Kenmore Hospital Precinct | NSW Environment & Heritage

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Heritage

Kenmore Hospital Precinct

Item details

Name of item: Kenmore Hospital Precinct
Type of item: Complex / Group
Group/Collection: Health Services
Category: Psychiatric hospital/Mental institute/Asylum
Location: Lat: -34.7187602884 Long: 149.7554466130
Primary address: Taralga Road, Goulburn, NSW 2580
Local govt. area: Goulburn Mulwaree
Local Aboriginal Land Council: Pejar
Property description
Lot/Volume CodeLot/Volume NumberSection NumberPlan/Folio CodePlan/Folio Number
LOT5 DP1003261
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
Taralga RoadGoulburnGoulburn Mulwaree  Primary Address

Owner/s

Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
LFA (Pacific) Pty LtdPrivate 

Statement of significance:

The Kenmore Psychiatric Hospital site is of State significance: as the first purpose-built, whole complex for mental health care in rural NSW; as the largest example of the work of W.L. Vernon (the first Government Architect); and for having been used and maintained by the one agency for the original purpose continuously (except for the brief Defence period during WWII).

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 one hundred 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 one of 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 original Vernon buildings.

The early buildings of Kenmore, particularly the 'core' Vernon buildings, represent perhaps the finest 'corporate' architectural expression of the 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 particularly 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 NSW.

The farm complex of Kenmore is culturally significant as a physically intact precinct created as an integral part of rehabilitation treatment for the patients of Kenmore. The sporting related functions, particularly the cricket pavilion, are significant as exemplars of the close connection of Kenmore to its community, and the use of sport as an integral part of rehabilitation treatment.

The cemetery complex, and its landscape, is a significant element of the life / death cycle of the Kenmore Psychiatric Hospital. It is one of the 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 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 structure and philosophy and physical basis of the institution. The hospital also has specific association with those Inspectors General who ran it. (Freeman 1999:25).
Date significance updated: 13 Nov 03
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: Walter Liberty Vernon
Construction years: 1879-1895
Physical description: Hospital Complex:
A Hospital village (self-supporting up to WW2). Includes nineteen ward buildings, Administration buildings, kitchen, assorted staff dwellings, river Pump-house. All are made of orange-red brick (kiln-fired on site) with sandstone features in walls. Original rooves of Welsh slate. Slate stoops and stairways feature throughout most buildings (LEP, 2009).

Because the campus demonstrates a level of exceptional significance for its pivotal role in the evolution and development of treatment for the mentally ill and handicapped in NSW; and contains perhaps the finest corporate architectural expression of the Edwardian Free Style in Australia, it can be said to be of exceptional significance. Kenmore Hospital is a rare or outstanding item of State significance with a high degree of intactness. The campus can be interpreted relatively easily (Freeman 1999: 29-30).

Kenmore Cemetery:
Kenmore Hospital Cemetery, which was in use from 1895, is of State heritage significance. It represents a significant element in the life and death cycle of the Kenmore Psychiatric Hospital and is one of the few 'pauper' cemeteries in NSW (LEP, 2009).

"The Forest"
This area west of the main administration building complex towards Wollondilly Avenue and Taralga Road contains a number of mature tree plantings, including hoop pine (Araucaria cunninghamii); Mediterranean cypress /pencil pine (Cupressus sempervirens); holm / holly / evergreen oak (Quercus ilex); Lombardy poplar (Populus nigra 'Italica'); white oak (Quercus bicolor); live oak (Q.virginiana); African podocarp (Afrocarpus falcatus/ Nageia falcata); elms (Ulmus procera); Bhutan cypress (Cupressus torulosa); smooth Arizona cypress (Cupressus glabra); honey locust (Gleditsia triacanthos); and fan palms (Washingtonia robusta)(Stuart Read, site visit, 9/6/2006).
Date condition updated:30 May 14
Modifications and dates: Additional buildings - 1904 - 1912 onwards. Some external modifications 1920s to late 1960s (LEP, 2009)
Current use: disused
Former use: Aboriginal land, farm, Mental Hospital; Convalescent Hospital.

History

Historical notes: Pre-contact:
MacAlister notes that initiation ceremonies were performed opposite Kenmore hospital (MacAlister 1907:85*). The importance of the Kenmore region was confirmed during fieldwork in 2013 (J.Boney pers.comm*, *both quoted in Biosys, 2015, 19-20).

Post-contact:
The Kenmore estate was originally owned by William Lithgow and Andrew Allen. Their grants of land can be traced back to the mid-1820s, the time of Goulburn's first European settlement. The village of Kenmore developed from a number of land sales from the late 1870s (Newton, 2015).

1. LAND ACQUISITIONS and Kenmore Estate:
Kenmore Hospital is situated within the Parish of Narrangarril, County of Argyle, City of Goulburn. The name Kenmore, after the village of Perthshire was given by William Lithgow, Colonial Auditor General, to a grant of 2,000 acres north of the Wollondilly River which he received in 1825 (National Trust of Australia).

This was combined in the middle of the 19th century with a grant originally made to Andrew Allen and called Strathallen, after the small river just south of Kenmore, Scotland. The combined holding was called Kenmore Estate and the name has continued in use for the hospital and the village which grew up near it, even though the hospital is on the former Strathallen grant (ibid).

By the 1870s the owner of Kenmore Estate was Mr S T Gibson and upon his death in 1879 the estate was subdivided. At the auction on 29 October 1879 the District Surveyor, Mr Edward Twynam (who resided at nearby Riversdale) purchased lot 32, of 173 acres, at 4,100 pounds ($9) per acres and lot 33, of 175 acres, for 3 pounds ($6) per acre, for the government for use as a lunatic asylum. Lot 32 is the area on which the hospital buildings stand and lot 33 is the area to the north of this, across Kenmore Creek (ibid).

A curious piece of departmental bunglings is revealed by transactions in connection with Kenmore and Rossiville estates. Rossiville was purchased by the Government in 1890 (for 15,158 pounds) for the building of a lunatic asylum, it having forgotten that it owned Kenmore since 1879. The proposal to establish an asylum at Rossiville was abandoned after protests on the grounds of possible contamination of the twon water supply. In 1890, the decision to build at Kenmore was rescinded by Parliament and in 1891 competitive designs for a hospital at Rossimore were invited. Architect and Town Planner, John Sulman won the competition but the commission was awarded to the second prize winner, Walter Liberty Vernon (ibid).

In 1892 Goulburn City Council was still protesting against the proposal to build at Rossiville and was urging Kenmore on the government as the alternative. In the meantime the decision to build at Kenmore was reaffirmeed. After some arkward questions were asked in Parliament in 1895 as to why two lots of land had been purchased for the same purpose, the Government called for a report on the suitability of Rossiville for an experimental farm. The expert opinion was unfavourable. In 1897 the Minister in charge admitted that he did not know what the estate cost, why it was unoccupied or how it was to be used. In fact, up until 1908 rossiville was used for the slaughtering of cattle for Kenmore Hospital, to the possible danger of the municipal water supply. The Department of Agriculture again inspected it and nothing came of it (ibid).

2. ESTABLISHMENT:
The Government agreed in 1991 to the Department of Lands disposing of the 757 acres at Rossiville and some adjoining Crown Land, under the Closer Settlement Act. Two acres of the old estate were reserved for mining purposes to enable the Hospital to obtain soil for the cricket pitch and topsoil. This two acres, on Pomeroy Road, was gazetted as part of the Hospital in 1954 (ibid).

The only other remaining link with Rossiville is the fountain in the pond near the canteen. The fountain was made in Italy and displayed in the Italian Court of the Sydney International Exhibition of 1879. At the close of the exhibition it was purchased by the owner of Rossiville, at that time the Compte de Rossi. When Rossiville was purchased in 1890 the fountain became Government property. After necessary repairs it was brought to Kenmore in 1899 and erected on a large mound about where the steps are in the low brick fence between the Administration Block and the Medical Superintendent's residence. It was shifted to its present position some years later when the present road from Ward 1 to Ward 19 was constructed (ibid).

3. COMMENCEMENT OF BUILDING: The establishment of an asylum at Goulburn had been recommended by Dr. F. Norton Manning, the first Inspector General of the Insane (National Trust of Australia). Manning, a prominent early Australian psychiatrist, fought to establish a psychiatric hospital in the serene estate of Kenmore (ibid, 2015).

In 1895 it was opened as the Kenmore Lunatic Asylum, 13 years before Morrisset Hospital on the Central Coast; its architect was Government Architect, Walter Liberty Vernon (ibid, 2015).

Throughout much of the 19th and 20th centuries, both these facilities once accommodated up to 1500 and 1400 mental health patients respectively (ibid, 2015).

Kenmore was also used as a repatriation hospital following both World Wars. Kenmore patient records are available from State Records NSW (ibid, 2015).

54 Bed Pyschiatric facility - assorted Health offices (LEP, 2009).

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Agriculture-Activities relating to the cultivation and rearing of plant and animal species, usually for commercial purposes, can include aquaculture Ancillary structures - wells, cisterns-
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 Early land grants-
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 Granting Crown lands for private farming-
5. Working-Working Labour-Activities associated with work practises and organised and unorganised labour Working independently on the land-
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. Grants of land for agriculture-
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 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 - building and operating public infrastructure-
7. Governing-Governing Welfare-Activities and process associated with the provision of social services by the state or philanthropic organisations Convalescent hospital-
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-
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. Applying architectural design to utlilitarian structures-
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. Landscaping - Federation period-
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. Landscaping - Victorian gardenesque style-
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 Frederick Norton Manning, Medical reformer-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical 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 one hundred 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 original Vernon buildings. (Freeman 1999:25).
SHR Criteria b)
[Associative significance]
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 NSW.

The hospital has specific associations with those who created the philosophical and physical basis of the institution. The Hospital and its landscape also has specific association with those Inspector Generals who ran it. (Freeman 1999:25).
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
The early buildings of Kenmore, particularly the 'core' Vernon buildings, represent perhaps the finest 'corporate' architectural expression of the Edwardian (later Federation) Free style in Australia.

The unity of the building complex, and the quality of the design, detailing and construction is exceptional. The relationship between buildings and landscape is an important reflection of institutional landscape management over a period of one hundred years. The riverside setting on land which slopes gently towards the depression of the river provides Kenmore with an exceptional aspect that is viewed from the major transport (road and rail) to the east. This aspect has been enhanced by the Goulbourn town bypass road and ensures that the town is identified to a large extent by the Kenmore Hospital aspect.
(Freeman 1999:25).
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
The institution of Kenmore once had 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 sporting and cultural activities.

With the prohibition of 'external' use of the Kenmore playing fields and the virtual 'close down' of the majority of the Kenmore buildings, these links with the community (both actual and virtual) are now not much more than historical associations.

However, when the Kenmore Psychiatric Hospital was in its 'prime', it was a centre for sporting excellence in the region and great pride was felt by patients, staff and the Goulbourn community in the Kenmore playing fields.

The Hospital is regarded today by the community, former staff and patients in both a positive and negative light. There is the positive contribution of Kenmore to the community; and the negative ethos of psychiatric institutions.
(Freeman 1999:25).
SHR Criteria e)
[Research potential]
The institutionalisation of psychiatric patients is a function now less practiced. 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 1990s has seen the de-institutionalisation of eth State's psychiatric care; and the gradual removal from Kenmore is a State and National phenomenon.

The archive files of the Kenmore Hospital mental health activities elicit numerous requests for the provision of historical and archival data. The Archive si almost complete (extending back to Patient No. 1), and is of great historical importance. The Archives should be curated and conserved in proper condition.

The services reticulation within the site is significant in its own right. The 'oral history' archive retained by the past and present artisans is of cultural significance. This oral history is being lost because trades expertise is being lost to the campus, and with it the oral history record associated with the twentieth century history of the place.

Kenmore has traditionally played a 'service' role. With the closure of that service period, the opportunity to assess and interpret the role of the institution is now being taken. A Kenmore museum is currently being relocated to one of the historical ward buildings. The core precinct within the campus is virtually a living museum. There is an opportunity to reinterpret the whole role of psychiatric treatment in the State of Kenmore. (Freeman 1999:25).
SHR Criteria f)
[Rarity]
Whereas psychiatric hospitals were once viable and important institutions dealing with the mentally ill and handicapped, the radical changes in recent years in the treatment of mental illness has resulted in very low rates of institutionalisation and the closure of purpose-built facilities. Although part of Kenmore have been handed over for alternative uses, it is the most intact of the large psychiatric institutions (apart from the modern hospitals at Stockton and Orange), Kirkbride (Callan Park, which was the first purpose-built hospital of the type, has now been handed over to alternative uses. Kenmore is therefore the last, substantially 19th century hospital, to remain as a functioning hospital for the mentally ill. (Freeman 1999:25).
SHR Criteria g)
[Representativeness]
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 structure and philosophy of psychiatric institutions of its time.
(Freeman 1999:25).
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:

Recommendations

Management CategoryDescriptionDate Updated
Recommended ManagementReview a Conservation Management Plan (CMP) 
Recommended ManagementPrepare a maintenance schedule or guidelines 
Recommended ManagementCarry out interpretation, promotion and/or education 

Procedures /Exemptions

Section of actDescriptionTitleCommentsAction date
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 0172801 Apr 05 381013
Heritage Act - Icons Project Nomination for SHR listing  18 Jun 04   
Heritage Act - s.170 NSW State agency heritage registerDept. of Health s.170 register    
National Trust of Australia register  2408   
Register of the National Estate - Interim 18455   

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
Goulburn Heritage Study: final report1983 Lester Firth P/L  No

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenGraham Brooks & Associates2006Heritage Impact Assessment: Proposed Subdivision, Former Kenmore Hospital, Goulburn
WrittenLeighton-Daly, Phil2014Kenmore Psychiatric Hospital 'Wednesday's Child' - Volume 1
WrittenMiles, J.E.1995Kenmore Hospital - A Brief Historical Note
WrittenParsons Brinckerhoff P/L2003Draft Kenmore Master Plan - Goulburn Local Environment Plan 1990
WrittenPeter Freeman P/L in association with Donald Ellsmore P/L1999Conservation Management Plan Review: Kenmore Hospital, Goulburn

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: 5053600
File number: H02/00200, H04/00091/5 (ICONS)


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