Swanbourne Hospital

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Swanbourne Hospital
Opened 1972
Closed 1985
Current Status Closed
Building Style Pavilion Plan
Alternate Names


Following the closure of Claremont Mental Hospital in 1972, the original 1904 section of the hospital functioned as the Swanbourne Hospital until 1985.

The administration building was internally renovated in 1977, mostly within the original rooms. However, bed numbers continued to fall, and in 1979 Director of Mental Health Services Fred Bell produced a detailed report on Swanbourne and its shortcomings for the State government, recommending the Hospital's replacement. Then in 1981-82, C M Campbell and Associates produced a commissioned report on the future of mental health services in Western Australia that recommended establishing specialist psychogeriatric assessment services at general hospitals, and transferring patients with developmental disabilities to what was then known as the Division for the Intellectually Handicapped, part of Mental Health Services. The Hospital began to relocate its developmentally disabled patients to group homes in Eden Hill, while psychogeriatric extended care units (PECUs) for aged patients were being built at Shenton Park (Selby Lodge), Bentley, Swan Districts, Fremantle and Osborne Park Hospitals.

The closure of the Swanbourne Hospital enabled the state government to redevelop the major part of the hospital site and use the funding. Thirty two hectares of land, comprising the hospital's old sports oval, the former Graylands admissions centre, and the 1954 "senile ward" known as Manning House, were transferred for the development of John XXIII College and the bulk of the remainder subdivided for residential purposes.

By 1984 the first blocks of land from the slowly shrinking hospital were being sold for residential development. In April 1985 the last 24 elderly patients were transferred out of Swanbourne to Armadale-Kelmscott Hospital, and as the wreckers moved in, locals were surprised to discover the magnificent now-antique fixtures of the original hospital, including the beautiful jarrah staircase in the administration block. Much of the site was salvaged – limestone blocks, floorboards, elaborate airing finials, windows, and slates. In June 1986 the old gatehouse lodge was also demolished.

The site has been vacant since 1986, although there have been various proposals for redevelopment, including as a museum of science and technology, and as apartments. In 2005, the building and land was sold by public tender to a Western Australian-based developer for $6.65million. Plans to develop the site were approved in 2012. In early 2013 the site was purchased by Aegis Aged Care, who have announced plans to redevelop the site as aged care accommodation, while renovating Montgomery Hall for community use.