One of the creepiest places I have been.
St. John’s Orphanage (also known as the Goulburn Boys Orphanage) was an orphanage located in Goulburn, a town located in New South Wales, Australia. It housed only males, with a capacity of approximately 100 children from the ages of 5 to 16. The orphanage was known as a foundling orphanage, which means orphans who were placed in the orphanage had at least one parent alive. The Goulburn Boys Orphanage was opened in 1912 and closed in 1975 after decades of operation.
St. John’s Orphanage was one of the two orphanages in Goulburn. The St. John’s Home was the original establishment until it moved to Mundy Street. In the 1970s the orphanage started to take in girls, rather than being a boys only orphanage. The other orphanage was the St. Joseph’s Girls Orphanage which opened in 1906 which replaced a previous orphanage, with its foundation stone being laid much earlier than the St. John’s Orphanage (27 August 1905). EC Manfred, a prominent architect for many buildings in Goulburn, designed the orphanage. Notable politicians such as Jim Fraser, a member of Australian Parliament visited the orphanage to entertain the children who stayed in the orphanage.
During its years of operation, young or older children were always subject to beatings, labour, abuse, and neglect. limited clothing that were only washed once a week, and limited resources and facilities such as small amounts of toilets. Orphanages including St. John’s by the 1970s period all began to shut down as children were now mainly under foster care. It was proposed in 2007 to erect a memorial in Victoria Park for all children who lived all or part of their lives in a Goulburn orphanage or church institution.
I traveled to Goulburn with a few friends to look at this old orphanage. I had read stories that the area was kept secure by a grounds keeper, but it is obvious that there is no one looking after this place anymore. What is happening now, is demolition by neglect. The building and land is owned by a private land owner who wants to develop the land for housing. But the old orphanage is heritage listed so it must be preserved. So, like most people who are put in this situation. They just abandon the structure and wait for vandals and nature to destroy it. It is a sad thing, but it looks like the local council are being a bunch of dicks about it. A sad situation for all.
Full disclosure, I spent some time in boarding school and it was horrible. I hate this building, it brought back bad memories and I personally think the owner should be allowed to renovate this building into something nicer and different. It sounds like a lot of kids suffered at this place. It should be allowed to be something new. Preserve the main building. But currently in its present design, its not worth keeping. I will elaborate as we go through my photo tour.
The photos start with the main entrance. A small overgrown gate which leads to a circular driveway. A drive way that doesn’t connect to any road. As you approach the building you immediately notice how bad it is. Every window has been smashed and rubbish litters the site.
While the main entrance is closed by an iron gate, every other door and window is open. There is no issue getting into this building. But you need to be careful. There is glass literally everywhere. As we walked in we noticed a good amount of what seemed to be blood on the ground and walls. But it turned out to be fake. So we unclenched our butt cheeks and headed into the building.
All around the building are passages of text written on the walls, no doubt by the ghost hunters that visit this place. We ventured through the entire place and didn’t see one ghost. Not that I believe in that stuff.
The photos below show us entering and walking around the bottom level. We found the entrance to the basement under the stairwell. It was a hatch in the ground. Unfortunately it is so full of rubbish and old furniture that it can’t be accessed without climbing over it all.
The images below show the main hall of the building. It is one of two halls. Today it is home to birds who live in the collapsing roof. The floor is piled high with bird poop. To the side, is a small room with its walls broken open to the world and burn marks up the walls.
Next to the hall is the top balcony that overlooks the front yard. Every inch of this room is now covered in broken glass from all the shattered windows. You also start to see the problem with this building. It has had sections tacked on to it in what seems like a haphazard way. So part of the balcony contains a kitchenette and a bedroom. It seems this place really struggled to cope with housing people as this type of building is evident throughout the premises.
We also found the left overs of a padded room. What was this used for?
Below are the showers and bathrooms for the kids. This really reminded me of my old boarding school days *shudder*. These days its home to birds.
From this room you can look out across the roof of the complex. You can see in parts the roof has gaping holes or it is slowly collapsing under its own weight.
I followed a very narrow set of stairs up into the roof. Only to find more bedrooms and access into the roof. I was tempted to go further but the floor felt unsafe so I didn’t risk it.
Below is what I could see of the basement. It was packed with old furniture and I couldn’t find a safe way in to explore. It would have meant climbing over piles of stacked furniture. Nope. I would have ended up damaging stuff and probably myself too.
Eventually we ended up in the kitchen and dinning rooms. The floor was covered in brittle old plastic bottles. Hundreds of them, with more in boxes.
Our final stop was a large hall that has been used as a dump. The floor is completely covered in the remnants of the past life of the place. Clothes, appliances, AV equipment and furniture cover the floor. All of it ruined.