Dr Milson Creed, a doctor specialising in the treatment of alcoholism, selected Rabbit Island on behalf of the New South Wales Government in 1901, as a place that could be used to securely detain patients without needing bars or walls. Construction of the first of two intended asylums for women on Rabbit Island began in 1902.
Over 3,000 people lived in the hospital during its century of operation. The first patients, male and aged between 16 and 52, were transferred to the Rabbit Island Hospital for the Insane on 24 March 1911. By 1920 the facilities on Rabbit Island were vastly overcrowded. At its peak in the 1950s there were 610 men and boys living in the facility on Peat Island. Women began living on Peat Island on respite in 1976, and permanently from 1978 onwards.
A 1983 NSW Government report, the Richmond Report, recommended that community care take the place of institutional care, and called for the closure of the facility on Peat Island. A community campaign to save Peat Island Hospital for its residents was organised, led by the families of residents, who emphasised that by this time it was more of a large group home than an institution. In the 1987 State Election, Opposition Leader Peter Collins made a promise to keep it open, but as he did not win the election, this did not happen. The residential facility on Peat Island known as Peat Island Centre was closed in 2010.
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13 December 2021
Cite this: http://www.findandconnect.gov.au/guide/nsw/NE01230
First published by the Find & Connect Web Resource Project for the Commonwealth of Australia, 2011
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