|Description of this AgencyDescription of this Agency|
Establishment od the Receiving House and Hospital for the Insane
Royal Park was opened as a Receiving House in September 1907. Receiving Houses were used to provide accommodation for those patients who required only short term diagnosis and treatment. No person was to be detained in a receiving house for more than two months in any event. Patients diagnosed as insane were transferred to a Hospital for the Insane by order of the Superintendent of the Receiving House.
On 7 April 1909 Royal Park was gazetted as a Receiving House and a Hospital for the Insane. The Receiving House and Hospital for the Insane/Mental Hospital operated concurrently, with some patients being transferred directly from the Receiving House to the Hospital for the Insane, or to other institutions.
In addition, a special Military Mental Hospital was opened at Royal Park in 1915. The date range of this agency is unknown
Since its establishment the title of the institution as Royal 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 ill people Despite the changes in designation the structure and function of the agency has not altered significantly, therefore the institution has been registered as one continuous agency. The Mental Hygiene Act 1933 (No.4157) altered the title of all "Hospitals for the Insane" to "Mental Hospitals" (proclaimed 14.2.1934).
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 insane persons. A Hospital for the Insane\Mental Hospital could also provide wards for the temporary reception of patients as well as long term patients.
Development of Services
In 1950, there were 201 patients at Royal Park Receiving House. Following the 1950 formation of the Mental Hygiene Authority, changes occurred across Victorias mental health services. Up until 1954 Royal Park functioned as a mental hospital for long term patients and a receiving house for short term patients. In April 1954 Royal Park's function as a Mental Hospital was revoked, published in the Government Gazette on 7 April 1954.
From 1954 Royal Park has functioned as a hospital providing short term diagnosis and accommodation only. The Mental Health Act 1959 (No.6605) (operational since 1962) changed the title of "Receiving House" to "psychiatric hospital".
Research into mental health also developed within Royal Park with the opening of the Mental Health Research Institute in 1956 and the Central Library.
Until 1958, Royal Park was dealing with far too many metropolitan cases. The opening of Larundel and the regionalisation of metropolitan and surrounding country mental health services greatly reduced the number of patients for Royal Park to treat.
Significant renovations took place at Royal Park throughout the 1950s and 1960s. Four large aluminium structures were acquired for use as the social therapy centre for the early-treatment unit, and were modified to also provide a ward for insulin patients. It was complete with its own kitchen, a patients kiosk, a laboratory, a nurses home, a staff cafeteria, a geriatric ward and a nurses training school. The major structure converted Royal Park hospital, previously little more than a boarding house, into a full psychiatric unit. Both the Mental Hospitals Auxiliary and Country Womens Association performed significant contributions by furnishing and improving the appearance of wards.
In 1961, the school of Royal Park was constructed, vastly improving teaching facilities and the school, which served Beechworth, Sunbury, Kew and Royal Park hospitals, and the intellectual disability colonies at Kew Cottages and Travancore.
Improving the facilities greatly enhanced the mental health services. In 1961 Royal Park had an adult outpatient facility and an early treatment hospital that also served alcoholics: in the early 1960s 40 per cent of men and 10 per cent of women admitted to Royal Park cited alcohol as the main cause of their illness.
In 1962, after the Mental Health Act 1959, the new Mental Health Authority named the facility the Royal Park Psychiatric Hospital.
From 1965 to 1991, a separate unit also operated out of Royal Park known as Parkville Psychiatric Unit, which opened in October 1965 as a day hospital. Originally the unit treated adults but later changed to an adolescent only service.
The unit also served as a post-graduate teaching centre for the Mental Health Authority hospitals and accepted its first medical students in January 1966 from Melbourne University. Research studies were conducted at the unit as well as a Drug Information Service which was introduced in 1976. The Parkville Psychiatric Unit/Adolescent Unit closed in 1991.
Royal Park continued to develop and by 1975 was providing comprehensive short-term treatment for both voluntary and recommended patients. Royal Park had a large catchment area including suburbs from Altona to Essendon, Brighton through to Collingwood, Fitzroy, Coburg and Broadmeadows. Its outpatient services included Royal Park Outpatient Clinic, Clarendon Clinic and Elizabeth Street Clinic.
Royal Park provided diverse community mental health services within the context of Inner North and North West Community Mental Health Services. Royal Park worked with various mental health services such as Melville Clinic, North West Community Assessment and Treatment Team and Alexandra Parade Clinic, and had a pivotal role in delivering mental health services within a regional framework.
On the 7 May 1996 under section 94(4)(a) of the Mental Health Act 1986 (Victoria Government Gazette S.?) Royal Park function as an Acute Mental Hospital was revoked. In the same gazette was the notice of Proclamation of Centre for Young People's Mental Health, under section 94 (2) of the Mental Health Act 1986 (see below "Conitnuing youth mental health services at Royal Park").
On the 19 January 1999 under section 94(1)(b) of the Mental Health Act 1986 (Victoria Government Gazette S.11), Royal Park Hosital became "North Western Health Care Network, Royal Park Hospital Mental Health Services".
The Royal Park Psychiatric Hospital was decommissioned in 1999. After its closure inpatient psychiatric services were transferred to the new John Cade Building at RMH City Campus, under the umbrella of NorthWestern Mental Health.
Conitnuing youth mental health services at Royal Park
The original Receiving House continues to be used to house youth mental health services. A small research unit called the Early Psychosis Prevention and Intervention Centre (EPPIC) began in 1988 at the Aubrey Lewis Unit as an inpatient unit with a special focus on assisting young people who were hospitalised while experiencing a first episode of psychosis.
In June 1992 the EPPIC model was officially established and included an Outpatient Clinic in Poplar Road, Parkville. Alongside of EPPIC sat the Early Psychosis Research Centre.
In 2001 the Orygen Research Centre was formed as part of Orygen Youth Health. The EPPIC was incorporated into the clinical structure of Orygen Youth Health, whose services address the needs of young people with mental health and substance use problems. Orygen Youth Health is part of NorthWestern Mental Health
Lunacy Act 1890
Lunacy Act 1903
Lunacy Act 1915
Mental Treatment Act 1915
Lunacy Act 1928
Mental Hygiene Act 1933
Mental Hygiene Act 1958
Health Commission Act 1977
Mental Health Act 1986.