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St Joseph's Home, Neerkol

Bucasia, the thriving seaside suburb eight miles from Mackay which is named after the pioneer priest Fr Peter Marie Bucas, was the site  of one of the State's first homes for needy children.  Established there in 1874 it was the forerunner of St Joseph's Home, Neerkol, twenty kilometers west of Rockhampton.  Because of certain health problems, the children of Bucasia were relocated to Neerkol.  St Joseph's Home opened with 75 children from Mackay and 17 from the Townsville orphanage.  Soon there were 103 children in the home.

Over the years the Home flourished, numerous buildings were erected and children were educated and attended to in an environment of farming and grazing activities.  In time the property of 3,000 acres ran 1,000 head of cattle, a dairy herd, poultry, and raised food crops.  the home was self sufficient, with the baking of all bread done there.

By 1920 its chapel served as the Parish Church for the surrounding district with Father James Cassar as the first Parish Priest.  Fr. Cassar's grave lies within the bound of the property.

Children were presented for the State scholarship examination.  Boys were taught woodwork, sheet metal work and leather craftsmanship, while girls were taught home science.  A projector provided pictures and the children were often entertained in the city as well as at the home.  In addition every child was given a holiday at the institution's seaside home at Emu Park during the summer holidays. 

In October 1950, a total of 200 children (including 35 British boys and girls brought to Australia by Bishop Andrew Tynan under the child migration scheme), were residing at the home.

All sports were encouraged and usually boys and girls were maintained until they were 14 years of age, except children preparing for secondary school.  A number of past residents of St Joseph's Home did their share in the defense of the Empire during two world wars.

Burials At Neerkol Private Cemetery

Anderson Francis Joseph 2/12 25/02/1915
Beckman May 2 24/10/1901
Blake Maud Emily 2 12/02/1916
Bonel Aldolphus Philip 11 13/02/1886
Bowden Ernest 9 10/04/1917
Bryson Ernest 5 23/06/1899
Cassar James 79 07/05/1927
Cifuentes Elizabeth 2 28/06/1887
Clifford Pauline Mabel 6/12 31/12/1914
Dempsey John 9 20/02/1886
Doyle John Lawrence 10 04/06/1894
Dwyer John 1 29/01/1886
Gough William Piggot 11 08/03/1923
Grading Colin James 4 10/12/1918
Hayes Walter 8 18/06/1899
Hickey Catherine Annie 2/12 19/01/1913
Kelly William Joseph 64 17/03/1972
Kenny Veronica Penn 9/12 30/12/1915
Lalley Elizabeth 8 12/06/1894
Levy Horace 5/12 31/12/1914
Linehan Hannah 3 17/04/1889
Mather Elizabeth 1 04/12/1909
McArthur John 6 19/02/1886
McLean May 2 12/12/1898
McEnroe Patrick 9 19/07/1889
McMullen Sarah Ann 80 12/05/1930
Melling Stella Beryl 4 14/02/1916
Mooney Horace 3/12 22/02/1915
Mulvale Catherine 15/12 27/02/1886
Powell Robert John 3 08/04/1901
Quinn Edward 7 25/04/1896
Rimstone Augustus 4 29/12/1886
Rimstone Louisa 1 29/01/1886
Rooney Alice 3 19/02/1886
Sindon Phyllis Violet 7/12 05/12/1914
Skien Mary 10/12 23/11/1915
Walker Edna May 1 23/01/1916
Walter Thomas Callis 6 15/02/1903
Wilkinson Harold 3 18/02/1917
Wilson Francis David 72 20/01/1978

 

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