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.
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Department of Health and Human Services administrative files and collated histories.
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Reviewed 19 July 2017