Morisset Hospital


Morisset Hospital is a heritage-listed psychiatric hospital at Morisset Park Road, Morisset, City of Lake Macquarie, New South Wales, Australia. It was designed by the New South Wales Government Architect’s Office and built from 1906 to 1959 by the Department of Public Works. The property is owned by the Department of Health. It was added to the New South Wales State Heritage Register on 2 April 1999.

The overall Morriset Hospital site comprises almost 100 historic buildings on a 1,244-hectare site. It is approximately 3km south-east of the township of Morisset south of Duck Hole Creek and facing east.

The developed hospital grounds are in two quite distinct sections, being: the large area of the General Hospital for the Insane, beautifully landscaped & sloping down to the waters of the lake on the east; and the much smaller area of the Hospital for the Criminally Insane, isolated in a cleared patch of bushland, and walled like a medieval city.

The Hospital farms are located north of Duck Hole Creek. The site extends as far west as the railway line, east to Charles Avenue, Kendall Grange, north to Fishery Point Road and approximately half a kilometer south of the Forensic Psychiatry Wards (which are south-west of the main hospital campus, inside a 6m high walled enclosure on the western side of Lake Macquarie, which forms a natural (eastern) boundary.

The eastern side of the grounds is bounded by the Lake Macquarie State Recreation Area, managed by the National Parks and Wildlife Service. The eastern side adjoins the Koompahtoo Local Aboriginal Land Council.

The Hospital Precinct comprises:

  • MS-12 Wards 5 & 6
  • MS-13 Ward 9, Clinical Department
  • MS-14 Ward 10
  • MS-15 The Chapel
  • MS-16 Recreation Hall, 1909
  • MS-17 The Main Store
  • MS-19 Residence no.1
  • MS-20 Ward 17, General Psychiatry
  • MS-23 Ward 12
  • MS-24 Residence no.3
  • MS-26 Cottage Row Residence no.s 16, 17, 18, 19, 20 and 21

The site is close to the suburban areas of the Morisset peninsula, with a densely vegetated zone surrounding the hospital of either natural or regenerated bushland. Remnant native vegetation communities are still present. On the lake fring, Casuarina sp. dominates the littoral (shore) zone. Forest red gum (Eucalyptus tereticornis) and rough-barked apple gum (Angophora floribunda) plant communities are found with existing trees likely to pre-date the site’s 1909 development. Scribbly gum and bloodwood (E.haemostoma) forest dominate the sandstone-based soil zones on higher ground. The site has been extensively planted over many years with a diversity of species still present. Remnants of previous gardens that would have been shaped and planted with site development occur.

There are approximately 80 different species of trees and palms on the site, including remnant (native) species. The oldest planted trees and palms present are about the Recreation Hall and Chapel grounds, the zone between Jacaranda Avenue and Grevillea Road, along Palm Way and on the northeastern side of Waratah Way.

Some remnant trees on the northern side of the Recreation Hall and the southern end of Eucalyptus Drive are likely to predate the development of the site, based on trunk diameters.

The site has a diverse population of mature trees, in areas about buildings occupied by clients, used by staff, open space areas frequently used by visitors to the grounds, and along roadways and pedestrian zones. A total of 745 trees have been assessed.

A cemetery formerly associated with the Hospital is off Nentoura Road, Morisset on an isolated bushland site. Its Anglican section has a lych gate and the oldest headstone is dated 1911. The cemetery has been managed by Lake Macquarie City Council since c. 1974. Older sections of the cemetery are set aside in General, Catholic, Anglican, and Uniting (Presbyterian/Methodist) rows. There are many unmarked graves of patients from the Morisset Hospital buried throughout the eastern side of the cemetery. This cemetery has a Memorial Wall, made of grey granite with a large black granite memorial plaque with a dedication to the former Morisset Hospital patients who are buried in unmarked graves in the cemetery. It also has spaces available for filling on either side for families wishing to memorialise their relatives individually.

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