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Featured Article Of The Week

Ipswich Hospital for the Insane


Originally built as a benevolent asylum, the Ipswich site never fulfilled this purpose. Chronic overcrowding at Woogaroo Lunatic Asylum dictated that the new facility at Ipswich could provide a solution to this problem. In July 1878, the first fifty patients arrived at the single story building on top of the hill known as Sandy Gallop. A sandy track had been developed around the hill to train race horses in the very early days of Ipswich and watching the horses train became a popular pastime for many of the local people. The institution which followed was to be known colloquially by this name for most of its existence, but the connotation of the “The Gallop” was not always a happy one.

The first 50 patients were quickly followed by more and it was not long before plans were made to add another storey and two wings to the original building. This building was known as Male Ward 1, later to become Arthur Pavilion. Ipswich took no direct admissions and only the most chronic cases were sent there, hence very few patients were discharged.

The Lunacy Act of 1869, stated that a person had to be committed by a medical practitioner and two Justices of the Peace for a period of no longer than one month at a lunatic reception house. After this period, the person in question was brought before two Justices and if judged to be not in a fit state to be at liberty by two medical practitioners, then they would be committed to the Woogaroo Lunatic Asylum. Click here for more...