In 1950, society in Victoria was still recovering from World War II – not just the returned soldiers and their families, but migrants from Eastern Europe who had lived and lost through the war. Father Wilfrid Pooley of the Catholic Church envisaged a new 600-acre settlement in West Gippsland where people could heal physically and emotionally. The name Maryknoll replaced the original name of St Mary’s in 1955. The original settlement consisted of about 30 families.
By the 1970s, land in the area was being opened up for wider settlement.