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Tasmania - Organisation

Sisters of the Good Shepherd (1893 - )

Care Provider, Catholic, Records Access Service and Religious Order

The Sisters of the Good Shepherd, a religious order, came to Australia in 1863. In 1893, they established the Magdalen Home in Sandy Bay. The Sisters left Tasmania in 2006.


The Sisters of the Good Shepherd founded the Good Shepherd Convent in Abbotsford, Victoria. In 1893, Archbishop Hogan of Westbury, Tasmania, requested that they establish an institution for women and girls. This became the Magdalen Home. It was attached to the Convent of the Good Shepherd, Mount St Canice which opened at the same time. As in other parts of Australia, the Sisters financed the Magdalen Home from the laundry work of the girls living there. In the 1970s, the Sisters of the Good Shepherd withdrew from residential care, in Tasmania as well as in other states.

In 1981, they gave the Mount St Canice convent to the Archdiocese in exchange for a smaller one built for them in Claremont. There, they ran the Bayview, later the Blue Line, Laundry as a sheltered workshop. In 1991, they moved to a smaller convent in Austin's Ferry because of declining numbers. By September 1999, their numbers were so small that the house was sold and all but two moved interstate. The last Sister left Tasmania in 2006.

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  • 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

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,; 'The Sisters of the Good Shepherd in Tasmania, Australia, 1893-2006', Congregation of Our Lady of the Good Shepherd, May 2006,; Gill, Alan, 'Bad girls do the best sheets', Sydney Morning Herald, 24 April 2003,

Prepared by: Cate O'Neill and Caroline Evans