In 1889 Fr Noone, invited the Sisters of Saint Joseph to open a convent and school at Forth, a village within his parish. This was the second Tasmanian foundation led by Sr Francis McCarthy. The school closed in 1953 followed by the eventual closure of St Joseph’s Church (c.19 March, 1866).
Some forty years later, following a request from local parishioners willing to collaborate with the Sisters of Saint Joseph, serious renovations began on the disused former convent, church and cemetery (renamed the ‘Garden of Remembrance’). Buried here in the family grave is one of the pioneering Sisters, Josephine Johnston, who died 2nd October 1907 aged 21.
The Lions Club Forth Valley provided signage at the gates of the property indicating the historic Catholic cemetery.
With considerable support and interest from the local community the restoration work on the buildings and grounds was completed and MacKillop Hill Spirituality Centre opened its doors on 19 March 1995, the year of Mary MacKillop’s beatification.
From the time of the Centre’s establishment the MacKillop Hill Foundation Association has been a major financial contributor . Many other volunteers continue to offer their time and talent providing the necessary practical support to sustain the ministry.
For twenty-one years the restored church has provided a venue for spirituality programs and social events, with the former convent, a two-bedroom residence, renamed “Penola”.
From 2016 this property will return to the care of the Archdiocese of Hobart.
MacKillop Hill continues its ministry from nearby Tenison House, the property of the Sisters of Saint Joseph. This site includes a Chapel, Retreat accommodation, interview rooms, office and library.
We welcome people of all faiths or no particular religious persuasion.