Greenvale Sanatorium

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Greenvale Sanatorium
Opened 1905
Closed 1998
Demolished 2006
Current Status Demolished
Building Style Cottage Plan
Location Melbourne, VIC
Alternate Names
  • Greenvale Village for the Aged
  • Greenvale Geriatric Centre
  • Greenvale Centre
  • North West Hospital



History[edit]

The Sanatorium for Consumptives, Greenvale opened in 1905 to treat people, both adults and children, with tuberculosis. The historical term 'consumptive/consumption' refers to the associated weight loss that can be caused by tuberculosis. Greenvale was the first purpose-built Government sanatorium in Victoria. Tuberculosis caused one in nine deaths in Victoria in 1902. Accommodation was originally for 35 patients in seven tents, however this slowly expanded. In 1907, there were 19 staff: 1 x doctor, 1 x matron, 1 x staff nurse, 6 x assistant nurses, 1 x wardsmaid, 1 x kitchenmaid, 2 x housemaids, 2 x cooks, 1 x driver, 1 x engine driver, and 2 x porters. In 1906-1907, the average length of stay was 74 days.

The Sanatorium was primarily for "patients in reduced circumstances". Preference was given to "those living in condition under which improvement is impossible or in dwellings in which their presence is dangerous to the other inmates (sic)". Those in a position to pay fees were directed elsewhere, although patients were expected to contribute what they could afford. From 1924 to 1952, only female patients were admitted to Greenvale. From 1924, male patients were accommodated at Amhurst Sanatorium (south of Maryborough), which opened in December 1908. At the time of opening, it admitted only female patients.

A new two story brick administration building was built in 1940. Four new boomerang shaped timber wards with 24 beds each were built around the same time, making a total of 172 available beds by 1942. However by 1945 the original sanatorium buildings were no longer being used so the capacity went back down to 96. The "old weatherboard buildings at the south of the site" which were demolished in 1973 were presumably the original sanatorium. In 1949-50 a four story ward building was built, usually called the Percy Everett building after it's designer, who was chief architect in the Public Works Department. It had a boomerang shape to match the earlier timber buildings which surrounded it, and included a 400 seat theatre. It's 144 beds brought the total capacity of the sanatorium to 236.

Not long after the Percy Everett building was finished new drug treatments for Tuberculosis made the sanatorium redundant. The complex was transferred to the Hospital and Charities Commission and became what we would now call an Aged Care Facility and a rehabilitation facility for the elderly, with the first 24 patients admitted in December 1955. It was known as the Greenvale Village for the Aged with the name followed in brackets by "Special Hospital for the Aged". It was renamed the Greenvale Geriatric Centre in 1972, and then the Greenvale Centre in 1984/84. In 1991 there was a merger with Mount Royal Hospital under the name North-West Hospital.

Not long after the Percy Everett building was finished new drug treatments for Tuberculosis made the sanatorium redundant. The complex was transferred to the Hospital and Charities Commission and became what we would now call an Aged Care Facility and a rehabilitation facility for the elderly, with the first 24 patients admitted in December 1955. It was known as the Greenvale Village for the Aged with the name followed in brackets by "Special Hospital for the Aged". It was renamed the Greenvale Geriatric Centre in 1972, and then the Greenvale Centre in 1984/84. In 1991 there was a merger with Mount Royal Hospital under the name North-West Hospital.

In 1998 the hospital was closed. In the subsequent years thieves and vandals largely had the run of the place. Demolition started in May 2005 and all the buildings were gone by the end of 2006, apart from a timber patient hut, which was the only building to obtain heritage protection.