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Callan Park, Sydney
Have you ever wondered why colonial psychiatric hospitals were always built on a river or lake ~ Callan Park, Ryde, Peat Island, Morisset? In the 19th century in Britain it was made illegal for lunatics to be transported by coach on the King’s roads in case they offended the populace, so they had to be transported by boat. Nowadays, with the mental health status such a grey area, the so-called “lunatics” can be transported by whatever means come to hand.
Kirkbride block was the original asylum complex & covers 5 hectares.
Services for people with a mental illness have been provided on the Rozelle Hospital site since 1876. Rozelle Hospital was formed in 1976 from the amalgamation of Callan Park Hospital & the Broughton Hall Psychiatric Clinic.
The History of Rozelle Hospital is in tandem with the historical, social & political context of the mentally ill of a new colony & the progressive maturity of a nation. The progressive changes between 1870 & the present day evidence this maturity as social attitudes gradually changed towards the care & treatment of the mentally ill.
In the early days of the colony the mentally ill were incarcerated in gaols or convict hospitals as no distinction was made between deviancy & illness. As time progressed in the colony an attitudinal change occurred & there was a determined effort to provide decent conditions & treatment for the mentally ill. The administrative policy of the day saw the need for purpose built lunatic asylums in order for the people to be treated, at the very least, humanely as distinct from convicts & social deviants.
The State Government purchased the site, then known as “Callan Estates” in 1873 with the express purpose of building a large psychiatric hospital to ease the severe overcrowding at the Gladesville Psychiatric Hospital. The proposal was met with some opposition from the local residents as the land, some 100 acres in area, had originally been advertised for sale as a residential subdivision.
In 1876, Garry Owen House, the original homestead on the site was used to accommodate the first patients at the new hospital. This building is now the NSW Writer’s Centre.
The fine group of sandstone buildings on the site was officially opened in 1884. These buildings, known as the ‘Kirkbride Block’ were named after the eminent American, Dr William Kirkbride who was renowned for his pioneering work on progressive mental health care. The buildings were originally designed to accommodate 666 patients however, by 1890 the hospital was seriously overcrowded with a total of 1078 patients. A further group of buildings were built around the turn of the century close to the Kirkbride buildings to ease the overcrowding problem.
The hospital grew in stature, & in 1900 the hospital was ranked as one of the finest institutions in the Commonwealth for the housing & treatment of persons suffering from mental disorders. Following the end of the First World War, a further six wards were built on the lower part of the site near the foreshore to accommodate war veterans with mental disorders. By 1955, severe overcrowding & poor building stock was again an issue & in 1961, around the time of the Royal Commission into Callan Park, there were some 1,750 patients in residence. In 1915, the Langdon family placed their 24 acre estate known as, Broughton Hall at the disposal of the Commonwealth Government to accommodate wounded soldiers & those suffering “shell-shock” from the First World War.
With the building of the war veteran’s accommodation at Callan Park, these functions were transferred to Callan Park in 1920 & Broughton Hall became a psychiatric clinic for people seeking mental health services but who were not certified under the Mental Health Act. The clinic provided accommodation for around 100 patients in addition to running a large outpatient clinic. A number of new buildings were built on the site during the early 1920’s & a day hospital & teaching complex was completed in the early 1960’s.
As a result of the 1961 Royal Commission’s enquiry into certain matters affecting the hospital additional wards were built on the site & the high brick fences around the site were removed in an attempt to ‘de-institutionalise’ the hospital.
The Kirkbride complex continued to be used for the housing & treatment of inmates until 1994, when the last remaining services were transferred to other buildings in the Callan Park grounds, towards the Broughton Hall at the southern end of the site. Many inmates were also transferred into half-way-houses in the local communtiy, in line with the The Richmond Report of 1983 which accelerated the move towards de-institutionalising care, creating a number of social & moral problems. In 2003 it was revealed that thousands of medical antiques from the Callan Park Lunatic Asylum, including a human skeleton & medical & dental instruments, have
Sydney Harbour Bridge 1964
This is an an old photo of the Sydney Harbour Brisge, taken about 1964. You can tell by the ancient buses. The focal part of the shot are the pylons which are only there for aesthetics and provide no support function. Inside the pylons there is accommodation which most likely not used anymore.
The photo was in poor condition and I have cleaned it up as much as possible, and I have slashed the description as you can easily look it up.
The Sydney Harbour Bridge was opened by the Premier of the state of New South Wales (Sydney is the capial) but not before the lively intervention of Captain Francis De Groot of the para-military group, the New Guard, who slashed the ribbon prematurely with his sword, prior to the official cutting. This incident caused both amusement and dismay on the day and has since become part of Australian folklore.
The cost of the Bridge was several million Australian pounds.
Work first began on the Sydney Harbour Bridge in 1924, with construction of the bridge approaches and the approach spans. As many as 800 families living in its path were displaced without compensation.
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