St Johns Orphanage, NSW
St John’s Orphanage looms ominously over a raised suburban area in the township of Goulburn. The facility opened in 1913 and operated initially as a home for wayward boys. Later years would see its intake extend to girls as a result of a dwindling need to house homeless males, who were perhaps viewed as useful farmhands and put to work as agricultural labourers. Governed by the Catholic Church, the orphanage provided both displaced and wayward youths with a stern religious and agricultural education.
Inside, a charred narrow staircase leads to the former nuns’ quarters and bathrooms. A sinister energy hangs heavy within the gloomy structure. Known for its dark and contentious past, previous residents often speak of the abuses they endured whilst housed at St John’s.
Closing in 1978, all last remaining residents were placed in homes in surrounding townships. The following year, a youth missionary organisation commenced governance of the property. In 1994, the facility was abandoned and has since fallen victim to a succession of incidents involving vandalism and fires. In 2015 a large blaze resulted in the collapse of a huge chunk of the buildings front facade, leaving one third of the former orphanage in ruins.