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By A J.W.O.

This text and portrait sketch of Mr Ross appeared in The Leader, 20th  January, ,1912  (Trove (

It was in the home of the Little sisters of the Poor that I found him, working amongst his beloved flowers. Two of his old comrades were mowing a triangular patch and the heavy hay crop was being turned up to the sun by some others, rolling into ricks that were already dry. The air was sweet with the scent of flowers and new mown hay and musical whish of the schythe and the sharpening of blades,while the piping of a blackbird in a hawthorn tree gave an old world touch to the peaceful scene.


       How happy is he who crowns,

                       In shades like these,

       a youth of labour

                       with an age of ease.

Melbourne - History Bite - 1912


"My name is James Ross and I was born in Launceston, Tasmania, in 1830. My father came out from Scotland about the year 1827. In the year 1835 he came over to Victoria with Batman, who employed him as carpenter. I remember well the house where Batman lived; it was a fine place in those days, and was situated on Batman's Hill. There was a large garden full of fruit trees, and it was his custom to fill casks with apples - and leave them outside his gate so that the boys wouldn't break his trees. My brother John and I went to school, which was held in a little hut. Although I don't remember the master's name, I know lie was very good. John became a jockey, and was employed by the late G. Watson, and many's the winner he rode. He married and took a farm at Brighton; he had a large family,but they are all dead. He himself died from the bite of a rat— and went mad.


"When I was old enough I took to bullock driving, carting provisions up to the diggings. Rum was the drink in those days. We carried  two gallons on each dray; it was 18/- a gallon and we drank it all at one meeting. It took us three weeks to go to Bendigo with the drays, perhaps a few days over. The roads were little more than bush tracks and very bad.


“ It was about this-time that I carted palings with Gilbert Marshall, of Whittlesea. I saw his picture and read about him in "The Leader."Many's the yarn he used to tell about the three years he spent in the blacks' camp when he was a youngster and got lost in the bush, and now 'they -tell me he's dead. He must have been just about the same age as myself. J ohnnie Fawkner- was his god father.

"I have seen as many as 300 -500 blacks on the Merri Creek. They were the Melbourne tribe, and quite friendly. My father took on a big contract to put  houses at Heidelberg. He had to pay his carpenters £1 per day. Ilis employer went smash and my father, lost every penny. At that time he (my father) owned a fine place at the corner of Elizabeth and Collins streets. He was a fine looking, big Scotch High lander, wore kilts, and was a good performer on the bagpipes. He died when he was 56. He took to drink to drown his sorrows and disappointments. My mother was an Irish woman. She was the firstwhite woman who died and was buried in Mebourne. I was the wildest one of the family, and vet here I am and all the others are dead long ago. I used to break in horses and ride bush races, mostly at Whittlesea, Mount Gambier and Heidelberg. I have been farming for over fify years. I changed about from one farm to another, but always kept in the Western district. It is more than thirty years since I've been in Melbourne. 


“I came into this home six years ago and I never want to leave it. My wife, who is a few years younger than me, works in the laundry. We are very happy and content. We can get out once, every fortnight, but we never go. I ask you, what could you wish for better than this? I work in the garden, not because I have to but because I like it. Lots of them here never do a  hand's turn. The wonder to me is how they can do so much for us here. The good mother and the sisters are so kind and patient. We get the best of food and clothing, and often have beer for dinner, and the men who smoke get' an allowance of tobacco twice a week.

 "Am I a Catholic? Well, now I am; but I was brought up a Scotch Presbyterian.They don't talk religion to us or ask us to change, but somehow I got to love the place and the peaceful life, and then I thought I'd like to know what makes, these good women. many of them brought up in homes of luxury and ease and work so hard and deny themselves so much for a lot of poor, old, irritable men and women, for that's what the best of us are, and from many of them never a word of thanks Well, I took to going into the church that's in the centre of the building and all I know now is. that it makes me feel better and happier, and when a man comes to my time of life that's all he wants.

I have one daughter and she comes to see her mother and me every week. .We  don't need any money, there'd be nothing for us to spend it on. We live here free. Anyone that likes to work can, but no one is compelled to do anything...  Lots try, to get in, but when they hear that they have to give up their old age pensions they don't like that.This climate has changed tremendously. When I went to the diggings it was too hot in the middle of the day to. work. We used to knock off for two or three hours, and the real summer weather began in September and laste until April.  Now the summer doesn't rightly start till after Christmas. Although 1 am not a teetotaller, I have a great down on it because it was a curse in in my family, my father having lost all through it.  I had only one son, and he was drowned in the Yarra.   He was farming with me at Heidelberg at the time, and one day went over to an island to round up some horses. When coming back, his horse got into a hole, and both horse and rider were lost. It was some weeks before my son's body was found. It was a great blow to us.  He was only 21 years of age.

I don't read much, though my ' sight's as good as ever it was.  I’ve kept my eyesight and I’ve kept my hair.

That's the tea bell, so if you'll kindly excuse me I must go. It's nice to have a talk over the days that are gone.

FOOD FAIR - PERTH 1st October, 2023

The Home is fortunate to have many wonderful volunteers who follow closely all that takes place in favour of our 60 Residents, so it was no surprise when Mother Marie Bernard was approached with the idea of an International Food Fair that they had organized on two other occasions the last being in 2018. The funds were to be set aside for the maintenance of our beautiful new Home inhabited since 2019.

The date of October 1st was set and a feverish, yet organized activity began to be ready by this time. Michael and Mary Tam and Marisa Lee were those mainly responsible together with many others. It is to be noted that all were from the Asian immigrant community and who had known the Little Sisters in Singapore, Malaysia and or had heard of them in Rangoon.

During the months of August and September different parishes were invaded, with the permission of the parish priest, for tickets to be sold at $10 each, to Mass goers on Saturday evening, Sunday morning and very often evening. The volunteers were intrepid and nothing stopped them. Usually, two Little Sisters were present in a lesser role. The response by the parishioners was amazing for we are well aware that they are often solicited to help one or other good cause.

The great day arrived. St. Joseph had been put in charge of the weather, so no one was daunted by a shower of rain. Except for some wind it was a lovely day. 20 stalls had been erected in the staff car park, each one with its specialty. Our chaplain had made a chicken curry and other Asian foods were in plentiful supply prepared by our devoted staff. Bhutan, Vietnam, India, Singapore, Thailand and Germany were all there. Perhaps the most popular was the stall where Sister Marguerite Therese Emmanuel and her helpers tried to satisfy the very long queue waiting patiently for their turn to obtain a masala dossai, a great favourite. The Residents were each given tickets and could choose their cultural food. There was also a white elephant stall which did a roaring business. We were really surprised by the crowd of people who were eager to help the Home. Entertainment was provided by another volunteer and his band. The music set many young and not so young dancing. The children were delighted to receive a balloon in the form of any animal they would ask for and cleverly contrived by Sister Marie Bernadette.

Only when the crowd dispersed that the wind strengthened, and rain eventually fell. The proceeds of the day were well beyond our expectations. The volunteers were elated by their success and we, Little Sisters, can only thank them and pray for each one and their families. Thank you, St. Joseph!

Melbourne, 25th and 26th March,  2023

Our good friends and benefactors of the Iraqui community initiated this fundraising activity. They provided the delicious sausages and were on hand to keep them sizzling for the two-day event.


Our numerous and dedicated staff and volunteers joined in the preparation.  There were enough homemade cakes to last the entire time satisfying a constant stream of buyers.


The weather was perfect and contributed to the happy and relaxed atmosphere. Many of the Residents and their families attended and there was great joy all around.


One highlight of the day were the numerous people from the neighbourhood who responded to the flyers in their letter boxes.  It was great to meet them all.


The funds raised added $11,000 to our roof appeal.

Even the 21st birthday of Dominic 

was celebrated.



This Event was a great success

 financially, as well as meet, greet and have great fun.

The Soul Voices Gospel Group, with renowned leader, Michelle Cook,  enlivened the evening and the silent and  live Auction opened purses amidst much laughter.



To promote respect for life and quality care according to our Mission and the charism of St Jeanne Jugan, two new roles have been created for our Australian Homes.
A National Quality Manager and a National Mission coordinator have been appointed to educate and mentor staff and volunteers in a new model of holistic care. 

The National Quality Manager’s role will include :

  • Supporting the 3 Homes (Sydney, Melbourne and Perth)  in the understanding and implementation of innovative models of care.

  • Working in partnership with the Little Sisters and leadership teams in each Home to support compliance and best practice with a focus on resident experience

  • Effectively monitoring and report on performance, making recommendations for quality improvements

  • Work with the Little Sisters and leadership teams to develop new procedures supporting improvements and clinical practice

  • Upskill staff in clinical management systems and risk management systems

  • Monitor home level audits and ensure results are trended and improvements made with education provided if required.

  • Analyse the clinical risk, support the homes to develop action plans and monitor completion.

  • Lead the National Quality Committee and ensures that actions are implemented effectively in each home.

  • Report on compliance and clinical risk to the Provincial Council and National Advisory Group

  • Reviewing and improving change management and implementation strategies, and reporting changes/improvements to the Provincial Council

  • Direct the local team for compliance responses and assist with the consolidation of the response at the home level for;

    • Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission

    • Department of Health

Karen Hines

National Quality Manager

I have been a registered nurse for over 35 years! I have worked in many hospitals, particularly in the areas of Oncology and Accident & Emergency and in many aged care homes during this time.

In 2009 I was employed by the Little Sisters of the Poor for a 3-month contract as Quality Co-Ordinator, and I have never left!

The years that followed were interesting and I held various roles in this time. In 2018 I took over the role of Director of Nursing and in February 2023 my new role as National Quality Manager began.

This is a new position within the Little Sisters of the Poor, and I hope to share my expertise and knowledge with the sisters and staff in the 3 homes Australia wide.

Jenny Kelly

Mission Co-ordinator

My connection with the Little Sisters of the Poor started at St Joseph’s Home in Northcote, Melbourne in 1983 as a Registered Nurse. My grandfather was a past resident at St Joseph’s, so I was able to see the care the residents received which drew me to seek employment at the Little Sisters. In 1999 I began the joint role of Nursing and Quality Co-ordinator followed by Director of Nursing in my last couple of years of employment before retiring in 2011.

In 2005 I had the great privilege to become an Associate member of St. Jeanne Jugan.

My retirement in 2011 gave me the opportunity to spend more time at St Joseph’s sharing the Mission of St. Jeanne Jugan with the Sisters, residents, and staff.

Although sharing the Mission with the staff has always been a part of staff education, in late 2022 the Sisters felt that the staff would benefit from a greater awareness of the holistic care of the elderly poor which was the mission of Jeanne Jugan founded in 1839 and so the program of sharing this Mission Awareness for the staff began in 2023 across the Homes in Sydney, Perth, and Melbourne. A week is spent in each Home every six months providing small group discussions and providing the staff the opportunity to participate in the conversation thus keeping alive the charism of St. Jeanne Jugan in caring for our elderly residents with love and respect. Each staff member is invited to continue this conversation and sharing of St Jeanne Jugan’s Mission with continued support from the Sisters and greater awareness with ongoing education.

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