Council move to keep Catholic hospital memory alive

Following the sale of the former St John of God Hospital in Goulburn (NSW), the city's mayor has written to the nuns who ran the hospital to request retention of statues and part of the name.

The Goulburn Post reported on Wednesday that Mayor Paul Stephenson has confirmed that he will be meeting the area health service's CEO on next week to discuss the retention of statues at the former St John of God Hospital in Goulburn.

"We would like to try and keep some part of the name but this depends entirely on agreements between Sisters of St Johns and the health service," Cr Stephenson said. "The Sisters have written into the contract that the name can't be used or any derivative of it. We've asked them to revisit this."

He said the council had told the Sisters that the people of Goulburn would like to retain some of the statues on site.

Cr Stephenson is pushing the area health service to buy the site when its current lease expires.

Meanwhile a spokesperson for St John of God Health Care said the Sisters refused to respond to points raised by Taralga Parish Priest Fr Paul McGavin in his letter to the Goulburn Post published last Friday.

In this letter, Fr McGavin claimed that no order owned the name of a saint and that stripping the name from the hospital was an attempt to make the buildings more saleable to a secular buyer.

"Corporate benefits are maximised by shedding the name because the assets are then more marketable to secular buyers," Fr McGavin said.

"That is the basic reason why there is the stripping of the name and the religious iconography in order to secure a sale to a secular operator who might put a higher bid on the assets with the removal of the religious identity, and with the removal of the historic community identity.

Statues again on agenda (Goulburn Post 17/8/05)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
St John of God Goulburn
Goulburn Mulwaree Council
Archdiocese of Canberra-Goulburn: Taralga Parish

19 Aug 2005