Willow Court, New Norfolk

(This is a copy of a post from Journal. The links go to posts on that blog.

Back in 1827, the government decided to construct an Invalid Depot at New Norfolk, for invalid convicts (& paupers) who had to be put somewhere. They couldn’t be put to real work. They couldn’t hang around the hospital taking up beds, because like any good properly-built government institution, the hospital started running out of space soon after it was built. The new Invalid Depot was constructed about 1830.

Soon after the government decided it would be a good idea to send the lunatics out there, because they had to put somewhere and they couldn’t hang around the hospital taking up beds etc., also they kept getting out and causing trouble in the town, and so the complex was extended to form an asylum. Of course, they soon ran out of room here too, so more buildings were constructed.

About the 1850s, as with the other “Imperial institutions” the whole hospital was handed over to the colonial government’s control. (Until this time, the government hospitals were intended for the benefit of convicts in the government’s employ, and any paupers & assigned servants who could find (someone to pay) the fees. The rest of the population had to make their own arrangements. As far as I know, the New Norfolk asylum operated on the same principles. From the middle of the century, hospitals moved to be become wider public hospitals as we know them.) Buildings were constructed, re-modelled, demolished to suit prevailing ideas of the treatment of the mentally ill. Now if I have it right, in the 1930s the site became known as Lachlan Park Hospital (accompanied by a major building programme) and became part of the Royal Derwent in 1968.