Dictionary of Sydney

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Broughton Hall Psychiatric Clinic

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Broughton Hall Psychiatric Clinic

The Broughton Hall Psychiatric Clinic lies within the traditional lands of the Eora people.

Governor Macquarie granted John Gardiner Austen, the keeper of Sydney's town clock, 100 acres (40.4 hectares), named Spring Cove, on 31 August 1819. Spring Cove, later known as Austenham, is now within the area of the goods railway line, adjacent to Lilyfield Road, Perry Street, Iron Cove and Callan Park. [1]

In 1824, Austen sold the 100 acres to Thomas Wylde, Esquire, for £100. He had by then fulfilled the governor's requirement that he cultivate 20 acres (8 hectares) of the land to help bolster the colony's food supply. [2] In 1832, Wylde sold the land intact to Sydney solicitor and land speculator George John Rogers for £300. In 1835, Rogers in turn sold to the Deputy Surveyor General, Captain Samuel Augustus Perry, for £1,250. [3]

Township of Broughton

Perry named the 1841 subdivision of part of the land the Township of Broughton. The drawing of a bishop's mitre in the title block of the sale plan, perhaps to influence potential buyers, is probably a reference to William Grant Broughton, Anglican Bishop of Australia. [4] The Township of Broughton was approximately the area surrounded by Perry Street, Wharf Road, Leichhardt Park and Iron Cove.

In the very depressed economy of Sydney in the early-1840s, Perry's Township of Broughton had little appeal. One of the buyers attracted to the sale, however, was the owner of the adjoining Garryowen Estate, John Ryan Brenan, who bought a three-acre (1.2-hectare) lot on the corner of Brenan Street (now Wharf Road) and Church Street in 1841. After paying the purchase price of £93, he built Broughton House. The new building was a 'brick stuccoed house' with stables and was rated at £80 annually. [5] The two-storey Regency-style house had a circular drive from Wharf Road as well as a side entrance from Church Street.

The Reverend Joseph Walpole leased the building as Broughton House School and Boarding Academy in 1844–45. [6]

Brenan's shaky financial condition, however, caused him to transfer Broughton House to James Hume, an architect noted for his money-lending activities. Hume quickly profited from the transaction by reselling to John Philip Deane for £500 in 1845. [7]

Deane was a self-styled Professor of Music who claimed to have been a performing member of the London Philharmonic Society. He arrived in Hobart Town on 19 July 1822 where he became a hotel-keeper and had other business interests as well. In 1825 he advertised for pupils for pianoforte and violin and became organist of St David's Church where he played the first organ to be imported to Australia. [8]

In the following year he brought his family to Sydney where he again took in music pupils. He also performed in many concerts and played the violin in the Theatre Royal orchestra. He is reputed to have introduced chamber music to Australia.

In 1846, Deane sold Broughton House to John Grahame, a Sydney merchant, for £700. Grahame leased the house to George King, a gentleman, who bought the property in 1848 for the same price. [9]

King lived there until 1853 when, for £2,400, he sold to JI Montefiore, a member of the influential family of Sydney businessmen who had strong financial connections in London. Montefiore sold in the following year to merchant Robert Scott Ross for £3,400. [10] Ross sold Broughton House in 1864 to wholesale ironmonger John Keep. He was a well-connected Sydney businessman in partnership with Frederick Parsons of Leichhardt and Frederick Geard of Balmain. [11]

Broughton House becomes Broughton Hall

Keep renamed the house Broughton Hall, the name by which the future psychiatric clinic would be known. His success in the business world is reflected in the fact that he extended the house to 20 rooms and added the wide verandah on the northern side. These additions were a factor in the house being converted to a home for the mentally ill in later years. [12]

By purchasing adjoining land, Keep and family lived in spacious, well-planted grounds. After his death on 2 July 1905 his family sold the estate to Annandale timber merchants William and Frederick Langdon in 1912. [13]

A haven for victims of shell shock

During World War I, many shell shock victims were repatriated. The Langdons placed Broughton Hall and other buildings on the 25-acre (10.1-hectare) site at the disposal of the authorities. Into this haven of peace came 60 soldiers and the staff necessary for their care. Broughton Hall became the Number 13 Australian Army Hospital reserved for shell shock cases. [14] Adjoining Callan Park provided buildings for the Number 28 Australian Army Hospital where those 'diggers' suffering from severe mental disorders were cared for.

By the end of the World War I, 1,045 patients had been treated at Broughton Hall. Of this number 941 had been discharged and the remainder were still under treatment. On 4 June 1918 the Commonwealth government formally resumed the entire property. [15]

Broughton Hall becomes a psychiatric clinic

Repatriation cases ceased to be treated at Broughton Hall by 1920. Those who could afford it were admitted to private nursing homes if they were mentally afflicted but not certifiably insane. This left no places of care for mentally disturbed wage-earners between the general hospitals and the mental asylums.

Broughton Hall filled this need when it became the Broughton Hall Psychiatric Clinic, a 'pioneer enterprise', on 4 April 1921. [16] On that day the first 'voluntary-admitted patients' were transferred from the Darlinghurst Reception House. [17]

The clinic was founded by Dr Sydney Evan Jones, who became responsible for the design of the buildings and the planning and planting of the grounds. [18] He planted tropical ferns and laid out lawns in the garden developed earlier by John Keep. The landscaping of the grounds consisted of 'building hills where none had been, valleys, sunken gardens, streams, bridges and stone walls.' [19]

A garden to divert minds from neuroses to normality

Promoted to Medical Superintendent in 1925, he introduced occupational therapy and utilised the hospital grounds as a means of diverting patients' minds from neuroses to normality. There was a degree of practicality about his efforts. Overflow from the hospital refrigerator became the source of a fish-bearing stream spanned by ornamental bridges. It meandered through a planted forest which was a sanctuary for birds. His scheme

was worked out in meticulous detail on a drawing board as carefully as if it had been in an engineering workshop. [20]

As part of the therapy, a walk for patients in the grounds became a discovery journey during which 'there should be an element of surprise'. Each view was different and as a patient turned a corner it was to notice a new aspect, striking because of its perfection. [21]

Evan Jones's interests included woodwork, metalwork, and stone, brick and concrete work. He was keen student of the Orient and provided many Chinese and Japanese ornamental pieces for the grounds. Evan Jones is said to have developed an understanding with the patients who worked with him in creating the grounds. This partnership saw the creation of a zoological garden with strutting peacocks, kangaroos, emus and other Australian fauna as well as a well-stocked aviary 'particularly of cockatoos and parrots'. [22] Many varieties of trees and shrubs flourished. The dilapidated kangaroo house survived until 1972 when vagrants were found to have taken up residence there.

Despite Evan Jones's efforts until his death in 1948, the gardens were never completed. His scheme for a desert scene complete with dry-climate plants never eventuated. [23]

The planning of the buildings interested Evan Jones and was probably influenced by him. Major buildings were planned close to Glover and Church streets and laid out to look inward to the gardens. The exception was the Administration Block which had an entablatured portico as the hospital's public entrance fronting Church Street.

The clinic expands

In the early 1920s the building of dormitory accommodation began. When the clinic was expanded in the early 1930s, old Broughton Hall became Ward 1, and Wards 2 to 4 were built. The new clinic, however, did not receive legal status until the passing of the Lunacy Amendment Act in 1934. [24] The building program accelerated in 1927–34 but the continuing Depression and World War II ended the major building campaign.

The next building program took place from 1956 to 1963. A new occupational therapy building was followed by an electrotherapy unit and a new canteen. [25] The day hospital, Evan Jones Theatre complex and new administration offices were opened.

In 1971, a bold, geometric, frankly modern design grew up on a new site opposite the original Administration Block on the corner of Glover and Church streets. [26] Based upon linked hexagonal buildings, the clinic gained a new Evan Jones Theatre, day hospital, outpatients' department and administration offices.

The clinic becomes Rozelle Hospital

Five years later the clinic, conjoined with Callan Park, became the Rozelle Hospital. Despite not actually being in Rozelle, the hospital still bears that name. Its current location, according to the Geographical Names Board, is Lilyfield.

The old Broughton Hall (Broughton House) served as a female ward until its closure in 1972. From then until 1974 it was used as an integrated rehabilitation ward. In 1974 it became a 'home' for patients of the Adolescent Unit. [27] In its new guise as a 'home', the house had returned to its original function. It was renamed Rivendell, from the novels of JRR Tolkien – a place of goodness, peace and strength, devoid of all evils.

After ceasing to be a 'home', the old house became sadly derelict and vandalised. The former grand residence, left empty and with doors swinging open, caught fire in the 1980s and has been boarded up and neglected since then.

Broughton Hall has been threatened with closure, sparking persistent and effective resident action to save it, unseparated from Callan Park, as a centre for mental health.


[1] Bryan Thomas, The Original Colonial Landholders of Sydney from 1792: Featuring a Broad Section of Colonial Grants, and the Acreages Held by Those Pioneers, the author, Peakhurst NSW, 1982; New South Wales Registrar General's Department Grant Index, 1792–1826, series 8/12, p 43

[2] Old System Title Book H no 840, Primary Application 3921

[3] Old System Title Book E no 362, Book H no 841

[4] Plan of the Township of Broughton, ML M2 811.1821/1841/1; KJ Cable, 'Broughton, William Grant (1788–1853)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, vol 1, Melbourne University Press, Melbourne, 1966, pp 158–164

[5] Old System Title Book Z no 753; Sydney District Council Assessment Sheets

[6] Sydney District Council Assessment Sheets; Francis Lowe, The City of Sydney Directory for MDCCCXLIV–V, the author, Sydney, 1844; Sydney Morning Herald, 27 Aug 1844

[7] Old System Title Book G no 180; Old System Title Book 8 no 640

[8] Ann K Wentzel, 'Deane, John Philip (1796–1849)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, vol 1, Melbourne University Press, Melbourne, 1966, p 301

[9] Old System Title Book 11 no 391; Old System Title Book 15 no 386

[10] Old System Title Book 26 no 595; Old System Title Book 30 no 17

[11] State Records New South Wales, Primary Application 893A, Statutory Declaration, R S Ross, 8 Aug 1865

[12] Sands' Sydney Directory, J Sands, Sydney, 1886

[13] Certificate of Title vol 25 folio 14

[14] Report for 1918, Inspector General for Mental Hospitals, Health Commission Library

[15] Certificate of Title vol 726 folio 69; Certificate of Title vol 498 folios 22/23

[16] Medical Journal of Australia, 26 June 1948, p 806

[17] Herbert Prior, 'The History and Development of the Broughton Hall Psychiatric Clinic', unpublished manuscript, 197?, Royal Australasian College of Physicians, History of Medicine Library collection, Sydney

[18] Herbert Prior, 'The History and Development of the Broughton Hall Psychiatric Clinic', unpublished manuscript, 197?, Royal Australasian College of Physicians, History of Medicine Library collection, Sydney, p 31

[19] Medical Journal of Australia, 26 June 1948, p 806

[20] Medical Journal of Australia, 26 June 1948, p 806

[21] Medical Journal of Australia, 26 June 1948, p 178

[22] Herbert Prior, 'The History and Development of the Broughton Hall Psychiatric Clinic', unpublished manuscript, 197?, Royal Australasian College of Physicians, History of Medicine Library collection, Sydney

[23] Medical Journal of Australia, 1949

[24] Herbert Prior, 'The History and Development of the Broughton Hall Psychiatric Clinic', unpublished manuscript, 197?, Royal Australasian College of Physicians, History of Medicine Library collection, Sydney

[25] New South Wales Department of Commerce (Public Works) Plan Room

[26] Building Ideas, vol 2 no 6, Dec 1963

[27] Building Ideas, vol 2 no 6, Dec 1963