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FORMER WILLSMERE HOSPITAL

Source: Go to the Victorian Heritage Register for more information.
Identifier: H861
Location: 1 -258 WILTSHIRE DRIVE KEW
Local
Government:
Boroondara City
State: VIC
Country: Australia
Statement of
Significance:
SOURCE: REPORT TO THE MINISTER

1. WILLSMERE, PREVIOUSLY KNOWN AS THE 'KEW LUNATIC ASYLUM', WAS OPENED IN 1872 AND IS POSSIBLY ONE OF THE LARGEST AND MOST INTACT NINETEENTH CENTURY LUNATIC ASYLUMS IN THE WORLD.

2. THE ASYLUM COMPLEX IS A PROMINENT EXAMPLE OF THE E-PLAN BARRACKS TYPE LUNATIC ASYLUMS BASED ON THE MODEL 1850S ASYLUM IN COLNEY HATCH, ENGLAND.

3. DESIGNED BY ARCHITECT G.W. VIVIAN AND FREDERICK KAWERAU OF THE VICTORIAN PUBLIC WORKS DEPARTMENT, IT REPRESENTS THE SHIFT TO GRANDER STYLES OF INSTITUTIONAL STRUCTURES. WHILST THE PLAN AND DETAIL RELATE TO SISTER ASYLUMS AT ARARAT AND BEECHWORTH, THE KEW ASYLUM IS TWICE THE SIZE WITH THE FRONT BUILDINGS AND TOWERS MORE DISTINCTIVE ARCHITECTURALLY.

4. THE COMPLEX WITH THE TOWERS AND MANSARD ROOFS, IS ONE OF THE MOST PROMINENT LANDMARKS IN MELBOURNE.

5. THE BUILDINGS CONTINUE TO DEMONSTRATE THE ORIGINAL SCALE AND LAYOUT OF THE INSTITUTION AND REFLECT PRACTICES IN THE CARE OF MENTAL HEALTH PATIENTS IN VICTORIA.

6. THE COMPLEX IS ALSO OF TECHNICAL AND MERCANTILE SIGNIFICANCE IN THE USE OF SHIP'S TANKS TO STORE WATER IN THE ASYLUM TOWER, NO OTHER KNOWN EXAMPLES OF THEIR SURVIVAL IN SUCH QUANTITIES EXISTING.

7. THE FEVER TENTS, CONSTRUCTED IN RESPONSE TO A MAJOR TYPHOID EPIDEMIC FROM 1907, WERE INTRODUCED AT A TIME WHEN THE GOVERNMENT HAD CONSIDERED TYPHOID TO BE UNDER CONTROL IN VICTORIA.

8. THE ASYLUM REPRESENTS VICTORIA'S INSTITUTIONAL FLAGSHIP IN MENTAL HEALTH OVER A LONG PERIOD, AND DEMONSTRATES THE DESIRE TO IMPART RESPECTABILITY TO MENTAL HEALTH CARE.

Description: Not Available
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Report produced : 23/9/2014
AHPI URL : http://www.heritage.gov.au/ahpi/search.html