On November 23rd 1884, Tempe Estate was sold at Auction to Frederick Gannon for 4000 pounds who then sold it five] months later for the sizable sum of 6,750 pounds to the Trustees of the Good Samaritan Order, Mary Anne Adamson, otherwise known as Superior General Magdalene and Margaret Mary Byrne
The Good Samaritan Order focused on unmarried mothers and women who were seen to be at risk of sin. By 1887, the sisters had raised enough money to build a penitentiary, laundries and accommodation. The new buildings accommodated forty ] penitents and were renamed St Magdalene's refuge, also known as The Retreat. A new Chapel was constructed in 1888, adjacent to the house, and by 1900, over one hundred people worked a daily routine in the laundry operations and an inquiry into the refuge over unpaid wages was settled in favour of the Order.
By 1944, the Retreat began to develop more into a training centre for the rehabilitation of delinquent girls, who had ended up in the court system, and in the 1940's, there were 55 girls housed at the Estate. Facilities to aid education were added in 1954, a swimming pool in 1959 and a chaplains residence in 1972. External conservation work was undertaken to repair deterioration on the verandah bays that was completed by Hurst and Kennedy architects in 1977.
(The chapel contains a small exhibition of the history of the estate and some articfacts. The photo below right is of philanthropist, Caroline Chisholm, known as "the immigrant's friend" who opened a girls' school at Tempe Estate. She is pictured on hour $5 note.)
Renowned architects Sherrin and Hennessy were the principal architects employed to design the new penitentiary, laundries and accommodation for St Magdalene's Retreat. It is unclear who designed the Chapel, however, as it has a similar architectural style as the new buildings, the indication was that Sherrin and Hennessy were employed once again. Whilst further additions were made, the house remained largely unaltered until 1944-1945.
The Good Samaritan Order remained in ownership of Tempe Estate for over 100 years and in 1989 sold it to Qantek, a branch of Qantas.