|Description of this AgencyDescription of this Agency|
Establishment and Development of Services
Mont Park Hospital for the Insane was opened in April 1912. Its proclamation as a Hospital for the Insane was published in the Government Gazette on the 23 October 1912.
Since its establishment the title of the institution at Mont Park has been altered to reflect both the community's changing attitude towards mental illness and the Victorian Government's approach to the treatment of mentally disturbed persons. Despite the changes in designation the function and structure of the agency has not altered significantly, therefore the institution has been registered as one continuous agency. The Mental Hygiene Act 1933 (No.1873) altered the title of all "hospitals for the insane" to "mental hospitals".
A hospital for the insane/mental hospital was any public building proclaimed by the Governor-in-Council and published in the Government Gazette as a place for the reception of lunatics. A hospital for the insane could also provide wards for the temporary reception of patients as well as long term patients. Until the Mental Health Act 1959 (No.6605) came into operation in 1962 these "short term" wards were known as " receiving houses". The Mental Health Act 1959 designated hospitals providing short term diagnosis and accommodation as "psychiatric hospitals". Any institution could have a section designated as a mental hospital for long-term or indefinite hospitalisation and a section designated as a psychiatric hospital for short-term diagnosis and treatment of acute psychiatric illness. Any such designation of particular wards are published in the Government Gazette. Hence some sections at Mont Park are designated as a mental hospital and some sections as a psychiatric hospital.
Patients could not be detained in a hospital for the insane without a warrant requesting their admission. Prior to 1934 the Chief Secretary (VRG 26) was responsible for this function. From 1934 the Director of Mental Hygiene (VA 2865) and from 1952 the Chief Medical Officer of the Mental Hygiene Branch (VA 2866) were successively responsible for admission of patients. The Lunacy Act 1914 made provision for the admission of patients on a voluntary basis, that is, on a patient's own request for a specified period of time.
In 1915 a ward at Mont Park was taken over as a Convalescent Military Hospital. An agreement was made with the Defence Department for the latter to erect the Mont Park central block for use as a Military Hospital. This hospital was generally referred to as the Military Mental Hospital. It was also variously known as the Military Mental Block. Apparently ex-military personnel with chronic psychiatric illness were housed there.
There was also a hospital variously known as the Bundoora Farm or Homestead or the Repatriation Mental Hospital built on or near the current site of the Bundoora Repatriation Hospital. This agency was established in the 1920's to accommodate ex-military personnel suffering from psychiatric illness who were considered to be the better conducted cases. Close ties were apparently kept between this establishment and the military section of Mont Park Hospital for the Insane, as some records in the custody of the Public Record Office have both Mont Park and Bundoora as the recording agencies.
The military block at Mont Park was closed in 1924 and handed back to the State for civilian mental cases.
Location of Records
Some clinical and administrative records are in the custody of the Public Record Office. See below.