Agency VA 2844
Ballarat (Asylum 1877-1879; 1893-1905; Hospital for the Insane 1905-1934; Mental Hospital 1934-1969; Lakeside Hospital 1969-1996)
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Date Range: 1877 - 1996
 
Description of this AgencyDescription of this Agency
Establishment and Development of Services

The institution at Ballarat was first proclaimed a Public Asylum under the provisions of the Lunacy Statute 1867 (No.cccix) in the Government Gazette of August 1877. Its first patients were transferred from Yarra Bend Asylum (VA 2839) to ease the crowded conditions there. Ballarat was to cater for the "imbecile and idiot" class of patient rather than patients suffering from acute insanity. Both male and female patients were in residence at Ballarat until 1878 when the buildings were handed back to the Department of Industrial and Reformatory Schools (VA 1466).

It was decided to reconvert the building to its original use as an Industrial School. All patients were transferred to the new Asylum at Sunbury (VA 2843) which the Hospitals for the Insane Branch (VA 2863) had just recently acquired from the Department of Industrial and Reformatory Schools.

In March 1893 that the Ballarat Asylum was reopened to relieve overcrowding in metropolitan asylums, and the facility came under the jurisdiction of Hospitals for the Insane Branch. Its proclamation as an Asylum was published in the Government Gazette on 17 March 1893.

In 1893, it was decided that Ballarat would specialize in the care of epileptics and three large wards each with 100 beds opened in 1902. The number of patients rose rapidly and further wards were opened in 1912.

The Role of an Asylum

An asylum/hospital for the insane was any public building proclaimed by the Governor-in-Council and published in the Government Gazette as a place for the reception of lunatics. An asylum could also provide wards for the temporary reception of patients as well as long term patients.

From 1877 to 1878, and 1893 to 1905 the institution at Ballarat was known as an Asylum. This title emphasised its function as a place of detention rather than a hospital which provided treatment for mentally ill people.

Patients could not be retained in an Asylum without a warrant requesting their admission. Prior to 1867 the warrant was signed by the Governor (VA 2835). After this date the Chief Secretary (VRG 26) was responsible for this function. From 1934 the Director of Mental Hygiene (VA 2865) and from 1952 the Chief Medical Officer of the Mental Hygiene Branch (VA 2866) were successively responsible for admission of patients. The Lunacy Act 1914 (No.2539) made provision for the admission of patients on a voluntary basis, i.e. on patient's own request for a specified period of time.

Long term treatment - Hospitals for the Insane to Mental Hospitals

The Lunacy Act 1903 (No.1878) changed the title of all "asylums" to "hospitals for the insane". This Act came into operation in March 1905. The Mental Hygiene Act 1933 (No.4157) altered the title of all "Hospitals for the Insane" to "Mental Hospitals" (proclaimed 14.2.1934).

A Hospital for the Insane and Mental Hospital was any public building proclaimed by the Governor-in-Council and published in the Government Gazette as a place for the reception of insane persons. A Hospital for the Insane and Mental Hospital could also provide wards for the temporary reception of patients as well as long term patients.

Ballarat Mental Hospital experienced many changes between 1952 and 1969, as a result of changes in Victorian psychiatry, such as the opened door policy where the majority of wards were operated with open doors, integration of the sexes, a high degree of activity of the majority of patients, renovation of old wards, construction of new wards and better education for psychiatric nurses.

In 1969 the Hospital changed its name to Lakeside Hospital Ballarat. Lakeside offered a diverse selection of psychiatric services including:

- Adult Acute Program for the acute ill aged between 16 and 65 years

- Geriatric Psychiatry Program for individuals aged 65 and over with psychiatric disability

- Adult Rehabilitation Service comprised a wide range of services that included the Continuing Care Hostel, a Day Unit, Interim Care Units and out-reach support staff

Lakeside Hospital was decommissioned in 1996 and services were mainstreamed with the other existing services; an example being its in-patient facility was transferred to a local general hospital.

Short term treatment - Ballarat Receiving House to Parklands Clinic

In 1912 the Ballarat Receiving House was opened as an early treatment unit for Western Victoria. It was located in Dana Street, Ballarat, and had a small enclosed garden. In 1955, the facility was moved to Webster Street, Ballarat, which became Novar Receiving House for the treatment of mild cases of mental illness.

Receiving Houses were used to provide accommodation for those patients who required only short term diagnosis and treatment. No person was to be detained in a receiving house for more than two months in any event. Patients diagnosed as insane were transferred to a Hospital for the Insane by order of the Superintendent of the Receiving House.

The Mental Health Act 1959 (No.6605) (operational since 1962), designated hospitals providing short term diagnosis and accommodation as "psychiatric hospitals". Any institution could have a section designated as a mental hospital for long-term or indefinite hospitalisation and a section designated as a psychiatric hospital for short-term diagnosis and treatment of acute psychiatric illness. Any such designations of particular wards are published in the Government Gazette.

In 1962, when all Receiving Houses were reclassified as Psychiatric Hospitals, Novar Receiving House became Ballarat Psychiatric Hospital. .

In December 1968, the Ballarat Psychiatric Hospital opened Parklands Clinic at Lakeside Hospital. In 1969 Ballarat Psychiatric Hospital closed and the patients were transferred to Parklands.

Location of Records

The Public Record Office holds clinical and administrative records from this agency. See below.

 
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Date Range Series Title Series Number Series Location Public Access
1877 - 1903 Nominal Register VPRS 8235 North Melbourne Open
1877 - 1907 Nominal Register of Patients VPRS 7428 North Melbourne Open
1877 - 1912 Case Books of Male Patients VPRS 7405 North Melbourne Open
1877 - 1912 Case Books of Female Patients VPRS 7406 North Melbourne Open
1877 - 1923 Asylum Records VPRS 7475 North Melbourne Open
1877 - 1952 Medical Journals VPRS 8257 North Melbourne Part Open
1877 - 1970 Register of Patients VPRS 8236 North Melbourne Part Open
1877 - 1970 Discharge Register VPRS 8237 North Melbourne Part Open
1878 - ? 1988 Trial Leave Register VPRS 8240 North Melbourne Part Open
1891 - 1952 Medical Journals VPRS 18366 North Melbourne Part Open
1893 - ? 1988 Discharge Register of Patients VPRS 7553 North Melbourne Part Open
1893 - 1907 Nominal Register of Patients VPRS 7426 North Melbourne Open
1893 - 1970 Staff Register VPRS 18111 North Melbourne Part Open
1893 - 1993 Admission Index Cards VPRS 18371 North Melbourne Closed
1893 - Circa 1997 Admission Register of Patients VPRS 17799 North Melbourne Part Open
1899 - ? 1905 Annual Examination of Patients Register VPRS 7412 North Melbourne Open
1912 - ? 1962 Nominal Register of Patients (Dana Receiving House) VPRS 17806 North Melbourne Part Open
1912 - 1962 Admission Register of Patients (Dana Receiving House) VPRS 17805 North Melbourne Part Open
1912 - 1962 Discharge Register (Dana Receiving House) VPRS 17807 North Melbourne Part Open
1913 - 1994 Employee History Cards VPRS 18107 North Melbourne Closed
Functions for which this Agency has or has had primary responsibilityFunctions for which this Agency has or has had primary responsibility
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1877 - cont Health, mental VF 128
Functions for which this Agency has or has had secondary responsibilityFunctions for which this Agency has or has had secondary responsibility
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Superior AgenciesSuperior Agencies
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1868 - 1905 Hospitals for the Insane Branch VA 2863
1905 - 1934 Lunacy Department (located in Chief Secretary's Department) VA 2864
1934 - 1944 Department of Mental Hygiene (located in Chief Secretary's Department VA 475) VA 2865
1944 - 1978 Mental Hygiene Branch, Department of Health I VA 2866
1987 - 1993 Office of Psychiatric Services VA 2837
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1877 - cont Health and Welfare Agencies VRG 8