St Helen's Licensed House, Pleasant View Licensed House


  • St Helen's Licensed House (1916–28); Pleasant View Licensed House (1928–53), Receiving House (1953–62), Psychiatric Hospital (1962–73), Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation Centre (1974–95)
  • Auspice:  Health Department, Mental Hygiene Branch (1953–73), Lunacy Department, located in Chief Secretary's Department 1905 - 1934
  • Name:    St Helen's Licensed House (1916–28); Pleasant View Licensed House (1928–53)
  • Other names:   Pleasant View Receiving House (1953–62); Pleasant View Psychiatric Hospital (1962–73); Pleasant View Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation Centre (1974–95)
  • Address:  Wood Street, Preston

Agency history in brief 

In 1916, St. Helen's became a Licensed House. It was located in Wood Street at the corner of Gordon Grove, Preston. It later became a receiving house, a psychiatric hospital, and a drug and alcohol rehabilitation centre.

Under the Lunacy Act 1903, a Licensed House was defined as an institution licenced by the Chief Secretary to house one or more ‘insane’ persons. The licensee of the institution was also the superintendent. Licensed Houses were subject to much the same requirements in terms of patient care and record keeping as the hospitals for the insane. Often the licence specified the sex and maximum number of patients it was allowed to receive.

Licensed Houses accommodating more than 50 patients were required to have a resident medical practitioner. Those with between 25 and 50 patients were to be visited daily by a medical practitioner. Every other licensed house was to be visited twice a week by a medical practitioner.

In 1928 St Helen's name was changed to Pleasant View. In June 1953, it was taken over by the Victorian Government and became Pleasant View Receiving House for acute short-term psychiatric patients.

Under the Mental Health Act 1959, the facility changed its name from Pleasant View Receiving House to Pleasant View Psychiatric Hospital. Its function as a mental health facility discontinued in March 1973.

In November 1974, the institution became an "assessment centre for the reception and classification of alcoholics and drug-dependent persons" under the Alcoholics and Drug Dependant Persons Act 1968, and was known as a drug and alcohol rehabilitation centre from 1973 until it closed in 1995.

Sometime after Pleasant View’s 1995 closure, the facility became the Northern Community Care Unit for services including psychiatric residential rehabilitation and community care.

Note: some of the collections documented in this guide contain records for both St Helen’s/Pleasant View as well as Sunnyside Licensed House in Camberwell. Sunnyside was licensed until 1916 and St Helen’s commencement coincides with the time that Sunnyside’s licensed ceased. The records relate to patients in care before and after 1916.

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. For more information on the history of child welfare in Australia, see Find & Connect .


St helens Licensed House Collection guide download

Reviewed 02 November 2016