The site of the Janefield Colony was formerly the site of the Janefield Sanitorium, a training farm for tuberculosis patients, run by the Australian Red Cross Society from 1920 to 1933.
The first children were transferred to Janefield from Kew Cottages in 1937.
In 1940, the Director of Mental Hygiene, Dr Catarinich, stated that he envisaged Janefield as a farm colony for 1,000 mental deficients (at that time, it only had accommodation for 150, and only accommodated girls).
Catarinich claimed that the Mental Deficiency Bill would be proclaimed 'as soon as Janefield is sufficiently developed, and directly the public gets to know that the facilities are available, it is certain that we will be swamped with numbers.'
Some children who, having reached the age of 14 and still requiring institutional care, were transferred from the institution at Travancore to Janefield.
A heritage study from 1990 described the originaly accommodation at the Janefield Colony thus:
'In 1937 the total accommodation available in the existing buildings - Ward A (later the painters and carpenters shops) and Wards B and C amounted to 100 beds. The two storeyed administrative building, including a flat for the chief nurse and quarters for nurses, and brick ward were occupied in 1939. By 1940 there were 126 patients.'
Construction of a ward for boys commenced in 1940 but was not completed until 1945. By 1955, there were 7 wards at Janefield, and the Colony housed 274 patients.
In 1962, Janefield was proclaimed a Training Centre under the provisions of the Mental Health Act 1959. In 1996, residents of Janefield were transferred to other services for intellectually disabled people.
The Victorian Government records relating to wardship and adoption date from 1864 to the present. These records were created by the state government departments that were responsible for child welfare in Victoria. Some of these records are held at the Department of Human Services (DHS), and some are held at Public Record Office Victoria (PROV). Generally, records less than 99 years old are not open to the general public because of the personal and private information they contain. If the records are about you, or members of your family, you have a right to access these records.
Contact the Department of Human Services, State Government of Victoria - The Duty Worker, Family Information Networks and Discovery;
Phone: (03) 8608 5700 or 1300 769 926 (for the cost of a local call)
20/570 Bourke Street, Melbourne VIC 3000
Fax: (03) 8608 5760
The Mental Health Photograph Collection previously available at Royal Park Psychiatric Hospital Library contains around 3,000 items. These date from the mid 1800s to 2002, with most pictures taken in the 1960s.
Contact: Susan Monaghan, Library Manager
Phone: (03) 9342 7346
Grattan Street (corner of Royal Parade), Parkville
The Royal Melbourne Hospital, RMH VIC 3050
Fax: (03) 9342 8615
General Correspondence Files (given the series number VPRS 6345 by Public Record Office Victoria) includes records created by the Mental Health Authority (1962 - 1978) and the Mental Hygiene Branch (1944 - 1959). Some files relate to institutions including Moorakyne Hostel, Travancore, Pleasant Creek and Janefield.
Contact the Public Record Office Victoria, General Enquiries:
Phone: (03) 9348 5600 or 1800 657 452 (toll free within Australia)
Victorian Archives Centre, 99 Shiel St, North Melbourne VIC 3051
PO Box 2100, North Melbourne VIC 3051
Fax: (03) 9348 5656
21 January 2014
Cite this: http://www.findandconnect.gov.au/guide/vic/E000548
First published by the Find & Connect Web Resource Project for the Commonwealth of Australia, 2011
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