Lakeside Hospital


  • Auspice: Hospitals for the Insane Branch 1867–1905; Lunacy Department (in Chief Secretary's Department) 1905–34; Department of Mental Hygiene (in Chief Secretary's Department) 1937–44 Department of Health 1944–52; Mental Hygiene Authority 1952–62; Mental Health Authority 1962–78; Department of Health II 1985–92; Department of Health and Community Services 1992–96; Department of Human Services 1996–2010
  • Name:Ballarat Asylum, Ballarat Hospital for the Insane, Ballarat Mental Hospital, Lakeside Mental Hospital, Ballarat
  • Address: Gillies St, Wendoree, Ballarat (1877–1990)

Ballarat (Asylum 1877-1905; Hospital for the Insane 1905-34; Mental Hospital 1935-68); Lakeside Hospital 1969-96 - History in brief

In 1877, Lakeside Hospital first opened. In 1879, the site reverted to its original use as an Industrial School, reopening in 1893 as the Ballarat Asylum to help relieve overcrowding in metropolitan asylums.

The Ballarat Asylum specialised in the care of epileptics, opening three large wards in 1902 with 100 beds each. The number of patients rose rapidly and further wards were opened in 1912, with the facility renamed the Ballarat Hospital for the Insane. 

In 1912, the Ballarat Receiving House in Dana Street commenced as a Western Victorian early treatment unit. As a result, the Ballarat Hospital for the Insane only admitted long-term chronic or acutely mentally ill  patients.

Between 1952 and 1969, the Ballarat Mental Hospital (as it was now called) changed significantly as a result of changes in psychiatry in Victoria. In particular, Ballarat embraced the new open door policy encouraging most wards to operate without locked doors, to better integrate men and women and engage patients in a high degree of activity. Old wards were renovated, new wards were constructed, and psychiatric nurses were better educated.

Ballarat Mental Hospital continued to extend and adapt its services, and in 1959 patient numbers peaked at 1100. In the early to late 1950s, both Novar and Norwood were purchased as Receiving Houses. 

Novar offered outpatient services, day centre services, and assessment of people for independent or supervised living in the early treatment in-patient facility. By the late 1980s, Novar had ceased operating.

Norwood was also an out-patient facility and, significantly, a child guidance centre. 

In 1968, at the opening of two new buildings on the site, it was announced that the Ballarat Mental Hospital would be renamed Lakeside Hospital.
In 1969, the Ballarat Psychiatric Hospital (the successor to Ballarat Receiving House in Dana Street) closed. Parklands Clinic opened in its place in the Lakeside Hospital grounds.

Lakeside Hospital was decommissioned in 1996.  

Today, Grampians Psychiatric Services offers access to an integrated range of services to people and carers in the Grampians Region.

Warning about distressing information

This guide contains information that some people may find distressing. If you experienced abuse as a child or young person in an institution mentioned in this guide, it may be a difficult reading experience. Guides may also contain references to previous views, policies and practices that are regrettable and do not reflect the current views, policies or practices of the department or the State of Victoria.  If you find this content distressing, please consult with a support person either from the Department of Health and Human Services or another agency.


Please note that the content of this administrative history is provided for general information only and does not purport to be comprehensive. The department does not guarantee the accuracy of this administrative history.

See Find & Connect  for more detail on the history of child welfare in Australia


Department of Health and Human Services administrative files and collated histories.

Download Lakeside Hospital collection guide

Reviewed 19 July 2017