125 year anniversary of the Sisters of St John of God’s arrival in Australia

On 25 November 1895 the Sisters of St John of God arrived in Perth, Western Australia after a long journey from Wexford, Ireland. Their arrival in Perth was significant as they would go on to provide healing and hope to the newly established colony and forever change the healthcare landscape in Australia.

23 Nov 2020

Follow their journey on the timeline below:

16 October

The Sisters of St John of God left Wexford, travelling to the port of Rosslare, Ireland from where they crossed the Irish Sea to Liverpool, United Kingdom.

17 October 

They caught the train to London, leaving from Liverpool’s Lime Street Station and arrived at Euston Station. From there, they travelled to the Port of London. 

18 October

The Sisters boarded the RMS Orizaba on the morning of 18 October. Under the command of Captain A W Clark, the Orizaba steamed out of the Port of London at 1pm.  

The Orizaba sailed down the Thames River and into the English Channel, turning west along the southern English coastline. After their first night at sea, they made a quick call into Plymouth, United Kingdom where more passengers joined those already on board.

23 October 

They reached Gibraltar Harbour in the early hours of the morning and the ship was docked while coal and other supplies were restocked. Meanwhile, the Sisters and other passengers remained on board. At noon the same day, the Orizaba steamed out of Gibraltar Harbour, and spent four travelling across the Mediterranean Sea.

26 October 

The Sisters arrived in Naples Harbour, Italy where the Orizaba was berthed for two nights. During this time, the ship was thoroughly cleaned, food and water supplies replenished and the coal stores topped up again. 

31 October

They reached Port Said in North East of Egypt and the ship was re-stocked and re-coaled again before entering the Suez Canal.
Built between 1859 and 1869, the Suez Canal is a sea-level waterway connecting the Mediterranean and Red seas. It provided the shortest maritime route between Europe and the south-east Asian and western Pacific regions 

12 November 

After monsoonal weather, Colombo Harbour was a welcome stop for a few hours while the ship was re-coaled and food and water supplies replenished.
Located on the western side of Sri Lanka, Colombo Harbour grew from a small natural harbour in the early 1880s to one of the world’s busiest sea ports by the early 1900s. In 1910, Colombo was ranked the seventh busiest port in the world.

23 November

After crossing the Indian Ocean the Sisters they reached Cape Leeuwin, the western-most tip of southern Western Australia, and the RMS Orizaba sailed along the southern coast toward Albany where she entered Princess Royal Harbour. 
After berthing at the Long Jetty, the Sisters of St John of God disembarked along with 42 other passengers and several bags of mail.

25 November

Our eight Sisters of St John of God reached Perth Railway Station at 8.30am on Monday, 25 November. 

They were greeted by the Vicar General, Father Anslem Bourke, priests, Brother Anthony O’Brien, and a number of ‘leading Catholic men’. The men walked with the Sisters up to Cathedral, where they met the Sisters of Mercy, celebrated Mass for the end of a safe journey and shared a meal.