Heritage tour 25 August 2013

Following the Parish Mass on Sunday 25th August, two busloads of Sisters from near and far set off on a brief ‘whistle-stop’ tour of some of the significant places for the Whanganui Sisters within the city.

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First stop for all was the Whanganui River and the site of the original wharf where the little steamer ‘Wakatu’ berthed at 6am on the morning of 24th April1880.  Sisters Hyacinth Quinlan, Joseph Kinsella, Clare Rubie and Teresa Schmitt had arrived from Perthville NSW, and once parishioners were hastily assembled, they were escorted up to the Parish Church.
That was the next point on the tour as the buses travelled up the Avenue and passed by the site of the first Convent built for the early Sisters.

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Not far away the next stop was at the ‘old’ Heads Road Cemetery where many of the early Sisters were buried.  There were special moments for all as they saw the many names and the relatively young ages of many of these women.  All joined in singing several hymns to St Joseph – hymns that would have been sung by these early Sisters.

Across the city then, and on past a small residence near the present church which also serves as Josophia Craft Shop.  Around the corner is Quinlan Court Retirement Complex, where several Sisters are living.  The resident Sisters accompanied by other residents and staff, were all ready to wave and call as the buses crawled past. 

The tour left the flat land of the city behind as it carried on up St John’s Hill to Oakland Avenue where Sacred Heart College had been built in 1912.  The original Chapel was seen but due to earthquake strengthening a visit inside was not possible.

A short distance away and Mt St Joseph came into view.  Careful maneuvering by the drivers brought all down the drive to the Main Building for lunch.  This was another opportunity for Sisters to mix and mingle and for the Whanganui Sisters to show all around what has been their Administration Centre.   In notes given to all, mention was made of the Josephite Retreat Centre which also uses the building, particularly the Conference Room and Quiet Room.

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Options were given after lunch for brief visits to The Archives, Nazareth Rest Home on the same site, down the hillside to the developing Nga Punanga wetlands or just an easy amble around the grounds. 

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Before re-boarding the buses, opportunity was taken to thank the staff who had been tireless in their care and support leading up to, and over the days of celebration.  All those gathered in the courtyard sang their appreciation.

Mid-afternoon we were back on the buses as the heritage tour continued on its way upriver.  The buses passed by the present Cullinane College, which was an amalgamation of the Josephite Sacred Heart College and the Marist Fathers St Augustine’s College in 2003.  Further along was St Mary’s School, which is on the site of the one of the first suburban primary Schools of the Sisters – Holy Infancy.  From there on it was over the Whanganui Awa, and on to the Kaiwhaiki Marae.

More photos in Gallery – Heritage tour

Gallery / Whakaahua

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