Whitby Falls Hospital was a government-run facility, established in 1897 at Jarrahdale, as an annexe of the Fremantle Asylum. Male psychiatric patients described as 'quiet and chronic' were sent there as well as adolescents with intellectual disabilities. In 1972 the hospital closed and a hostel was opened on the site.
Whitby Falls Hospital was started by the Colonial Government to take patients from the over-crowded Fremantle Asylum. The first twelve patients were 'quiet and chronic' males. Adolescents with intellectual disabilities may have been sent to Whitby Falls which has been described as having 'farm colony facilities for a small number of people with intellectual disabilities'. Whitby Falls Hospital closed in 1972 and a hostel was opened on the site.
[From the State Records Office]
A one thousand acre property for Whitby Falls Hospital was purchased from a William Paterson by the State government in 1897 for the sum of 7, 000 pounds. Fremantle Asylum by this time had become over-crowded and it was decided to move some psychiatric patients to Whitby Falls. The farmhouse on the property was renovated to accommodate 50 patients and the first 12 patients were placed there on 12 July 1897.
Despite a proclamation on 12 September 1900 declaring Whitby Falls an asylum, it was eventually deemed too remote a location and a new asylum was built at Claremont instead.
Whitby Falls Hospital became an auxiliary to Claremont Hospital and a cooperative dairy farm and cattle breeding program was implemented by the two hospitals.
In 1914, Whitby Falls was gazetted a home for male alcoholics under the Inebriates Act 1912. The Hospital reverted again to take psychiatric patients from Claremont in 1918.
Due to the small number of patients at Whitby Falls Hospital, the Under Secretary declared in 1932 that 'as an institution Whitby hardly justified its existence (financially)' and it was declared 'first and foremost a farm'. Whitby's agricultural program was used as occupational therapy and rehabilitation for patients placed there but it also became a profitable operation that included poultry, dairy, vegetable, orchard, piggery and beef production.
In 1958, the government built a new hospital on the grounds of Whitby Falls. The original farmhouse was left unused until demolition in 1971.
In 1972, Claremont Hospital was divided into Graylands Hospital and Swanbourne Hospital. Whitby Falls became an annexe to Graylands and was de-gazetted from being an approved hospital to a hostel. The Armadale Health Service supplied psychiatric and allied health services to the hostel from the 1980s.
Sources used to compile this entry: 'AU WA A1223 - Whitby Falls Hospital', in State Records Office of Western Australia - Organisations & People, State Records Office of Western Australia, 2015, https://archive.sro.wa.gov.au/index.php/whitby-falls-hospital-au-wa-a1223; Ellis, A.S., Eloquent Testimony : the Story of the Mental Health Services in Western Australia, 1830-1975, University of Western Australia Press, Nedlands, Western Australia, 1984. pp.38-39.; Gillgren, Christina, 'Once a Defective, always a Defective: Public Sector Residential Care 1900-1965', in Errol Cocks (ed.), Under blue skies : the social construction of intellectual disability in Western Australia, Centre for Disability Research and Development, Faculty of Health and Human Sciences, Edith Cowan University, Perth, 1996, pp. 53-91. pp.53, 56.; Megahey, Norman, 'Living in Fremantle Asylum: The Colonial Experience of Disability 1829-1900', in Errol Cocks (ed.), Under blue skies : the social construction of intellectual disability in Western Australia, Centre for Disability Research and Development, Faculty of Health and Human Sciences, Edith Cowan University, Perth, 1996, pp. 13-52. p.44..
Prepared by: Debra Rosser
Created: 18 April 2013, Last modified: 12 November 2018