St Joseph's Home (Neerkol Orphanage)

St Joseph's Home, Neerkol (near Rockhampton) was run by the Sisters of Mercy. The Home was commonly referred to as 'Neerkol' or 'Meteor Park' Orphanage. It was built in 1885 to accommodate children transferred from St Joseph's Orphanage, Bucasia. Over 4,000 boys and girls lived at Neerkol throughout its years of operation, including child migrants from Britain. It closed in 1978 when the children were transferred to Family Group Homes. In the 1990s, allegations of abuse against residents of St Joseph's Home, Neerkol received public attention. Sixty-four former residents and staff gave evidence to the Forde Inquiry in Queensland.

In March 2016, the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in Case Study 26 found that the scale of abuse at Neerkol Orphanage was quite extensive and horrific. Between 1950 to 1970, the Royal Commission found that hundreds of children were beaten, molested and raped at St Joseph's over the three decades up until the late 1970s. In summary, the Royal Commission concluded that the horrific and systematic sexual abuse that occurred at the orphanage raised the following systematic issues:

  • policies and procedures for reporting child sexual abuse;

  • complaint-handling procedures;

  • monitoring and oversight of children in out-of-home care;

  • requisite elements of a ‘child safe’ institution; and

  • maintaining of records.

Artemis Legal has represented and is still representing clients who were victims of child sexual abuse at Neerkol Orphanage and other institutions run by the Sisters of Mercy.

We invite former victims to contact us to tell us confidentially what information they may have, and we will explain what options are available to help with these cases.

Call us or complete the confidential enquiry form below.