|Description of this AgencyDescription of this Agency|
Establishment and History
A ward for the temporary reception of insane persons was first opened at the Bendigo Gold District General Hospital in May 1873. Similar wards were also opened at Castlemaine District Hospital, the Geelong Infirmary and Benevolent Asylum, the Upper Goulburn Hospital, and the Gippsland Hospital. The ward was opened under provision of the Lunacy Statute 1867 (No.309) by the consent of the Administrator of the Governor-in-Council, as published in the Victoria Government Gazette in May 1873.
The object in the establishment of the lunacy wards in general hospitals was to provide an early treatment and reception centre for cases of "transient" insanity, those who normally might be expected to recover within a matter of weeks or even days, plus provide treatment for inebriates suffering from the hallucinations of delirium tremens.
Although the ward was part of the building of a general hospital and the patients were cared for by hospital staff, as a receiving ward for lunatic patients it was administered by the central government agency responsible for the lunacy function.
The Bendigo Ward was gazetted as a Receiving Ward in a Public Hospital under the Lunacy Act 1903 (No.1873) in March 1905. This Act made provision for the management of any public hospital or institution to provide a ward for the temporary reception of insane persons. The Governor-in-Council could then by Order, published in the Government Gazette, declare such ward to be a Receiving Ward for the temporary reception of insane persons or persons presumably insane.
The wards were closed as Receiving Wards for insane persons in May 1951 and reverted to become general wards of the Bendigo and Northern District Base Hospital (Gazette notice May 1951).
Location of Records
Some records are held. See below.