FATHER Rex Hackett leads the processional for the St Joseph’s Cowper Grafton Centenary Mass yesterday at the Mary Immaculate Church, Cowper. Photo Debrah Novak.
FATHER Rex Hackett leads the processional for the St Joseph’s Cowper Grafton Centenary Mass yesterday at the Mary Immaculate Church, Cowper. Photo Debrah Novak.

Cowper orphanage centenary celebrated

THE old and the new combined to take part in the cutting of the cake to commemorate the centenary of St Joseph's Cowper orphanage yesterday.

The CEO of Cowper St Joseph's, Sue McKimm, said the oldest living former resident of the orphanage, Dympna Sheehey and the youngest staff member, Claudia Woodbridge, did the honours of cutting the ceremonial cake.

A crowd of 300 people gathered at the Mary Immaculate Church, Cowper, for a celebratory Mass, followed by a luncheon.

The gathering included many Sisters of Mercy, who worked at the orphanage when it operated at Cowper and also when it moved to its North St, Grafton site in 1972.

There were also many former residents of the orphanage and students of the school, which ran for a time at the orphanage as well as community benefactors.

Also present were two members of the original board of the orphanage when it was incorporated in 1980, David Abrahams and Bill Dougherty.

Ms McKimm said sales of a book about the orphanage from 1913 to its move to Grafton, St Joseph's Orphanage Cowper - A Community Project, were outstanding.

"The book was launched at the centenary and sold 300 copies," she said.

"The book was compiled by Sr Judith Weiley and includes a lot of information and photographs from the early days of the orphanage."

The book is available from the Sisters of Mercy in Grafton and Cowper Homes in North St.



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