St John’s Orphanage in Goulburn to be demolished

Hannah Sparks 23 July 2021 145
Exterior of dilapidated St John's Orphanage in Goulburn

The dilapidated St John’s Orphanage in Goulburn will soon be demolished. Photo: Robyn MacRae.

The owner of the historic St John’s Orphanage at 52 Mundy Street in Goulburn has been ordered to demolish the main building and three outbuildings that have been severely damaged by fires since 2016.

John Ferrara has 90 days to demolish the three outbuildings.

Goulburn Mulwaree Council will discuss the timeframe for demolition of the main building, and preservation of some of the property’s artefacts and historical elements with Mr Ferrara.

Council agreed the front area of the block, including the masonry boundary wall, driveway, forecourt and remnant trees and shrubs should be retained and restored to conserve the original building setting.

Mr Ferrara will also need to salvage significant features such as the crucifix and foundation plaque.

Meanwhile, the main building will be professionally recorded with drawings and photographs for an archival record.

Mr Ferrara, who also owns Goulburn Airport, had been attempting to build units inside the main building that was home to more than 2500 children between 1912 and 1978.

He received council approval in 2004 to build 75 retirement units onsite, but work never began and now he has plans to increase that number to 150.

Mr Ferrara said he would comply with the demolition order and build a new block of units on the land.

Historical artist’s impression of St John’s Orphanage in Goulburn

An early artist’s impression of St John’s Orphanage in Goulburn. Photo: File.

“It doesn’t worry me – parts of it I had to do [knock down] anyway,” he said.

Mr Ferrara said he has a meeting with council next month to discuss his latest development plan.

During the years, vandals and squatters have accessed the property and caused damage to the buildings and lit numerous fires.

The most extensive damage was caused by a series of fires in 2016, but blazes have been an ongoing issue and the most recent one was in June 2021.

Mr Ferrara said he has been saddened by the fires.

“These vandals have cost me a lot of money,” he said.

St John's Orphanage foundation stone

The St John’s Orphanage foundation stone and other artefacts will be saved from demolition. Photo: Robyn MacRae.

Some of the buildings also contain asbestos and have begun to collapse, posing a health and safety issue to the public and neighbouring properties.

A fence was erected around the property to keep trespassers out, but without anyone living on the site, it’s been easy for people to sneak through in the cover of darkness.

While the orphanage is recognised by council as a building of local heritage and social significance, it isn’t heritage listed.

Former orphanage residents have been upset by the deterioration of the buildings and many of them will be happy to see them go.

“About 90 per cent of us want to see it demolished,” former resident Phil Merrigan previously told Region Media. “It held memories and had a soul at one time, but those were lost in the fires.

“We tried hard to stop the building from falling into a state of disrepair, even trying to clean it up about 15 years ago and acting as a mediator between council and owner at one stage, but we’re over it now.”

Original Article published by Hannah Sparks on About Regional.


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145 Responses to St John’s Orphanage in Goulburn to be demolished
Rachel Henderson Rachel Henderson 9:36 pm 30 Jul 21

Brad Harriott that’s sad

Jessy Gray Jessy Gray 7:03 am 30 Jul 21

Rechelle Gray you going for one last look ?? Lol ..... Last chance to go delete those pics there before ur haunted for ever 😯 LoL

Georgia Burleigh Georgia Burleigh 6:45 pm 29 Jul 21

Jess Robertson is this that haunted place we went to 😵‍💫🤣

    Michele Robertson Michele Robertson 6:49 pm 29 Jul 21

    Georgia Burleigh lucky we got lost in it before it’s gone forever, funny day that 😂😂

    Georgia Burleigh Georgia Burleigh 6:52 pm 29 Jul 21

    Michele Robertson i can still hear the ghosts 🥴🤣

    Jess Robertson Jess Robertson 7:21 pm 29 Jul 21

    Georgia Burleigh yes!!! 😳😂

Janelle O'Brien Janelle O'Brien 4:16 pm 29 Jul 21

There's a lot of men saying that it should have been done years ago I remember when I was at high school and the then boys would come to school with belt marks on their skinny legs and were told not to say anything or talk to anyone DISGRACEFUL THAT THIS EVER HAPPENED

Jet Godfrey Jet Godfrey 8:21 am 29 Jul 21

This joint looks haunted as

Lesley Henderson Lesley Henderson 10:12 pm 28 Jul 21

Chris Ayre this should make any kid stay in their bed

Sandra Waters-Mulville Sandra Waters-Mulville 6:52 pm 28 Jul 21

Samantha Stanlez I remember the photos you took here. You were such a great photographer.

    Samantha Stanlez Samantha Stanlez 7:12 pm 28 Jul 21

    Sandra Waters-Mulville i still have those photos :)

    Thanks to my new job I've been inspired to get back into photography too 🥰

    Sandra Waters-Mulville Sandra Waters-Mulville 7:21 pm 28 Jul 21

    Samantha Stanlez I have them saved as well.

Steve Luby Steve Luby 4:15 pm 28 Jul 21

This place represents the utter sadness,despair and abuse at the hands of evil satanic overloards pretending to be good and peaceful under gods name.This place should be incinerated and a memorial to the victims placed as a reminder to those that have lost their lives in the proceedings years afterwards and the survivors.

Jess Summerfield Jess Summerfield 2:30 pm 28 Jul 21

Alex Guascoine-Johnson road trip?

Nora Jane Nora Jane 2:25 pm 28 Jul 21

Probably a good thing as I heard bad things about that place in it’s day. Beautiful building tho sad to see go

Joyce Zhang Joyce Zhang 1:15 pm 28 Jul 21

Tayla Radford oddly sad about this

    Tayla Radford Tayla Radford 3:31 pm 28 Jul 21

    Joyce Zhang we should have snuck in when we could

Maddy Attenborough Maddy Attenborough 1:14 pm 28 Jul 21

Lauren Jane Horton oofffttt

Bernadette Campbell Bernadette Campbell 10:23 am 28 Jul 21

Quarantine Centre?????

Lorraine Sams Lorraine Sams 8:55 am 28 Jul 21

This is terrible we are all talking about recycling this historic building could be rebuilt and kept for heritage or repurposed many people are moving to the rural regions this would be a perfect to house them

Stacy Marie Stacy Marie 8:16 am 28 Jul 21

Like the church doesn’t have enough $$ to restore it?

Katherine Boland Katherine Boland 11:18 pm 27 Jul 21

What an amazing building. Why can't it be saved and rnovated?

Michelle Kelly Michelle Kelly 8:25 pm 27 Jul 21

This is terrible. Why isn’t it heritage listed?

    Mark Vine Mark Vine 9:08 am 28 Jul 21

    Michelle Kelly ....cause there is nothing special about it. Pull it down and make better use of the land.

Stephen Esdaile Stephen Esdaile 8:06 pm 27 Jul 21

I loved that building. I hated the cult my parents joined that lived there, but the building was absolutely wonderful. Hidden areas under stairs (which we got in trouble for exploring), stone cellars under the building (which we got in trouble for exploring), a rambling attic with a trapdoor that opened behind the central façade onto the rooftop (which we got in *massive* trouble for exploring), stairs everywhere, an old projection room and theatre/gymnasium, carved wooden stair rails (which we regularly got in trouble for sliding down 😛), a strange Catholic grotto which we desecrated with joy (and never got caught), outbuildings stuffed with old tools and wood and machinery smells, a laundry that could swallow my house and bathrooms that that could have swallowed the laundry twice over...

Trudy Parker Trudy Parker 7:04 pm 27 Jul 21

Is there any others commenting here that were in the orphanage as a child ? I’d love to hear from u , I was one of them 😊

Lynette Flanagan Lynette Flanagan 6:10 pm 27 Jul 21

Mick D Jones its going

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