News

Witness retells harrowing experience at Neerkol Orphanage

UPDATE 3.15PM: Former Neerkol Orphanage resident Mary Adams has taken the stand to retell her harrowing experience when she was a resident in the 1950s and 1960s.

She has told of the severe physical and sexual abuse she endured from a Father John, who was relieving at the orphanage during a Sisters of Mercy retreat.

The commission also heard of the emotional evidence by a witness  who said she was raped "well over 100 times" by a priest at St Joseph's Neerkol Orphanage Rockhampton in central Queensland.

EARLIER: EIGHTEEN witnesses, including Neerkol Orphanage survivors and Sisters of Mercy representatives, will share their stories at a public hearing as the Royal Commission into the institution gets underway.

Today marks a significant milestone for more than a dozen survivors, who lived at the orphanage between the 1940s and the mid-1970s.

These survivors will tell their stories of the misconduct that took place at Neerkol Orphanage between 1940 and 1975.

The orphanage is plagued by a dark history, with stories of children being raped and beaten at the institution by a former chaplain, Sisters of Mercy nuns and a former groundsman.

Among those expecting to be called to give evidence on behalf of the Catholic Church was Truth, Justice and Healing Council chief executive Francis Sullivan.

The council was set up in December 2012 as a single representative body for the Catholic Church during the Royal Commission hearings into child sex and abuse across Australia.

Mr Sullivan said he was expecting the current head of the Sisters of Mercy institution and former Rockhampton bishop Brian Heenan to be among the 18 witnesses to be cross-examined during the hearing over the next two weeks.

"This latest hearing will see the leaders of both the Sisters of Mercy and the Rockhampton Diocese explain and be fully transparent about what happened at the time and also what has been put in place since to help former residents," Mr Sullivan said.

The hearing will be streamed live on the Royal Commission into Child Sex and Abuse website.

Neerkol's history

The institution was built in 1885, under the name the Meteor Park Orphanage, to accommodate children transferred from St Joseph's Orphanage in Bucasia.

It closed in 1978 when the children were transferred to Family Group Homes.

 

Topics:  neerkol, neerkol orphanage, royal commission into child sex abuse




Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

3 easy dinner recipes your kids will love, and so will you

No Caption

THERE is a middle ground! Dinners fit for kids and adults.

How to reduce your child's risk of food allergies

ABOUT 90% of food allergies are caused by just seven foods.

5 good mental health habits for kids (and parents)

CRYING OUT FOR HELP: The demand for counselling support for children and young people is increasing.

FORMING good habits early is critical for your child's mental health.

Smack or no smack - where do you stand?

THE debate is reignited - is smacking acceptable?

Susie O'Neill: Why I stopped smacking my children

Swimming legend Susie O'Neill says she has stopped smacking her kids.

“I (smacked) because that’s what I knew growing up."

Introducing a step-parent into the family

Introducing a step-parent into the family can be stressful for the children, as well as the new parent.

THERE is no easy way to introduce a step parent into the family.

Here's how to stay busy this weekend

TRY TIME: The CQ Capras will play the ISC front runners the Burleigh Bears at Browne Park tonight. Kick off is 6pm.

48 hour planner for this weekend

Yeppoon up with the state's best as house prices rebound

Agent Adam Cook (right) says coast homes are now more affordable.

Capricorn Coast homes, once out of reach, are now more affordable

Lauga: It's not up to the state to fund Putney erosion wall

Keppel MP says 50 year lease documents outline responsibilities

Latest deals and offers

Justice Lucy McCallum

Justice Lucy McCallum

Justice Lucy McCallum says she reduced Oliver Curtis's sentence due to comments...

Anthony Lynham on the Mount Morgan Mine

Queensland Minister for Natural Resources and Mines, Dr Anthony Lynham talks about...

Fitroy Basin River report 2014-5

Nathan Johnston announces the 2014-15 Waterway health report card at the Fitzroy...

Yeppoon up with the state's best as house prices rebound

Agent Adam Cook (right) says coast homes are now more affordable.

Capricorn Coast homes, once out of reach, are now more affordable

Is this state’s cheapest house?

BARGAIN BUY: Is this North Bundaberg property the cheapest home in Queensland?

Becoming a real estate mogul is all about risk and reward