Paul O'Shaughnessy - Abstracts

Paul O'Shaughnessy is a caretaker in LSAD. Here he describes his memories and impressions of the building when the art college first moved here in the 1990s and the changes that have taken place since the art college has taken over.

There was one particular lady…Her name was Elizabeth and she was one of the women in the Convent. She had moved out with the nuns but she would come back every day. Obviously one of her jobs was to feed the cats and she continued that. …She'd come in every day, 12 o'clock and 6 o'clock exactly. She'd come in the back gate and the cats were wild now. They wouldn't come near anybody but the minute she came in they would just to go over and surround her and she'd be able to feed them. It's like she was somebody special you know.

Out the front in the gardens there was two cemeteries. They were surrounded by hedging…All the nuns were buried there. Shortly after we arrived the local undertaker was here and they dug up the remains and they brought them to the local cemetery, Mount St. Oliver's.

My initial impressions of the building when we moved in was that it was a very enclosed building. You couldn't see the gardens. When you came in the front gate you could just go to one door. You could only get into the building through that door. It was dreary.

In the long corridor outside the canteen, there would have been a bulb here, a bulb half ways down and a bulb right down at the end. They might have been 60 or 80-watt bulbs but there wouldn't have been an awful lot of light.

I would have known about the Good Shepherds growing up because anytime anyone was bold or misbehaved you'd be threatened with the Good Shepherds. If you don't behave you'll end up in the Good Shepherds. Sure everyone knew at the time it was a walled in area. We wouldn't have known what went on in it.

… you have to realise that at the time there weren't any prisons for girls who offended and a lot of them were sent here and the nuns had to deal with them.

You have good stories and bad stories. I've met people who have come back here and they've come in and they've smiled about the times they had here and others wouldn't want to come in at all. You know they just wanted to see that the building was still here.

Download Paul's Full Oral History