Lidcombe Hospital Precinct | NSW Environment & Heritage

Culture and heritage

Heritage

Lidcombe Hospital Precinct

Item details

Name of item: Lidcombe Hospital Precinct
Other name/s: Rookwood Asylum for the Aged and Infirm; Rookwood State Hospital and Asylum for Men; Lidcombe State Hospital & Home; Rookwood Boys Reformatory & Model Farm
Type of item: Complex / Group
Group/Collection: Health Services
Category: Hospital
Location: Lat: -33.8837079954 Long: 151.0449011390
Primary address: Joseph Street, Lidcombe, NSW 2141
Parish: Liberty Plains
County: Cumberland
Local govt. area: Auburn
Local Aboriginal Land Council: Gandangara
Property description
Lot/Volume CodeLot/Volume NumberSection NumberPlan/Folio CodePlan/Folio Number
LOT13 DP1074086
LOT14 DP1074086
PART LOT17 DP1074086
PART LOT41 DP1089707
PART LOT58 DP1097193
LOT59 DP1097193
PART LOT62 DP1097193
LOT65 DP1097193
LOT66 DP1097193
PART LOT69 DP1097193
PART LOT77 DP1097193
PART LOT78 DP1097193
LOT79 DP1097193
PART LOT81 DP1097193
LOT82 DP1139415
CROWN LAND100 DP1139471
LOT2406 SP1141588
PART LOT2407 DP1141588
LOT801 DP1150164
LOT802 DP1150164
LOT805 DP1150164
LOT806 DP1150164
PART LOT807 DP1150164
LOT807 DP1150164
PART LOT808 DP1150164
LOT809 DP1150164
LOT813 DP1150164
LOT816 DP1150164
PART LOT818 DP1150164
PART LOT819 DP1150164
LOT820 DP1150164
LOT821 DP1150164
LOT838 DP1150164
LOT808 DP115164
LOT5008 DP1165137
LOT5010 DP1165137
PART LOT5200 DP1168360
LOT5200 DP1168360
LOT1 DP1168515
PART LOT5305 DP1170114
PART LOT5314 DP1170114
PART LOT6409 DP1173798
PART LOT6201 DP1174243
PART LOT6202 DP1174243
PART LOT6203 DP1174243
PART LOT6351 DP1174638
LOT603 DP1175419
PART LOT605 DP1175419
LOT606 DP1175419
LOT608 DP1175419
LOT609 DP1175419
LOT610 DP1175419
PART LOT611 DP1175419
PART LOT612 DP1175419
PART LOT617 DP1175419
PART LOT618 DP1175419
PART LOT619 DP1175419
PART PORT621 DP1175419
LOT3 DP1185503
LOT4 DP1185503
LOT5 DP1185503
LOT1 DP270629
PART LOT2 DP270629
LOT3 DP270668
LOT4 DP270668
LOT5 DP270668
LOT6 DP270668
LOT7 DP270668
LOT8 DP270668
LOT2 DP270746
LOT3 DP270746
LOT4 DP270746
LOT5 DP270746
PART LOT11 DP270749
   CP/SP85901
   CP/SP86973

Boundary:

The listing curtilage is shown in Heritage Council Plan 2065 and is contained in two parts, one containing the combined buildings and landscapes, and the second part containing a significant surviving grove of mixed eucalypts. Lot 20 of DP 1074086 comprises the residual of former lot 56 DP 1016757 after its subdivision into 20 Lots for DP 1074086
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
Joseph StreetLidcombeAuburnLiberty PlainsCumberlandPrimary Address

Owner/s

Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
Australand Industrial No. 18 Pty LimitedGeneral13 May 05
Sydney Olympic Park AuthorityGeneral 

Statement of significance:

Lidcombe Hospital is of outstanding significance in the history of NSW health care, operating for over a century from 1893-1995 as a major State Asylum for the aged and infirm, then an important State teaching hospital specialising in geriatric care and rehabilitation. Lidcombe Hospital became a leader in geriatric care and rehabilitation practices in the 20th Century. The expansion, then the closure, of the hospital reflects the changes in State and Commonwealth government health care policies over the twentieth century. The site has significance for its association with innovative medical practitioners, specialists in geriatric heath care, nurses and the local community for over a century. As the site of the Media Village, the place also has associations with the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games, which provided short-term accommodation for approximately 5,000 visiting journalists.

The precinct contains an exceptional and rare collection of fine, intact architecture and landscapes of the Victorian, Edwardian, Interwar and late-20th Century styles, together with outstanding examples of asylum and institutional planning from leading Colonial, Government and private architects from the 19th and 20th Centuries. The asylum and hospital planning is an exceptional example of the 19th century advancements in health care along the principles of Florence Nightingale, where it was considered healthy to surround hospital and asylum buildings with gardens as part of patient treatment and the buildings were designed with particular attention to natural light, ventilation and climate control for the care of patients. The collection of reformatory, asylum and hospital buildings include dormitories designed by James Barnet (1885-1887), the former Dining Hall (1885), the Superintendent's Residence (1887) and nine wards designed by Walter Liberty Vernon (1893-1906). All reformatory and asylum buildings are designed in harmony around the central Village Green and unite qualities of shelter and surveillance, community and destitution, within a landscape both picturesque and functionally self-sufficient. The Recreation Hall and Chapel (1963) designed by Ken Woolley, the No. 1 Nurses Quarters (1910), Herdsman's Cottage (c1885), Boiler House and Chimney (1901) and the later Nos 2 and 3 Nurses Quarters (1931 and 1939) all contribute to the aesthetic and historic qualities of the place.

The nine Vernon-designed wards, individually and collectively, are outstanding examples of hospital pavilion buildings in a bungalow form, which are a deliberate continuation of the hospital pavilion typology found in some French and British Colonies of the time, with innovative design variations demonstrating the early use of the colonial vernacular in NSW public buildings and advancements in design for patient care. Australian designs for naturally ventilated hospital wards were well known internationally. Vernon's work demonstrated greater attention to light and ventilation than English examples and landscaping of a much higher standard. The ward buildings demonstrate Vernon's deliberate (and early) use of the Australian Colonial vernacular in his design of public buildings, particularly the wrap-around verandah as a means of climate control, rather than the Italianate arcade or colonnade. The building designs of Vernon at Lidcombe Hospital thereby represent one of a series of public buildings built in NSW, such as the Lands Board Office, the Bourke Courthouse and Grafton Experiment Farm buildings, that mark the search for a distinctly Australian architecture, an architecture that drew on the colonial vernacular. (Boyd)

The earliest roads demonstrate the pattern of development of the Lidcombe Hospital site and the location of the former farming activities and isolation facilities of the earlier Asylum and hospital periods, including Farm Road, Mance Avenue, Brooks Circuit, Main Avenue, Church Street, Sussex Street, Copeland Road and Peden Lane. Landscape plantings including the hoop pines and phoenix palms, tallowwoods, brush boxes, iron barks, pepper trees and spotted gums contribute to the aesthetic qualities of the precinct, including a surviving grove of eucalypts situated on a separate portion of the former hospital site. The Village Green, at the centre of the precinct, is of outstanding significance at a State level for its historic and aesthetic qualities.

The archaeological resource of the site has the potential to contribute to our understanding of the early modifications of the landscape through farming activities and the development of early institutional care for the aged, infirm and the destitute. The Hospital was the site of first Septic Tank system constructed on a large scale to service an institution in Australia. Remains of the Tank are now located on an adjacent site but infrastructure associated with this system may survive.

The Lidcombe Hospital site has played a significant role in the development of the surrounding suburban areas and the growth of the local area as an employer. It has also acted as a physical barrier to development within the area. The Lidcombe Hospital has continued to be held in high esteem by the local community, including in the present day a number of local community groups, for its cultural, social and landscape values.
Date significance updated: 29 Aug 14
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

Designer/Maker: James Barnet, Walter Liberty Vernon, Cobden Parkes, Ken Woolley
Builder/Maker: NSW Government
Construction years: 1885-
Physical description: The Lidcombe Hospital site contains a variety of buildings and landscape features in a landscaped setting. It also contains historical archaeological features which provide physical evidence of the development of the site from the late nineteenth century to the present day.
The site boundaries have changed substantially since the proposed Boys Reformatory and Model Farm was proposed in 1885, having expanded and contracted during its evolution.

Buildings include:
- Herdsman's Cottage (Building 94);
- Gatehouse (Building 90);
- Barnet-designed dormitory wards (Buildings 7, 9, 66A and 89);
- Barnet-designed Dining Hall and Kitchen (Building 66);
- Barnet-designed Superintendent's Residence (Building 53);
- Barnet-designed Toilet Block (Building 89A) and ablutions facilities (Building 9A);
- Vernon-designed nine pavilion wards (Buildings 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 10, 11, 12 and 13);
- Vernon-designed No.1 Nurse's Home (and 1919 annex) (Buildings 72 and 69);
- Vernon-designed Gatehouse (Building 90);
- Vernon-designed dormitory ward additions (Buildings 6 and 8, to Building 7);
- Vernon-designed ablutions facilities (Building 8A);
- Boiler House attributed to Walter Liberty Vernon (Building 59);
- Parkes-designed Nurse's Homes Nos 2 and 3 (Buildings 73 and 74);
- three fibro buildings; the Male Nurse Amenities (Building 96, the two Red Cross Buildings (Buildings 95A and 95B);
- WWII Air Raid Shelter (Building 91);
- 1953 Memorial Clock in the village green (Building 92);
- three Parkes-designed 1930s/1940s ward buildings (Buildings 34, 35 and 36); and
- Woolley-designed Recreation Hall (Building 64).

Road and landscape elements include:
- Village Green, Areas 1 and 2 and vistas within the Village Green;
- Farm Road;
- Main Avenue;
- Mance Avenue;
- Brooks Circuit;
- Copeland Road;
- Church Street;
- Sussex Street;
- Peden Lane;
- Chapel Road;
- Palm Circuit;
- hoop pine and open space (site of former Administration Building) at junction of Main Avenue and Brooks Circuit at the entry to the historic core (32);
- avenue of hoop pines (Araucaria cunninghamii) and phoenix palms (Phoenix sp.) ((33);
- avenue of tallowwoods (Eucalyptus microcorys) (14);
- remnant plantings (hoop pine, pepper tree (Schinus areira), flame tree (Brachychiton acerifolium) (15);
- Moreton Bay fig (ficus macrophllya) and row of tallowwoods (Eucalyptus microcorys) (16);
- avenue of plantings at rear of historic core, Moreton Bay figs (Ficus macrophylla) and brush boxes (Lophostemon confertus) (17);
- petticoat and cotton palms in eastern area of historic core (Washingtonia robusta and Washingtonia filifera) (20);
- mixed plantings east of Superintendent's Residence (21);
- mixed plantings in Area 1 of Village Green opposite Superintendent's Residence (25);
- Chinese juniper (Juniperus chinensis) (37);
- hoop pine (Araucaria cunninghamii) and phoenix palm (Phoenix sp.) (38);
- avenue of Canary Island palms (Phoenix canariensis) (41);
- plantings at Palm Avenue (south end of triangle) (42);
- northern end of Sussex Street (roadway and palms) (43)
- red ironbark (Eucalyptus fibrosa) (46);
- plantings associated with Nurses Quarters No. 1 and No. 3 (18);
- plantings associated with Nurses Quarters No. 2 (19);
- boundary planting south of Superintendent's Residence (22);
- plantings for Olympic Media Village in Village Green Area 1 (24);
- double row of brush box (Lophostemon confertus) (28);
- row of cypresses (Cupressus species) (29);
- mixed plantings northwest corner of historic core (30);
- mixed plantings to southern sector of original triangle (39);
- eucalypts and palms (40);
- triangular bed at fulcrum of Mance Ave and Sussex Street (48);
- plantings for Olympic Media Village along Mance Avenue (62);
- landscape feature north of Vernon-designed wards (63);
- pond, bridge and plantings north (rear) of Vernon-designed wards (64); and
- plantings for Olympic Media Village near Chapel Road (65).
- grove of mixed gums (Eucalyptus spp.) (57) on a separate portion of the former hospital site to the remainder of the listing.
(Godden Mackay Logan 2004)
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
The physical condition of the buildings, roads and plantings is generally stable. The site has been well secured.
Archaeological potential resources are associated with the initial establishment of the proposed Boys Reformatory and Model Farm.

Archaeological features and deposits associated with the development of the Asylum and State Hospital have the potential to enhance the available information relating to the care and hospitalisation of the aged, infirm and destitute.

There is little research potential in archaeological remains associated with the development of the site after WWII. This period is well known and understood in the development of health care facilities in NSW.

Archaeological remains of the first institutional Septic tank constructed in Australia are located within the neighbouring University of Sydney Cumberland College campus. Associated archaeological elements may be located within the Lidcombe Hospital site.

The Lidcombe State Hospital- Aboriginal Archaeological Survey prepared by Mary Dallas Consulting Archaeologists for Devine Erby Mazlin in 1997 found no evidence of Aboriginal cultural material and concluded that there were no archaeological constraints to the proposed re-use of the Lidcombe Hospital site.
(Godden Mackay Logan 2004)
Date condition updated:07 Aug 03
Modifications and dates: 1885-1892: Proposed Boys Reformatory and Model Farm.
1893-1913: Rookwood Asylum for the Aged and Infirm.
1914-1926: Rookwood State Hospital and Asylum for Men.
1927-1966: Lidcombe State Hospital and Home.

1966-1995:used as the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games Media Village.

2004: Demolition of less significant hospital buildings and structures in the remainder of the former Lidcombe Hospital site.

2006-11: adaptive reuse of7ha (of total 44ha site) former historic core of buildings and 'village green' as apartments. 10 single level cottages will become nine strata-titled homes as part of the new 'Botanica' master-planned community, by Australand P/L. The two storey superintendent's house will be a five-bedroom house on a Torrens title (Wellings, in SMH, 13-14/8/2011).
Further information: All of the buildings and roads of exceptional and high significance are located within the curtilage of the precinct. The majority of significant landscape elements are also located within this precinct. The precinct retains substantial evidence of all periods of development of the site from Boys Reformatory, through State Hospital to Olympic Media Village. (Godden Mackay Logan 2004)
Current use: housing
Former use: Part of the State Hospital and Home for the Aged and Infirm

History

Historical notes: Six key phases of development demonstrate the evolution of the site, from proposed Reformatory and Model Farm for wayward boys to an important teaching hospital that specialised in geriatric care and rehabilitation until its transformation into the Media Village for the Sydney 2000 Olympics. An innovative aspect of the development of the site was Sydney's first Septic Tank with associated facilities, constructed in 1897-1898 to alleviate the inadequacies of the existing system. A summary of key development dates is provided below:

1885-1892: Boys Reformatory and Model Farm (proposed).
1893-1913: Rookwood Asylum for the Aged and Infirm.
1914-1926: Lidcombe State Hospital and Asylum for Men.
1927-1966: Lidcombe State Hospital and Home.
1966-1995: Lidcombe Hospital (Note: the Jack Lang Wing remained in use for hospital purposes until 1997).
1998-2000: Olympic Media Village.


The Lidcombe Hospital Recreation Hall and Chapel was designed by architect Ken Woolley.*

* Ken Woolley (1933-2015):
Ken Woolley died in late 2015. His designs for the University of Sydney's Chemistry School and St. Margaret's Hospital chapel, done when he was 22, are heritage-listed. Before he was 30 he had completed a number of famous Sydney buildings, including the University of Sydney's Fisher Library, the State Office Block on the corner of Macquarie and Bent Streets (demolished in 1997 for Aurora Place), the Woolley House in Mosman, the Lidcombe Hospital Recreation Hall and Chapel and the first Pettit & Sevitt project home houses. Woolley went to University of Sydney through a traineeship from the NSW Public Works Department that paid the fees and an allowance, with holiday employment and a five year contract after graduation. He graduated in 1955 with first class honours in architecture and the University Medal. He was awarded the Byera Hadley Travelling Scholarship for 1955, working in London for Chamberlin Powell and Bon, in the midst of discussion about modernism and the International style. The Smithsons, New Brutalism and New Liberty styles were part of this discourse. He travelled to FInland in the north, Italy and Spain in the south, visiting prominent architects and buildings of the day.

In 1964 Woolley went into partnership with Ancher Mortlock Murray, and on to a career including over 6000 dwelling units and production houses and his own three Wilkinson Award-winning homes. The early years of the practice saw the individual partners doing their own thing, but with time and retirements Woolley became sole principal and design director of Ancher Mortlock Woolley in 1982 and from then on much of the firm's work carried his stamp. He saw himself as a late modernist, invludenced in various ways by Alvar Aalto, Mies van der Rohe and Le Corbusier and attuned to the development of regionalism, New Brutalism, the theoretical aspects of post-modernism and reattachment to traditions.

His works in the Australian Embassy in Bangkok, Parramatta Federal Courts, the ADFA Cadets' Mess, several student union buildings on universities, wharf-side Navy buildings of Garden Island, the Park Hyatt Hotel, Sydney Town Hall House and Sydney Square (between the Town Hall and St. Andrew's Cathedral), the ABC Radio and Goossens Hall - first section of the ABC's Ultimo headquarters, Australia's pavilion at Expo '88, the State Library of Victoria (extension), the Olympics 2000 sports halls, the Agricultural Society Dome and the Hockey Stadium at Homebush and Sydney Airport Control Tower. He designed the new Large Theatre at Sydney Opera House.

In the 21st century came the latest refurbishment of the Queen Victoria Building, an effort at revival of the Pettit & Sevitt houses and other collaborative projects with his former practice, Ancher Mortlock Woolley. He was a visiting professor at University of NSW and University of Sydney and chaired or was a member on various award, review and competition juries. Woolley was interested in architectural theory and was working on a book, 'People in Glass Houses' about the key point in Modernist architecture, around 1930, when he died.

Woolley was made a member of the Order of Australia (AM) in 1988, awarded the Gold Medal of the Royal Australian Institute of Architects in 1993 and elected a fellow of the Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering in 2001. He received the Centennary Medal in 2003 for services to structural engineering. In 2010 he was awarded a Doctorate of Science in Architecture honoris causa by the University of Sydney, where he was an adjunct professor of the Faculty of Architecture, Design and Planning (Woolley & Veitch, 2015, 49).

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Environment - cultural landscape-Activities associated with the interactions between humans, human societies and the shaping of their physical surroundings Landscapes of institutions - productive and ornamental-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Environment - cultural landscape-Activities associated with the interactions between humans, human societies and the shaping of their physical surroundings Landscapes and parklands of distinctive styles-
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 Operating public hospitals-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Land tenure-Activities and processes for identifying forms of ownership and occupancy of land and water, both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Changing land uses - from rural to suburban-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Land tenure-Activities and processes for identifying forms of ownership and occupancy of land and water, both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Sub-division of large estates-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Towns, suburbs and villages-Activities associated with creating, planning and managing urban functions, landscapes and lifestyles in towns, suburbs and villages Creating landmark structures and places in regional settings-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Towns, suburbs and villages-Activities associated with creating, planning and managing urban functions, landscapes and lifestyles in towns, suburbs and villages 20th Century infrastructure-
5. Working-Working Labour-Activities associated with work practises and organised and unorganised labour Working in health care-
7. Governing-Governing Government and Administration-Activities associated with the governance of local areas, regions, the State and the nation, and the administration of public programs - includes both principled and corrupt activities. State government-
7. Governing-Governing Government and Administration-Activities associated with the governance of local areas, regions, the State and the nation, and the administration of public programs - includes both principled and corrupt activities. Developing roles for government - administering a public health system-
7. Governing-Governing Welfare-Activities and process associated with the provision of social services by the state or philanthropic organisations Destitute and alone-
7. Governing-Governing Welfare-Activities and process associated with the provision of social services by the state or philanthropic organisations Providing hospital facilities-
7. Governing-Governing Welfare-Activities and process associated with the provision of social services by the state or philanthropic organisations Hospital/nursing home phase-
7. Governing-Governing Welfare-Activities and process associated with the provision of social services by the state or philanthropic organisations Providing geriatric and old age care-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Creative endeavour-Activities associated with the production and performance of literary, artistic, architectural and other imaginative, interpretive or inventive works; and/or associated with the production and expression of cultural phenomena; and/or environments that have inspired such creative activities. Architectural styles and periods - Federation Arts and Crafts-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Creative endeavour-Activities associated with the production and performance of literary, artistic, architectural and other imaginative, interpretive or inventive works; and/or associated with the production and expression of cultural phenomena; and/or environments that have inspired such creative activities. Architectural styles and periods - mid 20th century modernism-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with Cobden Parkes, Government architect, 1950s-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with Ken Woolley, modernist architect-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with Walter Liberty Vernon, Government Architect, private architect-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with James Barnet, Colonial (government) Architect-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
The Lidcombe Hospital site was in continual use for over 100 years, initially providing care and shelter for destitute men, then evolving into an important State teaching hospital providing a comprehensive range of community health care facilities.

The Lidcombe Hospital site, as a whole, contains physical evidence of major public works associated with changes in State and Commonwealth health care policy.

From its inception as a proposed Boys Reformatory and Model Farm, to an Asylum for destitute men through to a State teaching hospital, eventually specialising in geriatric care and rehabilitation, the Lidcombe Hospital Precinct demonstrates the changing attitudes of managing and caring for the aged, infirm and destitute.

The Lidcombe Hospital Precinct shows the design and development of a government welfare institution initially reliant upon a self-sustaining farm.

Lidcombe Hospital site shows the design of an institution that had to isolate its proposed function as a Boys Reformatory from the surrounding community, and how it developed to accommodate medical isolation facilities, such as the Scabies and Epilepsy Wards, then evolved to more general health care functions.

In 1919 Rookwood State Hospital and Asylum for Men was the largest institution of its type in the Commonwealth.

The Lidcombe Hospital site played a significant role during the 2000 Sydney Olympics providing accommodation and facilities for over 5,000 journalists. It was temporarily renamed Olympic Media Village.

It is important in demonstrating the colonial government's response to institutionalised housing and care of wayward boys and destitute and infirm men.

The Lidcombe Hospital Precinct is important in demonstrating the concept of a self-sustaining public welfare institution that required intensive farming operations to support its functions.

The Lidcombe Hospital Precinct is important for its role as an Asylum with working farm providing produce to other state institutions. Despite there being little physical evidence of this aspect of operations remaining it is an important historic value associated with the site.

The Lidcombe Hospital site is important for providing and developing geriatric health care and rehabilitation facilities and health care programs during the twentieth century.

The Lidcombe Hospital Precinct reflects changes in State health policy during the twentieth century. The decline and subsequent closure of Lidcombe Hospital reflects the changing emphasis of healthcare for the aged to keep people out of institutions and in their own homes, by integrating geriatric care services provided by general practitioners, hospital outreach services and voluntary agencies.

Lidcombe Hospital in the 1960s and 1970s was a leader in New South Wales in the medical speciality of 'geriatrics' and the treatment and rehabilitation needs of the elderly.

The Lidcombe Hospital site was transformed during the 2000 Sydney Olympics by providing housing for approximately 5,000 journalists. It demonstrates the important government and community commitment to a major public event.

The Lidcombe Hospital site has played a significant part in the development of many of the surrounding suburban areas and the growth of local communities, both as an employer and as a physical barrier to suburban expansion.

The Lidcombe Hospital site has maintained continuous health care for those in need from the 1890s until its closure in 1995-97.

The Lidcombe Hospital Precinct demonstrates the continually changing needs and responses to the treatment and care of the elderly.
(GML 2004)
SHR Criteria b)
[Associative significance]
The Lidcombe Hospital Precinct demonstrates the changes in the practice of accommodating and caring for the homeless, destitute and the elderly during the twentieth century.

In 1967, Medical Superintendent George Procopis developed Lidcombe Hospital, as a whole, into an important geriatric hospital with emphasis on activity and rehabilitation therapy; and included treatment and rehabilitation for patients suffering alcoholism, demonstrating the hospitals commitment to innovative and progressive health care.

Dr Tinsley established a full rehabilitation department in 1961 at Lidcombe Hospital and developed programs to actively improve physical and mental facilities and quality of life for aged and disabled persons, demonstrating evolving attitudes to geriatric health.

The Lidcombe Hospital site, as a whole, is significant for its association with Dr Piere Fiaschi and the advanced techniques he made in anaesthesia in 1919 when the Mettzer method of insufflation anaesthesia was introduced to the Sydney medical fraternity.

Many medical specialists, including Dr Lionel Cosins, an English geriatrician of note visited Lidcombe Hospital because of its advanced Rehabilitation Centre, indicating its professional reputation in geriatric medicine.

The Lidcombe Hospital Precinct has associations with the office of eight New South Wales Government Architects notably, James Barnet, Walter Liberty Vernon, George McRae, Cobden Parkes; and the architect Ken Woolley, in demonstrating evolving government design approaches to major public health infrastructure through the twentieth century.
(GML 2004)
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
The precinct contains an exceptional and rare collection of fine, intact architecture and landscapes of the Victorian, Edwardian, Interwar and late-20th Century styles, together with outstanding examples of asylum and institutional planning from leading Colonial, Government and private architects from the 19th and 20th Centuries.

The asylum and hospital planning is an exceptional example of the 19th century advancements in NSW for health care along the principles of Florence Nightingale, where it was considered healthy to surround hospital and asylum buildings with gardens as part of patient treatment and the buildings were designed with particular attention to natural light, ventilation and climate control for the care of patients. Australian designs for naturally ventilated hospital wards were well known internationally, where for example, the examples by Hall and Dods in Brisbane were mentioned in advice on hospital design given by the English War Office in 1915. (Boyd)

The nine Vernon-designed wards, individually and collectively, are outstanding examples of hospital pavilion buildings also evidenced in some French and British colonies of the time, which demonstrate the deliberate continuation of the hospital pavilion and barracks designs of the Royal Engineers for the West Indies, with its own distinctive variations derived from the Australian colonial vernacular. This Colonial pavilion style was also employed in Sydney for the Rum Hospital and the Military Hospital on Observatory Hill, and in Newcastle for the James Fletcher Hospital. Examples of similar hospital pavilions are also evidenced in the French colonies. Overseas institutional layouts were visited by both Barnet and Vernon. Vernon's work demonstrated greater attention to light and ventilation than English examples and landscaping of a much higher standard. (Boyd)

Vernon's ward buildings also demonstrate the deliberate and early use of the Australian Colonial vernacular in the design of NSW public buildings, particularly the wrap-around verandah as a means of climate control, rather than the Italianate arcade or colonnade favoured during this stylistic period. The building designs of Vernon at Lidcombe Hospital thereby represent one of a series of public buildings built in NSW, such as the Lands Board Office, the Bourke Courthouse and Grafton Experiment Farm buildings, that mark the search for a distinctly Australian architecture, an architecture that drew on the colonial vernacular. (Boyd) It is possibly this incorporation of the colonial vernacular, along with the deliberately modest building scale, form and non-institutional design, that has led to the wards sometimes being described as being of a bungalow style, even though they were not designed as residences.

The nine Vernon-designed wards (1893-1906) demonstrate finely crafted and detailed timber and fretwork, roof vents, fleches, brick chimneys and encircling verandahs which are aesthetically distinctive. Both individually and collectively they contribute to the aesthetic values of the Lidcombe Hospital Precinct and the Lidcombe Hospital site as a whole.

The Lidcombe Hospital Precinct contains a rich ensemble of buildings that reflect changing technologies associated with the provision of medical care and public health administration for a period of over 100 years.

The Lidcombe Hospital Precinct is a visually distinctive cultural landscape with buildings sited along contour related roadways creating a 'village' style institution within a landscaped setting.

The buildings around the Lidcombe Hospital Precinct including the Barnet-designed wards (1885-1887), Superintendent's Residence (1887), former Dining Hall (1885), the nine Vernon-designed wards (1893-1906) and the Village Green itself, have an strong aesthetic cohesiveness and create a harmonious arrangement of buildings around a landscaped open space.

A number of prominent built elements and landscape features, such as the phoenix palms and hoop pines along the Main Avenue, the Boiler House Chimney, the Clock Tower, the Village Green surrounded by the Barnet and Vernon-designed buildings, the Woolley-designed Recreation Hall and Chapel, the large fig trees and the separate grove of surviving mixed Eucalypts, are all landmark features within the Precinct.

The design of early buildings, their configuration and relationship to each other and the layout of the Lidcombe Hospital Precinct, including the roads, creates an aesthetically distinctive complex of hospital buildings that provides built evidence of significant phases of the development of an important health care facility in New South Wales.

The design and layout of the roads into and within the Lidcombe Hospital Precinct demonstrate the pattern of development and changes that have occurred. The earliest extant roads are important for the understanding of both the Lidcombe Hospital site, as a whole, and include Farm Road, Mance Avenue, Main Avenue, Brooks Circuit, Church Street, Sussex Street, Copeland Road and Peden Lane.

The architectural character of the Barnet and Vernon-designed buildings and their arrangement around the Village Green reflects late Victorian planning ideals for institutional facilities.

The Vernon-designed bungalow wards demonstrate an adaptation of the domestic bungalow design idiom to the larger institutional scale, also responding to Australian climatic conditions.

The sequence of buildings on the Lidcombe Hospital site as a whole reflects the changing attitudes to, and technologies of, health care and forms of accommodation thought suitable for patients and staff and architectural philosophies of the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
(GML 2004)
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
The Lidcombe Hospital site is valued by former medical administrators, healthcare practitioners and nurses for: its prominence in development and training in the area of geriatric care and rehabilitation in New South Wales, and for its role as a teaching hospital.

The Lidcombe Hospital site was important to the local community in providing employment and access to a wide range of health care facilities. Local people have strong associations with the place as former staff, patients and visitors.

It is a place that is held in high esteem by a number of identifiable groups for its cultural and social values.

If the Lidcombe Hospital Precinct was damaged or destroyed, it would cause the community and cultural groups a sense of loss.

It is a place of particular importance and association for the Lidcombe Heritage Group Inc. and the Auburn District Historical Society.
(GML 2004)
SHR Criteria e)
[Research potential]
The archaeological resource associated with the Lidcombe Hospital Precinct (in varying degrees depending on integrity) has the potential to contribute to and enhance the extant documentary and physical evidence concerning the development and use of the site over time.

The archaeological resource associated within the Lidcombe Hospital Precinct can contribute to an understanding about developments and changes in the treatment of the destitute, infirm and ailing during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries in Sydney.

The archaeological resource of much of the Lidcombe Hospital Precinct has the potential to yield information about the everyday functioning of the early institutions of asylums and homes for the destitute in a unique way through sufficiently intact physical remains which could provide meaningful information.

The archaeological resource associated with the first Septic Tank constructed in Australia and the possible relationship between the irrigation system stormwater channel and the sewerage system has the potential to yield information about the development of the early sewerage system and its technical innovation. The remains of the Septic Tank itself are no longer within the hospital boundary, but pipes and channels and associated infrastructure are likely to be located in the Lidcombe Hospital Precinct. (The remains of the Septic Tank are in the University of Sydney Cumberland College campus).

Archaeological investigations of the early road system could reveal details relating to modifications of the landscape and land use patterns over time that are not available in the documentary resource.

The major part of the former hospital site, beyond the Lidcombe Hospital Precinct, has low or no archaeological significance because it is unlikely to yield further information that will contribute to an understanding of the site's history. This is because no occupation occurred at those areas (occupation was ephemeral, or minor activities associated with the major phases of the site's history took place at those locations). In addition, they are the areas where site disturbance has so compromised archaeological resources that no meaningful information could be pursued through archaeological means.

The evolution of the Lidcombe Hospital Precinct from a facility for the care of the destitute, homeless, aged and infirm, with a self-sustaining farm, into an important teaching hospital specialising in geriatric health care and rehabilitation is a benchmark or reference type for such health care facilities in New South Wales.

The buildings constructed in the Lidcombe Hospital Precinct during the first phases of its development, designed by architects Barnet and Vernon, provide evidence of the government's architectural solution for late nineteenth and early twentieth-century institutions for wayward boys and homeless and destitute men.

The wards designed by Vernon provide evidence of late nineteenth and early twentieth-century methods of natural ventilation and climate control for dormitory-style buildings in New South Wales.
(GML 2004)
SHR Criteria f)
[Rarity]
Lidcombe Hospital Precinct provides evidence of the type of self-sufficient institution developed in the late nineteenth century for the care of wayward boys and later for homeless and destitute men.

The Lidcombe Hospital Precinct, including the Barnet wards, the former Dining Hall, Superintendent's Residence and the Vernon bungalow wards, arranged around the Village Green, are a rare and intact group of institutional buildings reflecting the design philosophies for reformatories/asylums in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

The largely intact Vernon wards demonstrate a rare expression of the Australian Bungalow architectural style in an institutional setting, responding to the climate in New South Wales and adapted for institutional use.

The timber detailing, fretwork, roof vents, fleches, brick detailing and verandahs demonstrated in the Vernon ward buildings create a unique architectural aesthetic that is of exceptional interest.

The Lidcombe Hospital Precinct demonstrates the evolution, during the twentieth century, of an institution for the destitute into an important State teaching hospital for the wider community.

It would require further research and analysis to detail the extent to which the Lidcombe Hospital site demonstrates other aspects of the rarity this criterion.
(GML 2004)
SHR Criteria g)
[Representativeness]
Lidcombe Hospital Precinct, with its historic, aesthetic, social significance, technical/research potential and rarity, provides ample evidence to represent the key State historic themes of science, government and administration, health, education, death and persons. It therefore satisfies all of the following inclusion guidelines:
- is a fine example of its type;
- has the potential characteristics of an important class or group of items;
- has attributes typical of a particular way of life, philosophy, custom, significant process, design, technique or activity;
- is a significant variation to a class of items;
- is part of a group, which collectively illustrates a representative type;
- is outstanding because of its setting, condition or size; and
- is outstanding because of its integrity; and
- is important for the esteem in which it is held. (GML 2004)
Integrity/Intactness: The majority of buildings outside the Lidcombe Hospital Precinct have now been demolished and substantial changes have been made to the landscape to prepare the site for a residential development. The Lidcombe Hospital Precinct contains all early extant buildings to the 1940s and other built elements from the 1950s and 1960s, and the most significant parts of the road network. While hospital infrastructure has been adapted to accommodate new technologies and uses, the essential character of the Precinct remains intact. The core of the Precinct, centred on the Village Green very strongly reflects the key values of the site. (GML 2004)
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.

Procedures /Exemptions

Section of actDescriptionTitleCommentsAction date
57(2)Exemption to allow workHeritage Act - Site Specific Exemptions HERITAGE ACT, 1977

ORDER UNDER SECTION 57(2)

Lidcombe Hospital Precinct

SHR No 1744

I, the Minister for Planning, on the recommendation of the Heritage Council of New South Wales, in pursuance of section 57(2) of the Heritage Act, 1977, do, by this my order, grant an exemption from section 57(1) of the said Act in respect of the engaging in or carrying out of any activities described in Schedule “C” by the owner, mortgagee or lessee of the land described in Schedule “B” on the item described in Schedule “A”.




FRANK SARTOR, M.P.,
Minister for Planning


Sydney, 22nd Day of December 2005



SCHEDULE “A”

The item known as Lidcombe Hospital Precinct, Joseph Street, Lidcombe, situated on the land described in Schedule “B”.


SCHEDULE “B”

All those pieces or parcels of land known as Lots 10, 13, 14 and 15 of DP 1074086, and Part Lots 8, 17, 18, 19 and 20 of DP 1074086 in Parish of Liberty Plains, County of Cumberland shown on the plan catalogued HC 2065 in the office of the Heritage Council of New South Wales.

SCHEDULE “C”

All works and activities in accordance with a current and valid development consent from the Land and Environment Court for DA 572/02.
Feb 27 2006
57(2)Exemption to allow workStandard Exemptions SCHEDULE OF STANDARD EXEMPTIONS
HERITAGE ACT 1977
Notice of Order Under Section 57 (2) of the Heritage Act 1977

I, the Minister for Planning, pursuant to subsection 57(2) of the Heritage Act 1977, on the recommendation of the Heritage Council of New South Wales, do by this Order:

1. revoke the Schedule of Exemptions to subsection 57(1) of the Heritage Act made under subsection 57(2) and published in the Government Gazette on 22 February 2008; and

2. grant standard exemptions from subsection 57(1) of the Heritage Act 1977, described in the Schedule attached.

FRANK SARTOR
Minister for Planning
Sydney, 11 July 2008

To view the schedule click on the Standard Exemptions for Works Requiring Heritage Council Approval link below.
Sep 5 2008

PDF Standard exemptions for works requiring Heritage Council approval

Listings

Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Heritage Act - State Heritage Register 0174424 Feb 06 27992
Heritage Act - Icons Project Nomination for SHR listing  24 Jun 04   
Local Environmental PlanWhole of site with specified elements    
National Trust of Australia register 13 buildings classified    
Register of the National Estate     

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenGodden Mackay Logan Heritage Consultants (GML)2004State Heritage Register nomination SHI form
WrittenMary Dallas1997Lidcombe State Hospital — Aboriginal Archaeological Survey
WrittenNoel Bell Ridley Smith & Partners Architects1995Lidcombe State Hospital Conservation Plan
WrittenNoni Boyd2005Submissions on State Heritage Register Listing and related assessment
WrittenRosemary Broomham2000The Unwanted Burden, Public Health in NSW, 1788-1988, A thematic history Final Draft

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

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Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: Heritage Office
Database number: 5049732
File number: S90/07418, H04/00091/5 (ICONS)


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