Oct 30, 2010

'Kirkbride' - Callan Park (2)

The 'Kirkbride' block, built in 1885, covers five hectares. It was part of the original ‘Callan Park Hospital for the Insane’


The buildings are built with sandstone mainly quarried on site and have slate roofs.
When Kirkbride opened in 1884 it represented reform in psychiatric practice, being the first to be designed as a curative and therapeutic environment based. Conditions at the hospital deteriated latter on, I am told.

It was named after Dr Thomas Kirkbride an American advocate for the mentally ill.

"Kirkbride features a pavilion-type plan, arranged around interlinked courtyards. Sunlight and air were seen to bring general moral benefits to asylum patients, and the buildings are well-lit and airy and open onto verandahs that link the various courtyards."

The original furnace stack is seen beyond the courtyard (right). The furnace was used to generate steam for the laundry.
The Kirkbride complex continued to be used for patients until 1994.
It was transferred to the Sydney College of the Arts in 1996 after renovations and restoration work and is now part of the University of Sydney.


Overlooking the site is the Venetian ‘clock tower’ which has a tidal ball copper spire on top, which rises and falls according to the water level of the underground reservoir below. Water entered the two underground tanks collected from the surrounding roofs, via downpipes concealed as Doric columns supporting the verandahs, and was pumped into two large cast iron water in the tower. The water was then gravity fed to the wards, with the upper tank reserved for any fire emergency. While there is provision for clocks, they were never installed.

 Reference: SCA pdf booklet 'Kirkbride - Past and Present'                  SCA transport information link

The Historic Houses Trust conducted tours of SCA in November as part of  'Sydney Open'

Oct 17, 2010

Mt. Victoria - Cox’s Cave

This Blue Mountains bush walk at Mt. Victoria starts at Mt. Piddington Reserve, which is about 2Kms from the railway station. The train journey from Central takes around 2¼ hrs.

Mt.Piddington lookout (near Mt.Victoria)

Mt. Piddington at 1,094 metres, is the highest lookout in the Blue Mountains. 

This photo (left) was taken on the walk, not far from Cox's Cave.

The walk from here to Fairy Bower Picnic area via Cox's Cave took us down uneven mossy steps to a moist gully. 
It is advisable to have at least three people in your group when attempting bush walks such as this one, in case there is an emergency. 

Some of our group took the optional side trip to see Cox’s Cave close up. This involved a potentially perilous climb up the 20 pipe-like rungs of a steel ladder. At the top we then crawled away to the left on a ledge, before being able to stand and walk the short distance to the cave.

I think the cave is named after the pioneer William Cox who was superintended the building of the road over the Blue Mountains which was completed in 1815.  

We continued the walk to the Fairy Bower Picnic area where the road leads back to the highway and the station.

Cox's Cave, Mt. Victoria

BMCC map of walks in the 
Mt. Piddington Reserve

My thanks to Judith H. for leading us on this interesting walk 

Oct 10, 2010

Callan Park - Lilyfield (1)

The 100acre plus 'Callan Park' property was purchased by the Colonial Government in 1873 for construction of a Hospital for the Insane, to be designed according to the enlightened views of the American Dr Thomas Kirkbride. It received its first patients in October 1884. 

Head Gardener's Cottage, Callan Park (1879)
The colonial architect James Barnet chose the Callan Park site for the new hospital as it was exposed to winter sun and summer breezes, was close to the city, and was isolated by the nature of its boundaries. 
The site also had a long north-facing frontage to Iron Cove. 

Iron Cove Bridge from Callan Point
In 1976 Callan Park Hospital was amalgamated with the adjoining Broughton Hall Psychiatric Clinic and become known as the Rozelle Hospital. In April 2008 the hospital was closed and staff and patients were transferred to a mental facility at Concord Hospital. 

Leichhardt Council recently released a draft master plan for Callan Park, on which people were invited to comment.

A plaque says this War Memorial (near Callan Park Oval), was erected by patients of B Ward.
It appears to cover a well.

 More info:
Friends of Callan Park
Draft Master Plan for Callan Park

Location map

The main entrance to Sydney College of the Arts.
See my post on 'Kirkbride'

See also my 'Iron Cove Bay' post

Oct 3, 2010

Sydney Olympic Games Memories

                                                                                                                                                            'Arc de Triomphe Individuel' was created by Gary Deirmendjian for the 10th anniversary celebrations of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games. This temporary installation lies between Olympic Park station and the Stadium. It celebrates individual commitment, human effort and triumph of the athletes. The repeated outline pattern is based on a normal ECG cycle.

 The Sydney Olympics were held ten years ago between 16 September and 1 October 2000, and were followed by the Sydney Paralympics between October 18th and 29th October 2000

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          'Games Memories' - a forest of 480 poles in the forecourt of the ANZ Stadium, recalls the excitement of the many thousands of people who came to enjoy the games. The installation  is inspired by indigenous and ancient meeting places.  Around 300 of the poles list the names of the 74,000 Olympic and Paralympic Volunteers who contributed their time and services to the Olympics. Other poles interpret the spectator experience of the games.                                                                                                                      The installation was by Tony Caro Architecture in collaboration with Root Projects Australia, Donny Woolagoodja (a prominent indigenous artist) painted three of the poles, Emery Vincent Design (Graphic Design), Wax Sound and Media (Multi-Media Programs).        

                                                The Olympic Stadium, currently the 'ANZ Stadium', was originally built to temporarily hold 110,000 spectators, making it the largest Olympic stadium ever built as well as the largest stadium in Australia.
It was latter reconfigured with lesser seating capacity to suit the various football codes and other events.

This photo which shows the seating inside the Olympic Stadium during the Paralympics, is one of my own Olympic memories.


Transport: Sydney Olympic Park can be reached by Train or Bus