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Report - [Victoria - Aus] The Lion of Beechworth; A Stroll Around the Mayday Hills Hospital.

Matt.

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
#1
Yarra Bend Lunatic Asylum (c.1848) Victoria’s first and only (At the time) Asylum committed to the treatment of the mentally ill or ‘imbeciles’ as they were more commonly referred, had become quickly overcrowded. At this time more patients than ever were being referred to gaols and stockades, forced to live with criminals and so it was decided another hospital was needed to be established to provide a better suited location to house those considered to be mentally ill.

After years of planning and site speculation, construction of Beechworth Lunatic Asylum (Later Mayday Hills Hospital) commenced in 1865. The hospital was established in an Italianate style on a reserved site of 201 acres overlooking the township of Beechworth.

In 1867 the Hospital had been completed, opened its doors and ran smoothly for many years. In 1951 a fire occurred within the male ward gutting that section of the building with an estimated damage cost of 500,000 pounds. No patients were injured or killed during the blaze; however one male staff member was injured after a fall whilst trying to rescue a patient. Those patients who had lost their rooms due to the fire were relocated to Mont Park, Ararat, Kew, Sunbury and Ballarat Asylums, the fire was discovered to be caused by an electrical fault.

Mayday Hills continued to run as a mental hospital until it succumbing to the strong move away from institutionalization in the mid nineties and finally closed its doors on June 30th 1995.

Parts of the Hospital remain open today, operating as a university and a spa retreat, however the rear half are exactly as they closed on that day in 1995.

Leaving at 6am we hit the road to endure the four hour drive to Beechworth, the headlights sliced through fog that endlessly lingered for a good two hours. As we finally rolled into Beechworth we were greeted by not only the extremely welcomed warm sun but the streets were awash with stalls, a stage and people; market day. We made use of it, had a bit of a look around, picked up some hot coffee and rolled up the hill onwards to the Asylum.

Getting out of the car was in complete comparison to that of the main streets below us, silence; only broken up by the sounds of leaves crushing under our feet and the persistent streaming of jets overhead. We split up, walking around the complex it became quite obvious to us both that there was unfortunately no way to proceed through the crumbling walls into the empty wards and halls.

Meeting back at the car we finished off our coffee and made the most of what we could before setting off for another look around town and the four hour drive home…

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Store.

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Pick Me.

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Golden Blue.

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This was the only accessible room, best of my knowledge would put it as possibly being either a store room or an isolation room.

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The porch of Olivene, one of the male cottage wards.

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Although it looks promising, my arm was outstreched through a gap in a gate with camera in hand.

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One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest.

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Autumn Calling.

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Last Known Surroundings.

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Looking East Over Olivene.


Thanks for looking.
 

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