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Mercies looking into missing cash

The Melbourne Congregation of the Sisters of Mercy is said to be investigating whether to call in police over a substantial amount of money missing from an art centre run in bayside Black Rock.

The Congregation closed the centre in late September after a creative partnership between two sisters ended following withdrawal of external funding. Sisters Margaret Broadbent and Gael O'Leary have lived on the site and for about 10 years ran an art centre producing their own well-regarded works and offering art classes to residents.

The Age reports today that Deputy Congregatinal Leader Sr Joan Wilson admits "a lot of money is missing, but she won't say how much". She says it is being investigated, the police might be brought in and criminal charges laid. Nearby residents say they have been told the missing amount is $14,000. She stresses that there is no suggestion that either of the nuns is involved in the disappearance.

The paper says there is another dimension to the closure - the attractiveness of the site. Sr Margaret said that a few months before the closure she had been alarmed when she spotted a man she did not know photographing the property. "I questioned his right to invade our privacy," she said. The land of about 4500 square metres is on a hill in a desirable area, has views and no heritage controls over the buildings. Local estate agents estimate a value of $2 million to $3.5 million.

Nuns in missing-cash probe (The Age 15/11/04)

Mercy Art and Creativity Centre
Sisters of Mercy Melbourne Congregation

15 Nov 2004