Wednesday, 25 November 2009

The Darlinghurst Reception House

A post for Diane whose mother worked at the Reception House in the 50s and 60s

Constructed in 1867, the Darlinghurst Reception House was to help the expanding city cater for the needs of the psychiatrically impaired (lunatics) rather than tossing them into gaol. Located on the corner of Forbes and Burton Streets Darlinghurst, it was constructed opposite the Darlinghurst Gaol and next to the Police Station. The gaol was at the rear of the Supreme Court of NSW. In 1958 its name changed to the Darlinghurse Admission Centre, but was closed down completely in 1961 when a larger facility was opened in the suburb of Ryde.


On a triangular handkerchief of land, the original building is now jammed with unsightly additions, temporary and not so. It is surrounded by fences and walls. It is officially named the Caritas Centre of St Vincent's Hospital, but also houses the Anxiety Disorders Clinic and the Professional Unit in Psychiatry of the University of New South Wales.


Tomorrow, come with me as I wander across the road and into the old Darlinghurst Gaol.

8 comments:

Lois said...

Interesting place. I really like the old picture of it too. I will look forward to tomorrow's pictures!

brattcat said...

An interesting place to visit, though a long term stay might not be very desirable. You've given it to us in a much more sypathetic light than some of the patients might have photographed it in had they had the opportunity.Of course being sent here would have been better than being sent to the jail...one hopes.

Joan Elizabeth said...

I like your eye and interest in the history of the city, will enjoy trotting along behind you to learn more.

Susan said...

Interesting Julie. Must be a Commonwealth hangover thing that the old psychiatric hospices were all rambling, rather frightening mansions that just oozed tragedy.

J Bar said...

I learn something new every day.
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diane said...

Thank you Julie. It hasn't changed a whole lot since I used to visit there with mum all those years ago. In fact your photos make it look a lot more neat and tidy and colourful. My mum used to bring home many stories to entertain us over dinner. They were mostly funny. The staff often played tricks on one another. There was also the hard work and dangerous times too, but she enjoyed her work there and was sad to see it close. Ryde was too far for her to travel from Loftus by public transport so she got a job at the Waterfall Sanitarium but was never as happy there. Looking forward to more of your deightful posts.

Julian Davis said...

I like the second picture(old one) more Julie. You are always sharing new ideas with us. Thank you .

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Paula said...

It's so important to make a record of our experiences and to share them when we can feel comfortable to do so. I hope your friend is comforted by this posting.