|Description of this AgencyDescription of this Agency|
The first building on the site of Pleasant Creek Centre opened in 1861 as a hospital and was known as the Pleasant Creek Hospital. An additional building for convalescent patients named "Syme Ward" was built adjacent to the hospital and opened in 1904. These buildings ceased to function as a medical facility for the population of Stawell and district when a newly built hospital opened in the town of Stawell in 1933.
The Mental Hygiene Department acquired the site and buildings in 1934 with the intention to convert to a Mental Hospital for the aged and infirm. A pressing need, however, regarding accommodation for Intellectually Handicapped Children in the charge of Children's Welfare Department (C.W.D.) resulted in these buildings being converted for this purpose. The first residents (18 boys) were admitted in February, 1937 from the Children's Welfare Department, Royal Park Depot.
The number of clients residing at the Centre on 31 December 1937 was 98.
Other major building developments were as follows:
"Lonsdale Unit" - an ex 2nd W/N R.A.F. relocatable building was opened in 1957 taking the number of residents to 113, as of 31 December 1958
" Bellfield" and "Fyans" Units - **H" Block designs - were occupied from 1968 and officially opened 21 March 1969, resulting in an increase of resident numbers to 196 as of 31 December 1969. These units continued to accommodate severely to profoundly intellectually and physically disabled clients.
In 1977 the "Alexandra" Unit was converted from a residential to recreational and lecture room facility whilst the Nurses Hostel was taken over for resident accommodation. A Day Centre, Nurses' Home and Clinical Services Administration building were opened in 1977.
In 1985, the Nara Unit, ex Pleasant Creek Hospital, was closed for renovations.
Accommodation for clients was provided in the ex-staff residence.
As of October 1986, the number of clients residing at this Centre was approximately 160.
During the 1980's, the Centre provided services up to 140 male and female clients, aged between 10 and 45. The level of intellectual disability ranged from profound to mild. The Centre utilised five residential units and four on-site houses to accommodate clients. Service was emphasised upon community repatriation as an outcome. The Centre provided respite care to community clients and used generic services from recreational to medical.
The most substantial change to the Centre occurred in 1986 when care of the Intellectually Disabled by the Department of Health was relinquished in favour of Community Welfare Services Department. The Intellectually Disabled Persons' Services Act 1986 provided a new legislative framework requiring general service plans and individual service plans for the development of each client. The Centre then abandoned the "medical model" in which disabilities were defined as illnesses, and implemented a care model which required each client to be given opportunities to realise his or her full potential. This care model involved a philosophy that the disabled should not be "warehoused" in institutions.
In 1986, Neilson Associates Pty Ltd was commissioned by Community Services Victoria to prepare a report on Intellectual Disability Services. The report was submitted to the Minister in August 1988. One of the principle recommendations was that institutional systems of care and training of the disabled should be dismantled and replaced by smaller facilities. In particular, the report recommended closure of Pleasant Creek Training Centre by 1993 which caused uncertainty for staff working at the Centre. This recommendation was never put into place.
As of 1990, Pleasant Creek Training Centre provided residence, education and training facilities for 113 Intellectually Disabled people of varying ages from late teens to mid 50's. Occasionally, a younger person was accepted for a short while to receive respite care. At this time, approximately 156 people worked at the Centre.
During the 1990's, the Centre continued to provide unit style accommodation to clients with intellectual disabilities. It has played a major role within the Grampians Region in providing long term placements for clients from within the region and from other regions. Respite care services have also been delivered.
On 7 October 1996, Dr Denis Napthine, Minister for Youth and Community Services, announced the impending closure of Pleasant Creek, in favour of 'community living' options for its residents, who were moved into community accommodation. The facility closed in 1999.