Kenmore Hospital Complex | NSW Environment & Heritage

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Kenmore Hospital Complex

Item details

Name of item: Kenmore Hospital Complex
Type of item: Built
Primary address: Talralga Road, Kenmore, NSW 2580
Parish: NARRANGARRIL
County: ARGYLE
Local govt. area: Goulburn Mulwaree
Property description
Lot/Volume CodeLot/Volume NumberSection NumberPlan/Folio CodePlan/Folio Number
     
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
Talralga RoadKenmoreGoulburn MulwareeNARRANGARRILARGYLEPrimary Address

Owner/s

Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
NSW Department of HealthState Government20 Jul 05

Statement of significance:

Significance:
- The Kenmore Psychiatric Hospital complex is a representation, in physical form, of the changing ideas and policies concerning the treatment of the mentally ill and handicapped people, in the State, spanning 100 years.
- Within the Hospital precinct, and within the actual layout and design of the precinct buildings and landscape, these changing ideals are 'laid out' one upon another like successive occupation layers of an archaeological site. The Hospital fabric also clearly evidences the Military occupancy of the site.
- The original 1890s Vernon complex of buildings still evidence the features that made Kenmore Psychiatric Hospital the best planned, the best situated, and the most modern psychiatric institution of its day. Many of the buidings which followed the Vernon structures have significant historical assocaitions in their own right and in their functinal relationships with the original Vernon buildings.
- The early buildings of Kenmore, particularly the 'core' Vernon buildings, represent perhaps the finest 'corporate' architectural expression of hte Edwardian (later Federation) Free style in Australia.
- The institution of Kenmore has important links with the community of the locality and region. These links were particuarly strong in the early 20th century, when Kenmore was a focal point for regional sporting and cultural activities.
- The institution of Kenmore has played a pivotal role in the evolution and development of treatment for the mentally ill and handicapped in the State of New South Wales.
- The farm complex of Kenmore is culturally signficant as a physically intact precinct created as an integral part of rehabilitation treatment for the patients of Kenmore. The sporting related functions, particuarly the cricket pavilion, are significant as exemplars of the close connection of Kenmore to its community, and the use of sports as an integral part of rehabilitation treatment. The cemetery complex, and its landscape , is a significant element of hte life/death cycle of the Kenmore Psychiatric Hospital. It is one of hte few 'pauper' cemeteries in the State.
- The institutionalisation of psychiatric patients is a function now less practised. A large psychiatric institution, such as Kenmore, although not unique, demonstrates a way of life and a treatment ethic now no longer practised. The layout and design of the core buildings clearly evidence the institutional beliefs and treatments of psychiatric patients in the late 19th century.
- The remnant 19th century landscape, particularly the Kenmore Psychiatric Hospital forest, has rarity value.
- The Kenmore Psychiatric Hospital, although not unique as a remnant late 19th century psychiatric hospital, is by its intactness and architectural excellence an exemplar of the strucutre and philosophy of psychiatric institutions of its time.
- The hospital has specific associations with those who created the philosophical and physical basis of the institution. The hospital also has specific association with those Inspectors General who ran it.
Note: The State Heritage Inventory provides information about heritage items listed by local and State government agencies. The State Heritage Inventory is continually being updated by local and State agencies as new information becomes available. Read the OEH copyright and disclaimer.

Description

Builder/Maker: John Baldwin, JC O'Brien
Construction years: 1894-1900
Modifications and dates: 1960s, 1970s
Condition updated: 1993 September
Current use: Hospital
Former use: Hospital

History

Historical notes: In October 1879, the government purchased some 340.5 acres of Kenmore Estate at a cost of 1,252-5-0 pounds. Manning had recently been appointed the colony's first Inspector-General of the Insane and the acquisition of the Kenmore property represented his first major achievement in his new role.
THE BUILDING OF THE HOSPITAL 1894-1900
The first contracts for the construction work were let in 1894, the major one going to the Sydney builder, John Baldwin, for an amount of 12,760-6-5 pounds. A second contract for about 923-9-0 pounds was awared to the local Goulburn builder, JC O'Brien. Baldwin's contract involved the erection of a number of permanent buildings in brick, as well as some temporary wooden structures.
Although the first patients would be chosen for their quiet and industrious natures, it was necessary to provide separate accommodation for any patients who became violent or uncontrollable. O'Brien's contract called for the erection, at a cost of 423-9-0 pounds, of a small brick 'special ward' (site of today's dental clinic) where such patients could be kept under lock and key.
In March 1941, the NSW government offered the hospital to the army as the site for a military hospital, an offer the army promptly accepted. Over the next twelve months, Kenmore's patients were moved to various mental institutions in Sydney, in preparation for the army's occupation of the site.
The army moved out at the end of January 1946, the Department of Health resuming control of Kenmore a week later.
REVERSION AND REDIRECTION 1946-93
With the army's departure, patients were gradually moved back in to Kenmore, ward by ward, from other mental institutions in the state. It was not long before the accommodaiton situation at the hospital took on a familiar pre-war appearance. By 1949, Kenmore was once again overcrowded.
The modernisation of the hospital in the 1960s and 1970s, together with the reorientation of treatment policy towards rehabilitating patients, produced a reduction in the number of beds at the hospital and eventually an elimination of the overcrowding from which it had almost always suffered. by 1974, the bed capacity of the hospital stood at an approximate figure of 700. Further policy changes in the 1980s accentuated the trend towards smaller patient numbers. The emphasis was on removing patients from the hospital environment where their illness or incapacity might become thoroughly institutionalised and never improve. Instead, mentally ill and handicapped people were encouraged to live out in the community where, it was believed, their chances of recover or adjustment were better, and where moreover they were far less costly for the state to maintain. With the trend away from housing and treating the mentally ill or handicapped in large psychiatric instituitons, Kenmore must look forward to a modified or wholly different role.

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Health-Activities associated with preparing and providing medical assistance and/or promoting or maintaining the well being of humans (none)-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
This criterion related to the importance (of Kenmore Psychiatric hospital) within the density and diversity of cultural feature which illustrate the human occupation and evoluation of the locality, region or State; or the importance in relation to a figure, event, phase or activity of historic influence in the locality, region or State.
- The Kenmore Psychiatric Hospital complex is a representation, in phsycial form, of the changing ideas and policies concerning the treatment of the mentally ill and handicapped people, in the State, spanning 100 years.
- Within the Hospital precinct, and within the actual layout and design of the precinct buildings and landscape, these changing ideals are 'laid out' one upon another like successive occupation layers of an archaeological site.
- The Hospital fabric also clearly evidences the Military occupancy of the site.
- The original 1890s Vernon complex of buildings still evidence the features that made Kenmore Psychiatric Hospital the best planned, the best situated, and the most modern psychiatric institution of its day.
- Many of the buildings which followed the Vernon structures have significant historical associations in their own right and in their functional relationships with the Vernon buildings.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
This criterion relates to the importance (of Kenmore Psychiatric Hospital) in demonstrating a high degree of creative or technical achievement for its time in the locality, region or State.
- The early buildings of Kenmore, particularly the 'core' Vernon buildings, represent perhaps the finest architectural expression of the Edwardian (later Federation) Free style in Australia.
- the ore buildings and landscape, and later (related) buildings, are the most intact extant examfple of corporately planned Free style complexes in Australia.
- The individual Vernon buildings represent exemplars of the Free Edwardian/Federation architectural style in Australia.
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
This criterion relates to the importance (of Kenmore Psychiatric Hospital) as a place highly valued for reasons of social, cultural, religious, spiritual, aesthetic or educaitonal association by a community in the locality, region or the State.
- The institution of Kenmore has important links with the community of the locality and region. These links were particularly strong in the early 20th century, when Kenmore was a focal point for regional sproting and cultural activities.
- The institution of Kenmore has played a pivotal role in the evoluation and development of treatment for the mentally ill and handicapped in the State of New South Wales.
SHR Criteria e)
[Research potential]
This criterion relates to the importance (of Kenmore Psychiatric Hospital) in yeilding infomraiton contributing to a wider understanding of the history of human occupation in the lcoality, region or State.
This criterion is not strongly evidenced within the Kenmore Psychiatric Hospital complex.
Assessment criteria: Items are assessed against the PDF State Heritage Register (SHR) Criteria to determine the level of significance. Refer to the Listings below for the level of statutory protection.

Recommended management:

Refer to Kenmore Hospital Complex, Goulburn: Conservation Plan, Vol 3 (1994)

Listings

Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Heritage Act - s.170 NSW State agency heritage registerDep. Of Health s.170 Register    

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenFreeman Collette & Partners Pty Ltd Study

Note: internet links may be to web pages, documents or images.

Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: State Government
Database number: 3540469


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