As restrictions lift, a trip to this special museum is a must!
Propped like a jewel atop a cliff face in Eden, sits the historic St Mary MacKillop Museum.
With COVID restrictions lifting, this is a good time to travel to enjoy history, share our faith and see the coastline.
The building was once The Star of the Sea Catholic Church but later had dual use as St Joseph’s Catholic School, started by St Mary MacKillop.
In 1886, Mary’s mother, Flora MacDonald, drowned after the SS Ly-ee-Moon ran onto rocks off the Eden coastline. In one of the worst shipping disasters in Australia’s history, 71 passengers lost their lives.
Mary was so touched by the respectful way the people of Eden cared for her mother’s body, that she decided to start St Joseph’s Catholic School to thank the community. The building had two composite classes administered and staffed by the Sisters of Saint Joseph of the Sacred Heart.
Our Lady Star of the Sea Catholic Church has now been built below the museum and the two buildings are stunning examples of the old and the new coming together to celebrate the town’s history and faith.
Beautifully restored in 2005 through the vision of Sr Clare Ryan, and through hard work by volunteers, the building is a monument to the community’s faith and resilience.
It offers a place of reflection, pilgrimage, scenic views, the freshest of sea air and a time capsule into the shipwreck Ly-ee-Moon. Evident also is the quality education delivered here by the Sisters of Saint Joseph, and of Mary’s inspirational faith and leadership.
Inside the museum can be found memorabilia from Mary’s life, artefacts from the shipwreck, habits and robes of Sisters and clergy from Mary’s day, and volunteers and parishioners who are founts of knowledge and warmth.
There is a special feeling on entry much like the grace and tranquillity experienced at Mary MacKillop Place in Mount Street, Sydney.
It is undeniable that special people have been here, worked here, worshipped here, and this place is important.
Every Thursday morning a group of volunteers and parishioners meet here, including two Josephite nuns, Sr Benedetta Bennett and Sr Marie Carson, who welcome everyone with conversation, the sharing of faith and a cup of tea.
Last Thursday, conversation ranged from fishing, choppy seas and orange roughy, to Mary’s elegant handwriting in the school reports displayed on the walls.
The museum is keeping Mary’s spirit alive for all who visit.