Heathcote began in 1929 on Point Heathcote at Applecross. It was first known as the Heathcote Reception Home, and was a government hospital for people with 'recent and recoverable' mental illness. Heathcote sometimes housed Children and adolescents. It closed in 1994.
The Royal Commission into Lunacy recommended in 1922 that a new hospital be built to treat people with acute 'mental disorders'. The Commissioners believed there was 'no marked line dividing sanity from insanity; there are degrees intervening which must be recognised and provided for…there is, so to speak, nothing between sanity and Claremont'. They described a movement away from the custodial model to a more active treatment model of care: 'insanity is a disorder insidious in character and slow in onset; that more often than one can accurately estimate, the patient goes through a period - varying in each case - during which skilled treatment, properly administered, will prevent an impending attack or successfully deal with it in its early stages' (pp.6-7). Heathcote, as the hospital was named, was to be that observation and treatment centre.
On its establishment in 1929, Heathcote had a Board of Visitors. The Board of Visitors system was established following an amendment to the Lunacy Act 1903, which set up this system for the protection of patients in psychiatric hospitals.The Board was independent of both the Public Health Department and Heathcote, and provided an independent avenue for patients who were concerned about their rights or welfare.
In its Report (p.7), the Royal Commission was specific in its description of the future 'Acute Mental Hospital and Reception Centre' - in what it should include by way of patients, facilities, staff and treatments; and in whom it should exclude: 'senile dements, well-marked congenital defectives, obviously chronic insanity, general paralysis and epilepsy'.
Sources used to compile this entry: 'AU WA A793 - Heathcote Mental 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/heathcote-mental-hospital-au-wa-a793; 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. p.69..
Prepared by: Debra Rosser
Created: 24 April 2013, Last modified: 20 October 2020