Mont Park Psychiatric Hospital Precinct

Go to the Register of the National Estate for more information.
Waiora Rd, Macleod
Darebin City
The Mont Park Psychiatric Hospital Precinct, comprising the Mont Park Hospital, the Kingsbury Centre and Plenty Hospital, is significant as a representative example of a group of early twentieth century psychiatric institutions (Criterion D.2). The precinct contains a range of functional intact buildings, such as the Nurses Home, the Ernest Jones Chapel and Hall, the Kiosk, the Store and the Hospital Block. Their layout, combined with remnant landscape elements, demonstrates the self-contained nature of early twentieth century asylums. The building layout also reflects the Government's policy of the period to segregate patients and treat them separately according to their different illnesses. The consistency of architectural styles, namely the Federation Free Style at Mont Park Hospital and the Georgian Revival style at Plenty Hospital, unifies the buildings and has aesthetic value (Criterion D.2 and E.1).
The Farm Workers' Block illustrates the importance of farm work for male psychiatric patients, as a means of controlling the individual patient and keeping him occupied and also as a curative treatment. The farm work was an important contribution to the economic management of institutions such as the Mont Park Hospital and ensured the supply of produce to the other Victorian psychiatric institutions (Criterion A.4).The precinct is significant in the role it played in the landscaping of all of Victoria's asylums and many other institutions. Hugh Linaker, a renowned pioneering landscape designer in Victoria, worked at the Mont Park Hospital as landscape gardener from 1912 until the abolition of the Superintendent's position in 1988. He was responsible for the majority of the landscape design and construction at Mont Park. Linaker, whilst working at Mont Park, also prepared landscape plans for Hospitals for the Insane at Ararat, Ballarat, Beechworth and Sunbury as well as Pentridge and Castlemaine Gaols, Ballarat Supreme Court, Preston Shire Hall and Heidelberg Reserve. He also established the Mont Park Nursery, which provided a large amount of plants for the above institutions (Criterion H.1). The central park at Mont Park Hospital, containing a mixture of native and exotic trees and formed pathways, is a fine example of an early twentieth century psychiatric hospital central park. The parkland characteristics of Mont Park, including the vistas within the grounds and the unusual trees such as SCHINUS LENTISCIFOLIUS, are highly valued by the community for the aesthetic experience they provide (Criteria D.2 and E.1). The buildings were constructed between 1910-37 and their design attributed to three architects, namely S C Brittingham during 1911-19, E Evan Smith during 1924-27 and Percy Everett during 1935-37. Percy Everett, in particular, was a notable architect and was the Chief Architect of the Public Works Department (PWD)at the time (Criterion H.1).
The Ernest Jones Chapel and Hall, at the Mont Park Hospital, is a rare example of a Spanish Mission style building and a substantially intact example of a combined entertainment hall and chapel in a psychiatric institution. The building's name also reflects the association of the site with Dr Ernest Jones, a renowned mental health reformer whose philosophy and planning underlay the establishment of the psychiatric facilities at the Mont Park Psychiatric Hospital Precinct. Jones was the first Inspector-General of the Insane and was in charge of 4,768 patients in six asylums (Criteria B.2 and H.1).
The complex is representative of the response of the Victorian Government to the requirements of World War One in that the buildings intended for the care of the mentally ill were handed over for use as hospital facilities for the Australian Army for the duration of the war (Criterion A.4).

It is possible that cultural values, both indigenous and non-indigenous, of National Estate significance may exist in this place. As yet, the Australian Heritage Commission has not identified, documented or assessed these values.
The Mont Park Psychiatric Hospital Precinct is a small part of the original Mont Park Estate. The original estate included a number of hospitals, namely the Macleod Repatriation Hospital, the Bundoora Repatriation Hospital, the Gresswell Sanatorium and Larundel Mental Hospital, that, since World War Two, have gradually split off from the Mont Park administration to form separate entities. The Mont Park Psychiatric Hospital Precinct, for the purpose of the Register of the National Estate, is comprised of three psychiatric institutions and their grounds. They include the Mont Park Hospital, which is the largest institution, the Kingsbury Centre and Plenty Hospital.

The Mont Park Psychiatric Hospital Precinct is dominated by the Mont Park Hospital but is also comprised of the Kingsbury Centre and Plenty Hospital. The Mont Park Hospital is a group of buildings arranged in an arbitrary way around a central open parkland. The buildings include: the Paying Patients Wards, the Chronic Wards and associated Administration Building, the Nurses Home, the Hospital Block, the Mortuary, the Ernest Jones Chapel and Hall, the Isolation Ward and the Kiosk. The Paying Patients Wards were constructed in the Federation Free Style with wide verandahs and spreading hipped roofs. The red colouring of the face brickwork and inserts of unpainted decorative render were complemented by timber framed verandahs and a roof of unglazed Marseilles tiles. Both the Paying Patients Wards and the Chronic Wards were designed by the architect S C Brittingham.
The Chronic Wards and associated Administration Building front onto and enclose a landscaped courtyard. They were built in the Federation Free Style and contain terracotta tile roofs and rendered brick walls. These buildings were used as a military hospital during World War One.
The Nurses Home, the Hospital Block, the Mortuary and the Ernest Jones Chapel and Hall were all designed by the architect E Evan Smith. The Nurses Home, adjacent to the entrance to the site, is a long two storey Federation Free style building with regular fenestration. This is articulated at the south end by a minor entrance to what was a supervisor's or matron's flat. The Hospital Block is, likewise, a Federation Free style building and was built for the treatment of physical illness and contains a central open verandah, face brickworks and render banding with dark window frames and white sashes. The verandahs of the northern end have been enclosed. The Mortuary is a two storeyed brick building in Federation style. The original facade has been substantially modified by the addition of a front section. The Ernest Jones Chapel and Hall, also known as the Entertainment Hall, commemorates Ernest Jones who was Inspector General of the Insane from 1905-37. The chapel and hall was designed in the Spanish Mission Style with rendered brick wall surfaces, cordovan tile roof and a gable with a bellcote. Internally the building contains a stage at the western end of the hall with male and female dressing rooms on either side and a bio-box for the projection of moving pictures.
The Isolation Ward is a single storey building in inter-war Functionalist style with interesting high lead light fixed ventilation windows and enclosed verandahs. The interior is austere and in keeping with the building's original purpose. It was built to care for patients suffering from infectious diseases. The Isolation Ward and the Kiosk were designed by Percy Everett who was the Chief Architect of the PWD at the time. The Kiosk is a small building which served a pivotal role as a village centre.
The central open space is an expansive parkland encircled by a road and is the central focus of the Mont Park Hospital. The sparsely grassed park is situated along a gully and is bound on the east and west by spur lines. It contains mature exotic trees such as CUPRESSUS MACROCARPA, C MACROCARPA HORIZONTALIS AUREA, C TORULOSA, C SEMPERVIRENS, POPULUS ALBA, EUCALYPTUS BOTRYOIDES and PHOENIX CANARIENSIS. A number of remnant river red gum stands are also located in the park. The park has undergone more recent alterations with the construction of a road bisecting the park and the construction of a nurses training school and administrative building within the park. These additions do not detract from the integrity of the park.
Landscape features around the perimeter of the Mont Park Hospital site include: planting belts of PINUS RADIATA along the southern perimeter; and an avenue of honour, comprising rows of PINUS RADIATA and EUCALYPTUS CLADOCALYX, along most of the Cherry Street boundary, they were planted in 1919.
The Kingsbury Centre is comprised of a number of buildings, known as the Farm Workers' Block and include a two storey central administration building and multipurpose hall flanked on either side by two single storey ward buildings. The dormitory wards were stepped in a curve around the hall to create enclosed courtyards. The buildings are brick and decorated with applied render. The roofs, as for all subsequent Mont Park buildings, are clad with unglazed Marseilles pattern terracotta tiles. These buildings relate to the surviving farm buildings and tramway, built at the same time, which are now included in the Latrobe University land holding. Also located close to the Kingsbury Centre and marking the Plenty Road entrance, is the original head gardener's residence, which is a rendered brick residence with an iron roof. It was occupied for many years by Hugh Linaker.
The Plenty Hospital is a comprehensive psychiatric hospital and includes the Laundry Workers' Building, the Laundry, the Store, the Military Mental Hospital and the Ward Building.
The Laundry Workers' Building, like many other buildings on the original site, played a role in the convalescence of military servicemen during World War One. It is a two storeyed, Georgian Revival style, brick building patterned with fenestration.
The Laundry building has been substantially altered so that all that remains of the original construction is a brick tower and the decorative brick detailing of the end gables. The Store is a two storeyed, Georgian Revival style, brick building with a hipped iron roof. Despite several alterations the original building has retained its multi-paned sash windows and rendered banded inserts. While it is not known who designed the Store, the Laundry or the Laundry Workers' Building, S C Brittingham designed the Military Mental Hospital. The Military Mental Hospital was set up as a hospital to admit cases of war-neurosis. The purpose of setting up a separate hospital was to avoid the stigma that might be attached to admitting veterans to other mental hospitals. The building is two storeyed and constructed of brick in Georgian Revival style. Its original facade has been substantially modified.
The only remnant of the railway line is the railway embankment along the eastern/Harry Pottage Reserve.
Plantings around the buildings throughout the whole complex are generally low shrubs and scattered mature trees. Trees include remnant river red gums and, near the Waiora Road entrance, a rare example of SCHINUS LENTISCIFOLIUS.