Training Centre.

According to historian Peter Quinn, this home was one of the few non-government institutions to receive funding from the state government to run juvenile justice institutions by the Child Welfare Department.

The Good Samaritans closed the site in 1982 and it was sold to developers. Tempe House and the St Magdalen Chapel remain standing and regular open days are held.

Location

1887 - 1947
Location - St Magdalen's Retreat was situated at Princes Highway, Tempe. Location: Tempe

Timeline

 1887 - 1947 St Magdalen's Retreat
       1948 - 1982 Good Samaritan Training Centre

Run By

Related Organisations

  • House of the Good Shepherd (1848 - 1901)

    From 1887, many inmates of the House of Good Shepherd were housed at St Magdalen's Retreat and when the House of Good Shepherd closed in 1901, its residents were transferred to Tempe.

Publications

Newspaper Articles

Online Resources

Photos

The laundry building at St Magdalen's Retreat, Arncliffe, 1899
Title
The laundry building at St Magdalen's Retreat, Arncliffe, 1899
Type
Image
Date
1899
Source
Bayside Council Library

Details

St Magdalen's Retreat, circa 1965
Title
St Magdalen's Retreat, circa 1965
Type
Image
Date
1965
Source
Bayside Council Library

Details

Sources used to compile this entry: 'Tempe House & St Magdalen's Chapel', in State Heritage Register, NSW Office of Environment and Heritage, 1999-, http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/heritageapp/ViewHeritageItemDetails.aspx?ID=5045451; Quinn, Peter E, Unenlightened efficiency: the administration of the juvenile correction system in New South Wales 1905-1988, University of Sydney, History, 27 March 2006, http://hdl.handle.net/2123/623; Thinee, Kristy and Bradford, Tracy, Connecting Kin: Guide to Records, A guide to help people separated from their families search for their records [completed in 1998], New South Wales Department of Community Services, Sydney, New South Wales, 1998, http://nma.gov.au/blogs/inside/files/2011/02/connectkin_guide1.pdf.

Prepared by: Naomi Parry