Agency VA 2852
Kew Cottages (Kew Idiot Ward/Asylum 1887-1929; Cottages 1929-1962; Training Centre 1962-c1997; Kew Residential Services c1997-2008.
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Date Range: 1887 - 2008
 
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The Children's Cottages at Kew were first opened in 1887 as a ward of the Kew Asylum (VA 2840) and termed the "Idiot Ward". The institution was established to provide separate accommodation for child inmates who had previously been accommodated with adult patients. Although the Cottages only admitted children as patients, many of those children remained in residence at the Cottages as adults.

The function of the institution was to provide accommodation and educational instruction for mentally retarded children. Some Wards of the State and other various "difficult" children were also admitted. During its later years, the institution no longer housed children and instead accommodated adults with intellectual disabilities.

The Cottages at Kew were known as the Kew Idiot Asylum from 1887 until c.1929. From 1929 they have been known as the "Children's Cottages, Kew" or alternatively "Kew Cottages Training Centre". Also in 1929, the Department of Education established the Kew Cottages Special School, the first school in Victoria for children with intellectual disabilities which remained in operation until the end of 1991.

In 1962 the Cottages were proclaimed a "training centre" under the provisions of the 1959 Mental Health Act (No.6605).

In 1982, responsibility for the Cottages transferred from the Mental Health Division to the Mental Retardation Division of the Health Commission. In 1985, responsibility for the Cottages transferred to the Office of Intellectual Disability Services, a division of Community Services Victoria.

Following a tragic fire in April 1996 which killed nine men and a subsequent Coronial Inquest, the Department of Human Services renamed the site Kew Residential Services (KRS) in c.1997.

In May 2001, the Premier Hon Steve Bracks announced the Government's plan to redevelop the Kew Residential Services by relocating the residents to community based housing. The redevelopment was undertaken over a number of years, with the site finally closing in 2008.

Records of the Kew Cottages and Mental Asylum

It appears that the Idiot Asylum/Cottages has largely functioned independently from the main Asylum/Mental Hospital at Kew. The Cottages maintained its own record keeping system for the majority of its patient records, and it has always been listed as a separate agency, rather than a ward of Kew, in the Lists of Public Servants. However it probably relied on the main Asylum for some administrative support. Patients at the Cottages are included in the Annual Examination Registers and the Post Mortem Registers of the main Asylum for example. Therefore the exact relationship between the main Asylum and the Cottages has been difficult to define.

Legislation

Lunacy Statute 1867
Lunacy Act 1888
Lunacy Act 1890
Lunacy Act 1903
Lunacy Act 1915
Lunacy Act 1928
Mental Hygiene Act 1933
Mental Health Act 1959
Health Commission Act 1977
Intellectually Disabled Persons' Service Act 1986
Disability Services Act 1991
Disability Act 2006
 
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    PROVguide059 Mental Health Records
Record series created by this AgencyRecord series created by this Agency
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Date Range Series Title Series Number Series Location Public Access
? 1950 - ? 1967 Waiting List and Patient Records VPRS 17841 North Melbourne Closed
? 1958 - 1962 Admission and Register of Patients: Voluntary Boarders VPRS 17895 North Melbourne Closed
1887 - ? 1984 Discharge Register of Patients VPRS 17101 North Melbourne Closed
1887 - 1912 Case Books of Female Patients VPRS 7419 North Melbourne Open
1887 - 1912 Case Books of Male Patients VPRS 7420 North Melbourne Open
1887 - 1912 Index to Male and Female Case Books VPRS 7494 North Melbourne Open
1887 - 1959 Admission Warrants, Male and Female Patients VPRS 7565 North Melbourne Part Open
1887 - 1992 Admission and Discharge Register of Patients VPRS 17894 North Melbourne Closed
1889 - ? 1937 Trial Leave Registers VPRS 7452 North Melbourne Part Open
1899 - 1951 Medical Journals VPRS 7431 North Melbourne Part Open
1912 - ? 1919 Clinical Notes of Male Patients VPRS 7449 North Melbourne Closed
1912 - ? 1921 Clinical Notes of Female Patients VPRS 7448 North Melbourne Closed
1933 - ? 1961 Head Nurse's Daily Report Book - Female Department VPRS 7442 North Melbourne Closed
1954 - 1975 Short Term Trial Leave Registers VPRS 7720 North Melbourne Closed
1957 - ? 1961 Head Nurse's Daily Report Books - Male Department VPRS 7441 North Melbourne Closed
1960 - 1984 Nursing Staff Cards VPRS 18216 North Melbourne Closed
1978 - 1982 Student Nurse Cards - Mental Deficiency Nursing VPRS 18217 North Melbourne Closed
Circa 1899 - Circa 1928 Admission Register of Patients (Kew Idiot Ward/Asylum) VPRS 7509 North Melbourne Closed
Circa 1910 - Circa 1980 Register of Patients VPRS 18131 North Melbourne Closed
Functions for which this Agency has or has had primary responsibilityFunctions for which this Agency has or has had primary responsibility
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Date of Responsibility Function Title Function Number
1887 - cont Intellectual disability services VF 249
Functions for which this Agency has or has had secondary responsibilityFunctions for which this Agency has or has had secondary responsibility
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Superior AgenciesSuperior Agencies
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1887 - 1905 Hospitals for the Insane Branch VA 2863
1905 - 1934 Lunacy Department (located in Chief Secretary's Department) VA 2864
1934 - 1944 Department of Mental Hygiene (located in Chief Secretary's Department VA 475) VA 2865
1944 - 1978 Mental Hygiene Branch, Department of Health I VA 2866
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1887 - cont Health and Welfare Agencies VRG 8