About This Site

Welcome to the Sisters of Charity of Australia Pioneer Sites blog.

Our pioneer Sisters, the Irish Sisters of Charity, the first “women religious”  to come to Australia in 1838 as missionaries, are inextricably linked with the story of the early Australian colony. This blog offers a visual trail into the places of the colony they knew and experienced.

The images help us to understand the challenges presented to them by this new country. Imagine yourselves with them as they learned to live in a new land – visiting the poor, sick, and prisoners, as well as teaching doctrine, needlework and lacemaking in Sydney’s Catholic schools.

Three of the five pioneer Sisters: Mother Mary John Cahill, Sr Mary Xavier Williams and Sr Mary De Sales O’Brien. No images of Srs Mary Laurence Cator and Mary Baptist De Lacy are known to exist.


5 responses to “About This Site

  1. janet mitchell

    mary gibbons was also my gggrandmother .my grandfather was angus arther randall.Ihave been researhing my family and am happy to find this imformation.thanking you janet mitchell

    • Noel Wilkinson (Mrs)

      Hullo Janet I would be happy to correspond re this family off site. I have researched Thomas Randall as well as Mary Gibbons and would like to exchange information. Regards Noel Wilkinson

  2. We were delighted to discover your site and look forward to more stories from the Sisters.

    Best Wishes,
    From the Librarians With Altitude


    Good evening
    I find your site most interesting as it is possible that my family has several connections with both the Sisters of Charity and the Good Samaritans. My great great grandmother, Mary Gibbons, was a convict who would appear to have spent most of the period from 1829 till 1834 at the Parramatta Female Factory. She received her certificate of freedom in 1834 and in that year married another convict, Thomas Randall, who was signalmaster at Parramatta. Her second daughter, Mary Scholastica Randall was my great grandmother, who married Frederick Peter Saunders at St Patrick’s, Parramatta in 1855. I have often wondered if after Mary Gibbon’s marriage whether Mary had a continued connection to the Female Factory and thus Sister Scholastica of the Sisters of Charity and the Good Samaritans resulting in the naming of her daughter. There are several family connections with both these orders and I would be interested in further research. Any suggestions you might have in this regard would be much appreciated

    • Hello Mrs Wilkinson
      Thank you for your comments. It poses an interesting question. We have limited records for these early years in our Archives. Perhaps Mary Gibbons may have a connection to Mother Scholastica’s birthplace. We do know that Mother Scholastica’s family were from Kinsale, Co.Cork, and if you could find the trial records for the lady in question, they would also give her place of origin. Geraldine Henrietta Gibbons (Sr Scholastica Gibbons) entered the Convent at Parramatta in 1844, and was professed in 1847, the year the Sisters were recalled from Parramatta to Sydney. She would have been in formation when the Sisters were visiting the Factory, and certainly would have been taken as a companion to the Factory. The Good Samaritan Archives in Glebe, NSW, may have further records. Good luck.

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