Greenvale Sanatorium (1905–58)


  • Auspice:  Hospitals for the Insane Branch 1867 - 1905 ; Lunacy Department, located in Chief Secretary's Department 1905 - 1934 ; Department of Mental Hygiene, located in Chief Secretary's Department 1934-1937 ; Department of Mental Hygiene 1937-1944 ; Department of Health I 1944-1952 ; Mental Hygiene Authority [statutory authority] 1952-1962
  • Address:  Providence Road, Greenvale

Greenvale Sanatorium Agency History

Tuberculosis was the cause of one death in nine in Victoria in 1902. In May 1905, the first purpose-built public tuberculosis institution in Victoria, “The Sanatorium for Consumptives, Greenvale” opened for early stage patients who were discharged after one month if they showed no improvement.

For 1906 and 1907, the average length of stay was 74 days. On discharge, 61 per cent of patients were much improved but 14 were classed as incurable. Many simply returned home to die.

Greenvale was particularly important in providing for sufferers in “reduced circumstances,” whose nutritional and living conditions made them particularly prone to this highly contagious, deadly and much-feared disease, known colloquially as the “white death”.

In 1950, after Victoria’s success treating consumptives, Greenvale was registered as a special hospital for the elderly in 1962. It also became a geriatric centre for studying disabilities of the aged.

Since the closure of the sanatorium, the complex was known as the Greenvale Village for the Aged, the Greenvale Geriatric Centre, the Greenvale Centre, and the Greenvale Campus of the North-West Hospital.Despite urban myths, it does not appear to have been a hospital for the mentally ill.

Greenvale closed in 1998.

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.

List of records held by the department

Note for readers of the guide: For information relating to the central management of care leavers and wards of state, please consult the guide to Central department wardship and out-of-home care records. These collections date back to the 1860s and include ward registers, index cards and ward files.

Patient information

PLEASE NOTE: Patients could be admitted to a Receiving House for short-term treatment and care, but were not permitted to remain longer than two months. 
Patients still needing treatment after two months could be sent to a Psychiatric Hospital, in the same institution/complex or another. Hence, there could be more than one set of records for any one person. Please check each location for former patient records.

Register of Patients (1905–56)

Volume; Permanent (VPRS Number 17802 / P0001)

Content: Details recorded include: patient's name; date of admission; admission number; date of last previous admission; age; marital status; occupation; previous place of abode; religion and the form of mental disorder and state of physical health.

Further details were entered in the register on the death, transfer or discharge of a patient.

For the most part patient records are arranged by the date of admission or date of discharge (including death). Some institutions, however, maintained a Nominal Register of Patients, which can be used to access records by patient surname.

Admissions of patients were recorded in date order in Registers of Patients and patients were allocated an admission number. An index of surnames was often created to provide access to the entries. The Admission Warrants authorising the committal of the patients to the institution were filed by admission number and hence are also chronologically arranged by date of admission. 

Departmental administration

Building and Sketch Plans (c.1905–c.56)

Plan; Unappraised

Content: This collection includes drawings of public and private hospitals, nursing homes and aged care facilities, benevolent homes, ambulance stations. Public health drawings include plans for sewerage schemes, abattoirs and meat works.

The plans have been created by a number of different agencies, including the Hospitals and Charities Commission, and Department of Health (Public Health).
There are plans of the Greenvale Sanatorium.

The plans will be separated into either VPRS 5344 and VPRS 8044 before they are transferred to Public Record Office Victoria (State Archives).

Reviewed 23 September 2016