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Callan Park
Australian Asylums
Callan Park (Rozelle)
Location: Lilyfield, NSW
Status: Closed
Classification: Lunatic Asylum
Opened: 1878
Closed: 2008
General view of the hospital
The Kirkbride Complex, Callan Park
One of many rock carvings in the hospital grounds, possibly the work of former patients

The facility formerly known as Callan Park Hospital for the Insane (1878 to 1914) is located in the grounds of Callan Park, an area on the shores of Iron Cove in the Sydney suburb of Lilyfield in Australia. In 1915 the facility was renamed Callan Park Mental Hospital, and again in 1976 to Callan Park Hospital. Since 1994, the facility has been formally known as Rozelle Hospital. In April 2008, all Rozelle Hospital services and patients were transferred to Concord Hospital. The Callan Park (Special Provisions) Act 2002 restricts future uses to health and education, but the New South Wales Government has not revealed its intentions for the site.



In 1873 the Colonial Government of N.S. Wales purchased the Callan Park site, then known as “Callan Estates”, with the purpose of building a large lunatic asylum to ease the severe overcrowding at the Gladesville Hospital for the Insane, at Bedlam Point, near Tarban Creek in Gladesville. The new lunatic asylum was designed according to the 'enlightened' views of Dr Thomas Kirkbride, an American. Colonial Architect James Barnet worked with Inspector of the Insane Dr Frederick Norton Manning to produce a group of twenty neo-classical buildings. These were completed in 1885 and named the Kirkbride Block.

The buildings were originally designed to accommodate 666 inmates, but by 1890 the asylum was seriously overcrowded with a total of 1078 inmates. A further group of buildings were built close to the Kirkbride complex around 1900 to ease the overcrowding problem.

The Kirkbride complex continued to be used for the housing and treatment of inmates until 1994, when the last remaining services were transferred to other buildings in the Callan Park grounds, towards the Broughton Hall at the southern end of the site. Many inmates were also transferred into half-way-houses in the local communtiy, in line with the policy of the State Government (see The Richmond Report of 1983 which accelerated the move towards de-institutionalising care), creating a number of social and moral problems.

The former facility is now occupied by Sydney College of the Arts, the fine arts campus of Sydney University.

Currently, the parklands are open to the public for their use and enjoyment, with the hospital being confined to a number of purpose-built complexes.

See official website and also here


Rozelle Hospital services and patients were transferred to Concord Hospital in June 2008. The NSW Callan Park (Special Provisions) Act 2002 restricts future uses of the site to health and education, but the New South Wales Government has not yet revealed its development intentions. After a period of extensive renovation, the Kirkbride Complex which housed the former hospital, is now occupied by the Sydney College of the Arts.

Famous inmates

Theft of antiques

In 2003 it was revealed that thousands of medical antiques from the Callan Park Hospital for the Insane, including a human skeleton and medical and dental instruments, have been stolen from a collection held at the Rozelle Hospital Ward. Antique syringes, mortuary and teaching tools, medical lithographs and furniture are among the missing items. [1]


External links



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