Mont Park Asylum

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Mont Park Asylum
Established 1909
Construction Began 1910
Opened 1911
Closed 1999
Current Status Preserved
Building Style Echelon Plan
Location Darebin City, VIC
Alternate Names
  • Mont Park Hospital for the Insane
  • Bundoora Psychiatric and Repatriation Hospital



History[edit]

The Royal Park Receiving House and aligned Royal Park Mental Hospital were established at the same time as Mont Park and all sites were intended to work as an integrated system to address the classification of ‘recoverable’ from ‘chronic’insanity. The 53 acre site for the 120 bed Mental Hospital was in proximity to the 14acre site of the 40 bed Receiving House on the fringes of Royal Park, next to the Moonee Ponds Creek. If the patient was considered ‘recoverable’ after observation inthe Receiving House, a transfer was arranged to the adjoining Royal Park Mental Hospital for a maximum six month admission prior to a release back to the community. If the patient was deemed incurable or chronic, a transfer was arranged to institutions such as Mont Park.

The former Mont Park/Bundoora Psychiatric and Repatriation Hospitals Complex consisted of seven hospitals on a site of 185 hectares. The site comprising the Mont Park and Strathallen estates was consolidated by the Victorian government by purchase and transfer from the Closer Settlement Board in 1909 . The Mont Park Hospital commenced in 1910 with the building of the Farm Workers Block (later part of Kingsbury Training Centre). In 1912 the landscape gardener Hugh Linaker was employed to layout the grounds of Mont Park and other State mental hospitals. The other hospitals were gradually split off from the Mont Park administration to form separate entities. These were the Macleod Repatriation Hospital (1915), the Bundoora Repatriation Hospital (1920), the Gresswell Sanatorium (1933), Larundel Mental Hospital (1938 opened 1951), the Plenty Mental Hospital (1963) and the Kingsbury Training Centre (1974). The site under consideration consists of the former Mont Park and Plenty Hospitals.

An agreement was made with the Defence Department in 1914 for the latter to erect the Mont Park central block (the "Chronic Wards") for use as a Military Hospital, and for it later to revert to the State as portion of Mont Park Hospital. The buildings now known as the Chronic Wards were completed in this way in 1916 and used as the Australian General Hospital no. 16 for the duration of the war. One wing of this building was set aside for mental patients during this period.

The Military Mental Hospital was built in 1919 to accommodate 84 patients who were suffering from psychiatric conditions as a result of their service in World War I. It was occupied by military patients until 1933 when they were transferred to Commonwealth facilities. The Military Mental Hospital consisted of a two storey brick Administration Building with two single-storey pavilion wards and a single-storey kitchen-dining room pavilion at the rear, connected with covered ways. The ward sections of the Military Mental Hospital have undergone considerable alteration. A two-storey brick building was constructed in the 1970s in front of the Administration Block and attached to it at the central porch.

The Ernest Jones Hall, named after the Inspector General of the Victorian Lunacy Department, was a combined chapel and entertainment hall constructed 1927-1930 in the Spanish Mission style.

The Avenue of Honour planted in 1919 consists of a row of 46 Sugar Gums planted by returned soldiers who were hospitalized in the number 16 Australian General Hospital (Chronic Wards) at Mont Park. Further plantings were made after World War II. The empty land was used for the establishment of La Trobe University in 1967. It is now the site of Springthorpe Housing Development. Part of the old patient hospital was taken over by La Trobe University for the Graduate School of Management/Business.

Images[edit]