Archived News Item

ISMAPNG Rockhampton Collection Arrives in Sydney

Over many years the collections of former Sisters of Mercy congregations in Australia have been packed from various locations around the country and moved to Sydney. November 12th, 2020 marked the end of this labour-intensive process with the arrival of the last collection from Rockhampton.


Rockhampton archive boxes placed in the compactus of the ISMAPNG Archives and Heritage Centre, Leichhardt, Sydney.



Every archive collection has its own story and gives an interesting glimpse into the past.  Since the mid-1990s, the archives of Rockhampton have been highly organised and cared for by Sr. Joanne Molloy RSM, and consist of sisters’ personal records, photographs, correspondence, administrative and financial records.


Rockhampton Archive Collection: One of two large accounting books found in the basement of the boarding school building at the Range, which contains accounts and receipts from local business transactions.



On August 4th, 1873, a group of seven sisters travelled by boat from Brisbane to Rockhampton. These sisters, which included Mother Vincent Whitty, Sr. M de Sales Gorry, Benigna Desmond, Xavier Kenyon, Beatrice Ryan, novice Malachy Carroll and a postulant Bridget Whelan, settled in a small building on Kent Street, known as the ‘limestone convent’.


In 1882, the Sisters of Mercy Rockhampton became an autonomous congregation and Mother M. Agnes White became its first Superior. The sisters quickly offered care to the poor, boarding, and education for local children. In 1895, when enrolments grew and lack of space became an issue, Bishop Cani offered the sisters Stoneleigh, later known as the Range Convent.



Rockhampton Archive Collection: Photograph of the Range Convent



The Rockhampton sisters also opened the Mater Hospital in Rockhampton in 1915, the Mater Hospital in Mackay in 1927, and the Mater Hospital in Bundaberg in 1946.



Rockhampton Archive Collection: Image of the Kenmore mansion, purchased by the Sisters of Mercy, February 1915. Blessed and opened as the Mater Hospital on November 14th, 1915.



Items and photographs, like the examples found in this article, provide archivists with evidence of activities and transactions. They are valuable sources of information for future research as they capture community memories and accomplishments. The archives and heritage team look forward to discovering even more fascinating records in this wonderful collection.



(Information sourced from the ISMAPNG Rockhampton Archive Collection)

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