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Victoria - Organisation

Convent of the Good Shepherd, Bendigo (1905 - 1984)

From
1905
To
1984
Categories
Catholic, Children's Home and Home
Alternative Names
  • Maryfields (Also known as)
  • St Aidan's Children's Centre (Also known as)
  • St Aidan's Orphanage (Also known as)

The Convent of the Good Shepherd, Bendigo was established in 1905. It was also known as St Aidan's Orphanage, and was the only Good Shepherd Convent in Australia to care for boys. The section named 'St Aidan's' accommodated girls aged up to around 16 years, as well as boys aged up to around 11. 'Maryfields' housed girls and women aged from around 15 years. The Convent ceased to operate as a residential facility for children in 1981. A number of women with disabilities remained at the Convent until it closed in 1984.

Details

Convent of the Good Shepherd, Bendigo was established at the request of the Bishop to cater for the many homeless children in the diocese.

Heritage Victoria describes St Aidan's Orphanage as 'landmark buildings [that] dominated the surrounding countryside, giving a high visibility to the charitable works of the Catholic Church and making a compelling statement about its authority.'

In the early 1930s the Sisters received a grant of £7000 from the state government's Unemployment Relief Fund to build a two-storey building to the east of the original building at St Aidan's. This was a major project in the Bendigo area during the Depression. The new building was opened by the Premier in 1931.

In April 1956, 'St Aidan's Orphanage' was declared an approved children's home under the Children's Welfare Act 1954.

The Convent of the Good Shepherd, Bendigo operated as a residential care facility for children until 1981. A number of women with disabilities remained in care at Bendigo Convent from 1977, until the sale of the Convent to Girton College in 1984.

Location

1905 - 1977
Location - The Convent of the Good Shepherd was located in St Aidan's Road, Kennington, Bendigo. Location: Bendigo

Publications

Books

  • Davis, Donna with Amy Willesee, Sins of the mothers: a memoir of abandonment, love and redemption, Pan Macmillan, Sydney, 2006. Details
  • Gamble, Sandi, Broken - An extraordinary story of survival by one of Australia's forgotten children, Ambitions (QLD) Pty Ltd, 2013, 426 pp. Details
  • Kovesi, Catherine, Pitch Your Tents on Distant Shores: a history of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd in Australia, Aotearoa/New Zealand and Tahiti, Playright Publishing, Caringbah, NSW, 2006. Details

Online Resources

Photos

St Aidan's House
Title
St Aidan's House
Type
Image

Details

St Aidan's Orphanage
Title
St Aidan's Orphanage
Type
Image

Details

Negative - Bendigo, Victoria, circa 1920
Title
Negative - Bendigo, Victoria, circa 1920
Type
Image
Date
c. 1920

Details

St Aidan's Orphanage, Bendigo
Title
St Aidan's Orphanage, Bendigo
Type
Image
Date
c. 1950

Details

Sources used to compile this entry: 'St Aidan's Orphanage [Victorian Heritage Register No H2057]', in Victorian Heritage Database, Heritage Council of Victoria, http://vhd.heritage.vic.gov.au/places/heritage/12952.

Prepared by: Cate O'Neill