Morisset Hospital

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Morisset Hospital
Established 1900
Construction Began 1906
Opened 1909
Current Status Active
Building Style Cottage Plan
Location Morisset, NSW
Alternate Names



  • 1900-1,300 acres of land east of Morisset reserved for the purpose of an Asylum for the Insane.
  • 1901-The “insanity Act” provided the approval for the construction of the Morisset Asylum for the Insane.
  • 1906-A staff of 3 male attendants and 6 patients lived side by side in tents. Clearing and construction commenced. First thing constructed was a jetty, then a dam. First temporary ward completed. Building material was transported across the lake by barge.
  • 1907-The first Manager, George Edwards, was appointed, he supervised the clearing of the land and preparation of the hospital site. Arthur John Wilson was transferred from Kenmore Mental Hospital in Goulburn to supervise construction of roadways to enable access for building. One of the roads he constructed, known as ‘The Avenue’ was planted with Yellow box and Turpentine. Further plantings occurred in later years. 'The Avenue' is the main road leading in to the township of Morisset.
  • 1908-On the 17th August a Newcastle and Miners Advocate article describes the construction of Ward 1. A 16th November 1908 Newcastle and Miners Advocate article reports that construction of the Recreation Hall was commenced.
  • 1909-The first patients arrived on the 9th May 1909. There were 78 male patients. Ward 1 opened on the 6th September. Construction of further buildings was well under way.
  • 1910-157 male patients. Temporary calico dormitories erected. These buildings consisted of a wooden frame, calico side panels, wooden floors and a canvas fly over the whole building. Manager's residence constructed.
  • 1911-Cricket oval, poultry yards & gardens completed.
  • 1912-243 male patients who were mostly housed in the Calico Wards. The first Medical Officer, Dr Samson, commenced duty. Prior to this medical services were provided by a doctor from Gosford, one day a week.
  • 1913-A patient population of 288.
  • 1914-Building programme largely suspended due to the outbreak of World War 1. Patient population had increased to 375. The hospital fishing fleet was assembled.
  • 1915-Patients & staff went out each Thursday in the hospital fishing fleet and provided fish for the traditional Friday luncheon.
  • 1916-Main store built, remains standing (Jan 2006)
  • 1918-484 male patients, 93 in excess of the accommodation.
  • 1919-13th August Victory Ball held in recreation Hall to celebrate the end of World War 1.
  • 1920-A new ward opened - population rose to 512, all male. Overcrowding was very bad. The theatrical stage, which slopes from back to front, was added to the Recreation Hall
  • 1930-Land was set aside at Morisset for the establishment of a hospital for the Criminally Insane.
  • 1933-672 patients now at Morisset. The ward for the Criminally Insane was now commenced.
  • 1934-The first female patients and nursing staff arrived in March.
  • 1936-Only tank or dam water was available at the hospital.
  • 1938-New Male Refractory wards were opened.
  • 1939-World War 2 breaks out & a lack of funds holds up all construction work. Serious drought resulted in acute water shortage at Morisset. An emergency service from Pourmalong Creek constructed

Postwar Years[edit]

  • 1954-Hospital Chapel foundation stone was laid.
  • 1957-The Chapel was officially opened and dedicated on the 24th August. The hospital was renowned for it’s flock of peacocks wandering about the grounds.
  • 1960-Patient population reaches 1403.
  • 1962-The new dairy was used for the first time on the 12th July 1962. The first hospital fete - the Festival of Flowers (abundance of flowers in bloom at the hospital at fete time)
  • 1963-Population was reported as 1490.
  • 1965-Integration of male and female wards commenced, number of admissions decreases, & rise in the discharge rate. Pressure on hospital beds began to decrease. Large wards began to reduce the number of beds.
  • 1970-Patient numbers were declining due to more patients being eligible for disability pensions, more effective medications, treatment programs, and a change in community attitudes. Early 70’s, the ‘boys’ from Peat & Milson Islands started being transferred to Morisset.
  • 1972-Morisset Hospital grounds were proclaimed as a Wildlife Refuge.
  • 1974-“The Denby”, launch used for taking patients out on the lake, was transferred to Peat Island. The end of the patient work gangs and outdoor male nurses.
  • 1985-The special community that was Morisset Hospital underwent major changes with the division of the hospital in to two distinct & separate entities – Psychiatric Services and Developmental Disability. Ward 18 closed, Ward 16 closed, Ward 19 closed & Ward 20 closed.
  • 1991-Ward 21 ‘The Crim’ closed. Wards 19 & 20 demolished.
  • 1992-Ward 9 closed. Ward 11 patients moved in to old doctors & paramedical staff cottages. A new state of the art forensic psychiatry security unit is built on the site of the demolished wards 19 & 20.
  • 1997-Hospital Reunion organised and the Morisset Hospital Historical Society was established.