Larundel Psychiatric Hospital

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Larundel Psychiatric Hospital
Established 1937
Construction Began 1938
Opened 1953
Closed 1999
Current Status Closed
Building Style Cottage Plan
Architect(s) Percy Everett
Location Bundoora, VIC
Architecture Style Tudor Revival
Alternate Names


The Larundel psychiatric institution was part of a larger mental health complex known as Mont Park. Mont Park Asylum was originally built at the start of the twentieth century. It was designed to provide a self-sufficient environment that was less ‘instituted’ than what was currently available. Larundel is a smaller part of Mont Park and was developed, originally, to replace the outdated Kew Mental Hospital.

Work began and by 1938, the administration building (while this building is the oldest of the Larundel group, it no longer exists, having been burned down in 2005), four wards and the main hospital building were erected. However, there was no power or sewerage connected yet. Even with these shortfalls, there was a rush to finish the works since the Children’s Welfare Depot and Travancore Departmental Centre both wanted to use the premises. Both departments were concerned that, since World War two was occurring, and these two buildings were situated near possible military targets, the children needed to be evacuated. Other government departments also wanted these two buildings for munition workers.

For several years, while work was still being completed on Larundel, there were see-sawing opinions on who would use Larundel and why. By 1942, it was decided that Larundel was too far away from the court system used by the Children’s Welfare Depot, so these children were no longer considered for the first inhabitants of Larundel. There were still all intents to use the buildings for the mentally incapacitated at Kew Idiot Asylum, but until all the buildings were complete, this was considered impossible.

The R.A.A.F. were the next to consider Larundel. Air Vice Marshall V. Hurley wanted to use the facility as an R.A.A.F. hospital. The government agreed, but by the end of 1942, it was decided the No. 1 W.A.A.F. Depot (Training Depot) would in fact use the buildings until the war ended, and possibly for up to a year afterwards. At its busiest, the hospital cared for 750 patients. So, in 1943, Larundel got its very first inhabitants. Between 1943 and the end of R.A.A.F. control in December of 1945, five thousand people trained at Larundel.

In 1948, the decision to move people from Kew Mental Hospital, was bought to the forefront again. People were now being shipped out of Larundel and sent to Warrnambool Mental Hospital for emergency accommodation. More buildings, including a church, were proposed for Larundel, although some of these were never built. It formally opened its doors as a psychiatric institution in 1953.

The institution is notable for being the first treatment center of Peter Dupas, an Australian serial killer. It is also the birthplace of the medicine Lithium, developed to treat manic episodes of people with bi-polar disorder.

Plans have been proposed to restore the site at Bundoora as a residential development. The asylum grounds now contain 550 new dwellings, while the last remaining wards are due to be redeveloped over the next few years.