Glenys Kirkwood is about to auction off her family house. Photo Allan Reinikka / The Morning Bulletin
Glenys Kirkwood is about to auction off her family house. Photo Allan Reinikka / The Morning Bulletin Allan Reinikka

Former home of Franciscan Sisters goes under the hammer

REMNANTS of rosary beads caught in the floorboards and the Sacred Heart Convent shield serve as reminders to Gladys Kirkwood of those who once lived in her 1900s Queenslander.

Gladys is about to auction off her property which she bought in 1982 from the Catholic Trust of Rockhampton.

She said her family saved the house and its history from being demolished and when they bought the home, they relocated it from the grounds of what is now The Cathedral College to the Koongal area.

"Not long after we moved the home a number of the Franciscan Sisters came back to Rockhampton for a visit and were brought to see where 'their' house was," Gladys said.

"Of course we invited them in and they were so excited, darting from room to room, telling us in broken English where their bedrooms had been and what the other rooms had been used for in their time; it was quite a lovely experience."

Gladys said some of the nuns had lived in the house for 24 years and the sisters were pleased the house was being used by a family with children.

The old Queenslander which was known as the 'old Cathedral Presbytery' was lived in by priests who were a part of the cathedral staff.

Around 1951 the priests were replaced by the Missionary Handmaids of the Blessed Sacrament who were Italian nuns.

The Franciscan Sisters of the Heart of Jesus were the last group of people to reside in the house and establish the Sacred Heart Convent in the very same home.

Gladys said the nuns lived in the home for 24 years before moving to another residence.

"We have the remnants of a rosary found caught in the floorboards and the original Sacred Heart Convent shield that marked the property," she said.

Gladys said the house would be auctioned on November 21 and it was a regrettable sale.

"We have held four family weddings here and I think we've been a small part of the Rockhampton economy because I've lost count of the number of interstate visitors we've hosted," she said.

"Regrettably I need to downsize, so the property is being auctioned but I am happy to pass the house onto the next family lucky enough to call this place their home.

"It's been a lovely peaceful place to live in and I can't help but wonder if its history has anything to do with that."

House History

Sold for £430 ($860) back in the early 1900s

Iron lace work on the verandas were made from iron ingots used as ballast in sailing ships from England



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