The Strathmont Centre opened at Oakden in 1971. It was a government run facility for the accommodation and training of people with intellectual disabilities, including children and young people. Children from Glenside Hospital were transferred to the Strathmont Centre when it opened. Estcourt House became a part of the Strathmont Centre from 1978 to 1981. The Strathmont Centre was scheduled to be closed in 2014.
The Strathmont Centre at Oakden in Adelaide was officially opened by the government on the 25 March 1971. It was run by the government agency 'Intellectually Disabled Services' for the accommodation and training of people with intellectual disabilities, including children and young people. After its opening people with intellectual disabilities were transferred to the Strathmont Centre from the Glenside Hospital.
No ward-like hospital this, but a collection of 17 villas, each containing four home units, surrounded by courtyards and lawns, and with a library, swimming pool, and meeting hall. The whole thing looks more like a high-class holiday hotel than a centre where mentally retarded people will begin training for self-reliant citizenship.
People will train there from infancy and will graduate at about 20 from sheltered workshops as income earners. Trainees will live in family groups of about eight in home units designed to give them a feeling of family existence missing from more traditional "mental homes" of the past.
Residents at Strathmont were referred to as 'trainees' and the intent in 1971 was to have 450 staff working at the Centre for the 544 trainees.
From 1978 to 1981 Estcourt House became a part of the Strathmont Centre.
The Strathmont Centre was becoming run down and poorly maintained by the 2010s and calls were being made for its closure. Others including the parents of some people living at the centre were opposed to the closure as some clients had lived in the Centre since early childhood.
Government funding for the closure of the Centre and the transfer of the last 26 residents to Community based housing was set aside in the May 2012 State Government Budget. The date for the final closure of the Centre was set for the end of 2014.
Sources used to compile this entry: ''Milestone' for mentally retarded', The Canberra Times (Canberra, ACT), Please note that the articles titled 'Study' and 'Economical' on this page also form part of this article, 21 January 1971, p. 14, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article110450471; 'Mrs Dunstan stricken', The Canberra Times (Canberra, ACT), 25 March 1971, p. 1, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article110344902; 'The Strathmont Centre, Adelaide's crying shame', The Sunday Mail (Adelaide, South Australia), 27 March 2011, http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/the-strathmont-centre-adelaides-crying-shame/story-e6frea6u-1226028690111; 'Centre closes for new housing', The Advertiser (Adelaide, South Australia), 2012, http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/south-australia/centre-closes-for-new-housing/story-e6frea83-1226382043440; State Records of South Australia, 'Agency Details: GA155 Intellectually Retarded Services', in State Records of South Australia, ArchivesSearch, http://archives.sa.gov.au.
Prepared by: Gary George
Created: 15 April 2014, Last modified: 9 March 2016