Sunday, 4 January 2015

If these walls could talk. Tour of Aradale

I have often driven though Ararat and seen the large white building on the hill, even as a child I can remember it.
Today we decided to take the tour of the Old Aradale mental hospital and what incredible sadness I felt.
 These are a few snippets from ex patients. This one just speaks for itself

 If you click on the photo above you may be able to read this one
 Ararat Mental Hospital opened 1867-- decommissioned 1993
 Aradale was built as a town within a town. It had its own market gardens, orchard, vineyard, piggery and other livestock.
While NMIT has a vineyard, olive grove and lavender farm at Aradale, the extensive asylum buildings are in disrepair. The Friends of J Ward hope the 90-minute tours will draw wider attention to Aradale and spark efforts to preserve its 146-year-long history.
 I took to many photos to post , there is so much history and sadness here.
The photo above is administration everyone would of come through this room
 Staff quarters, training nurses would stay on the property. I really dont think I would like to be a nurse in those days.
 This is a single room. Its quite dark but patients would be locked in at night.
The saddest thing about those times is young or old ,male of female who had a mental illness such as autism, down syndrome,epilepsy, post natal depression may of found themselves here.
 The chapel, the guide told us a story about a man who every week asked the priest to pray for his mother, after several months the priest asked the man is your Mother ok, the mans reply was " I dont know Ive never met her I just wanted to make sure she was ok" The man had been in an institution all his life {he had down syndrome} I almost cried.

 Shared showers
 This desolute building once housed over 1000 patients with the only home they knew and generally stayed there for life.
 The men and women were housed seperately
 This building was the most disturbing they didnt take us through as it had been vandalized . But the guide did say it housed the most disturbed patients, at most times they didnt wear clothes, they would toilet where they stood and were hosed instead of showered. He did say all the hoses were still there. To me I just cant imagine how horrific that would of been, and even to work there. They were heavily medicated as well.
 An exercise yard, on each building was supposed to be so they could get out and play ball and mingle but with heavy medications this was difficult
 Cellars to store food that was grown on the property
 This is a room where the female would do activities such as peg making and basket weaving
 A bakery where they made their own bread
 The diet chart for soft ,special or full meal.
 This is where the gardens once were
 The front of the building where the patients were driven up to it looked quite ok
It is well worth a visit . Very interesting and very sad.


  1. Not sure i could manage this one. Imagine if Tom had been locked up. Too awful to think about so many horrible stories of families being apart. There are some good things about progress.

    1. Yes I felt extreme sadness there. Things have come a very long way when you go to a place like this. It makes you grateful and sad at same time.

  2. Thank you for sharing your visit with us. Those places would have been hell.
    Anne xx


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