The Good Shepherd Home for Girls, situated in Mitchelton, was run by the Sisters of the Good Shepherd. Initially set up in 1930, the institution focused on the reformation of girls and the care of poor, neglected children. The name was changed to Mt Maria Re-Education Centre in 1966.
According to the publication A Piece of the Story (1999), the Good Shepherd Home for Girls, also known as the Industrial School for Girls, Mitchelton, was licensed in 1933 under the State Children Act 1911. The home stood on a commanding hill in an area of 87 acres. The building was dedicated by Archbishop of Brisbane, James Duhig.
In the 1950s and 1960s, the Good Shepherd Home for Girls was one of 3 denominational (ie, non-government) institutions for the reception of 'delinquent girls', who were sometimes referred to as 'incorrigible'.
It was a large, dormitory-style facility - according to the 1999 report of the Commission of Inquiry into Abuse of Children in Queensland Institutions, it accommodated between 30 and 50 'State girls', as well as a similar number of young women and girls with intellectual disabilities. In 1958, the Home's 2 dormitories were converted into recreational group rooms (p.143).
The report of the Commission of Inquiry stated that 13 former residents of Good Shepherd Home (and its successor, the Mt Maria Re-education Centre) gave evidence about their time at the institution. Three of the former residents spoke favourably about the institution (p.142).
The report stated that the Home's laundry 'for the instruction of the girls' was a major source of income. The inquiry heard evidence of former residents being made to work long hours 'at monotonous tasks and in trying conditions'.
The report also stated that solitary confinement was used at Good Shepherd Home (and the other two institutions for juvenile offending girls) 'as a means of disciplining particularly troublesome girls, especially those who repeatedly attempted to abscond' (p.145).
One former resident of the Home, Lucy Bartholomew (Beutel), emailed the Find & Connect web resource in 2013 to share her positive recollections of her time spent at the institution:
I was in Mt Maria in about 1964 to 1966. I have nothing but good memories of my time there. Mother Veronica was the head nun, I want to say that today at 63, I am a well adjusted, educated, mother of three grown sons, and happy that I attended the institution. I believe I would have been on the streets, if not for those nuns.
1930 - 1966 Good Shepherd Home for Girls
1966 - 1973 Mt Maria Re-Education Centre, Mitchelton
c. 1973 - 1974 Mt Maria Youth Centre
Sources used to compile this entry: 'A Piece of the Story': National Directory of Records of Catholic Organisations Caring for Children Separated from Families, Australian Catholic Social Welfare Commission & Australian Conference of Leaders of Religious Institutes, 1999, https://cssa.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/A-Piece-of-the-Story.pdf. p. 76-77.; Commission of Inquiry into Abuse of Children in Queensland Institutions, Report of the Commission of Inquiry into Abuse of Children in Queensland Institutions, Queensland. Department of Families, Youth and Community Care, Brisbane, 1999. pp.142-149.; Department of Families, Missing pieces: information to assist former residents of children's institutions to access records, State of Queensland, 2001. p.52.; Email from Lucy Bartholomew to the Find & Connect web resource, 1 April 2013.
Prepared by: Lee Butterworth
Created: 10 April 2013, Last modified: 17 March 2015