Larundel revisit

What better way to spend a nice sunny Sunday afternoon than by revisiting an abandoned mental hospital?

Larundel is currently being redeveloped… it will take a couple of years for the remaining buildings to be renovated for residential and commerical use; currently they are as trashed as ever.

For anyone who doesn’t know, Larundel was a mental hospital that opened in the 40s and was eventually closed for good in 1999.  I recommend reading ‘Glimpses of the Past’ by Iliya Bircanin and Alex Short (the latter worked as the pharmacist at Larundel for many years).  It gives a history of Larundel and it’s fellow psych hospitals Mont Park and Plenty.  It’s more a general history of how the institutions came to be, going back to the 1880s; if you’re after stories about patients and their experiences at Larundel, you won’t find anything like that in this book.

I have heard mixed reports about what went on there… The hospital was open during a time where a lot of experiments were carried out in psych hospitals – some bad, some good.  Most of what I’ve heard seems to be rumour, passed on like Chinese Whispers, because people really only want to know about disturbing tales.  But there was definitely some groundbreaking work carried out there, such as the discovery of lithium as a treatment for bipolar mania by Dr. John Cade (watch ‘Troubled Minds: The Lithium Revoltion’ for more information on this).

Larundel, along with many other hospitals in the Western world in the 80s and 90s, shut down because deinstitutionalisation came into favour.  Helping those with mental illness as outpatients, so that they could live a normal day-to-day life whilst still receiving treatment, was seen as the preferred method.  However, I wonder just how many of those patients would have been better off living in a place like Larundel.  How many of them ended up homeless or relapsing after Larundel closed because they couldn’t – or wouldn’t – look after themselves in the outside world?  At least in a mental hospital they wouldn’t have to worry about being judged, or have to hide their illness.

I am still interested in hearing any stories from people who were once patients or who had relatives who were patients at Larundel.

x Kitten of Doom

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~ by Kitten of Doom on February 20, 2012.

69 Responses to “Larundel revisit”

  1. Great reportage!

  2. still as freaky as ever lol

  3. Great photos and report. I have sent it on to mum. As a child she played with her sister in the gardens there as both their Mum & dad worked at Mont park.Growing up I heard lovely stories about sweet people and how sad it was for it to be shut down and the people of mont park had no families and no where to go,It up set my Grandma.

    • I’ve heard similar stories about the closing of Sunbury asylym too, people lost with nowhere to go. It makes me think that the government should have kept at least one institution for the mentally ill (as opposed to simply an allocated number of beds in a general hospital ward). I would have loved to have met some of the characters who resided in Larundel back in the day. You’re lucky you’ve gotten to hear many first-hand stories about it.

  4. Great shots. I returned to Larundel today after 26 years. I am 41 and was sent here as a sectioned patient, involuntary at the age of 14.

    It was a very strange experience. Many things that had happened became a haze, drugs, denial and time all played on how I remember things, until I went there today and everything was as I remembered it.

    I have never experienced anything quite like walking through a place a seeing yourself in various rooms. Remembering the isolation units, your bedroom, the games room, finally finding the elevator that my family always told me never existed. That elevator features heavily for me as it was the journey to the ECT rooms….

    I only had my iPhone to take pictures but I would dearly love to go back with a decent camera…

    • Wow! Would love to hear your stories about the place if you’re keen to share? I also didn’t know there was an elevator there either.

    • Hello Morgana, I am writing about Larundel for a book on Mark Brandon Read who was a patient there in 1970. Could you please contact me on adamshand@hotmail.com to discuss your experiences as a young kid in Larundel? Thanks

      • Hi Adshand.
        I have just read your comment about writing a book about Larundel.
        I was also a patient, both times Involuntary/Sectioned.
        I was there the first time for about a year around the late 1980’s & again in 1996 as the place was closing it’s doors a & was almost abandoned. My son, then 2 months, was sent with me to the Prof Unit.

        Boy the stories I also have about that place! Including the upfront abuse.

        Just thought you may be interested? Let me know if you are.
        KittenOfDoom can vouch for me as I began writing, but the Thread closed, My Psychiatric Journey, that many people were following & enjoying.
        I was also enjoying it myself as I was finally purging all those bad memories. And remembering the good times too.

  5. i went out to larundel with my mum to check it out to see where abouts holes in the fences and stuff were, and that night she told me a story about her uncle that was taken there, she said that the police went to his home because he thought people were trying to take his wife, so they sent him to larundel, and to see my mum start to get upset when telling me this story showed that this place was a very strage place

  6. Hi kitten of Doom.
    I was once a patient at Mont Park, Royal and Larundel.
    I have just recently started putting my experiences of all the Psych Hospitals I was in from the late 80’s to late 90’s when Larundel was being closed down bit by bit. I am happy to give you the link to these stories. Well there is only one up at the moment as I am still currently writing about some lesser known
    Psychiatric
    The Prof Unit, the upper story above A and B Ward, were one of the very last Wards to close in Larundel.
    The site I am writing my stories on that you are welcome to read and ask any questions is;

    http://www.unexplained-mysteries.com/forum/index.php?s=496c4aac388fcf06145e37466eb8f01a&showtopic=166512&pid=4329589&st=120&#entry4329589

    • Hey Wendy, yes I’ve actually messaged you on Unexplained Mysteries before, but I have a different username to WordPress. Thank you for posting your stories, and I eagerly await the rest. K

  7. Kitten of Doom. I have just uploaded my latest installment at Unexplained Mysteries.

  8. I don’t wanna alarm you but isn’t that asbestos strewn all across the place? Shouldn’t you have an breathing apparatus on?

    But anyway. Thanks for this 🙂 I’m gonna go and check it out soon.

  9. hi kitten of doom, my mum worked in mont park as a domestic; she has told me many of story’s about the place.. some good some bad. the good ones being that she had become well acquainted with some of the patients in there.. another one which is quite sad is a man who tried to kill himself by sticking a knife in the power socket and blew his fingers off!! … I myself grew up in bundoora and played around the whole place (larundel, mont park and plenty) me my brother and friends were about 10 or so when it closed down… when it was first closed i remember walking around it, and it had a very eiry feeling too it, all the gardens were beautifully landscaped and neat… even in the back parts of gresswell forest (just behind larundel) there were houses built for the greswell sanetorium, all of those houses were vandalised to the point of demolishment…

    it is very ad that it got closed down…

    • I agree, it’s sad that it got closed down. And I think there is a bit of a gap in our mental health system now that we don’t have places like this. Obviously they’re not good for everyone, but there were a lot of people who had nowhere else to go when Larundel closed. I moved to Melbourne 1-2 years after it closed so I never got to see it open.

  10. has the entire building been demolished?

  11. is that definate? Does anyone know where EXACTLY it is located? My girlfriend and I had a look yesterday and only saw an opening to the park. But couldnt spot any old buildings as far as i could see.. Is It more towards monte Park? Or has it all been demolished and rebuilt over?

  12. PS when did u take all these pics kitten of doom? was it a while back?

  13. HI, Kitten of Doom, drove past Larundal the other and decided to look up some information. My mother was a patient of Larundal for over 20 years on and off. We visited her as young children, teenagers , and adults, she was there until it closed, moved to Mont Park for a while and then into one of the new units designed to help them live in the community. My mother has passed away now and was MAD to the end , living to 76. Hopeing to access some of her medical records, not much was told to us about her condition , it was kept quiet. Not many fond memories of visiting her there, especially as children very scary place. Thanks for the pics Sue.

  14. Wow, I remember so much about being in Larundel a few times in the early 90s. I was there about eight months once! I remember the elevators. And the red phones. Need to go back and see it again. I remember tge Prof Unit too. I had a friend in there. The drs tried to put me in there once but I said no and they said ok. I was in A Ward too. Anyone remember Arts Access? I’m still friends with Claire who ran it for yrs. Fond and sad memories too of Larundel. I think a lot of people slipped through the cracks when it closed.
    Rach.

    • Hey Rach, thanks for sharing some of your memories. Not a lot is left in there now, sadly, it’s been trashed over the years. I have heard stories about people who became homeless with noone to help them after it closed, which I think is quite sad. It seems like it was a comfortable home for a lot of people, despite some of the negative stories I’ve heard about things that happened to others. I would be interested to hear some of your stories if you’d be willing to share.

  15. Hi all, I used to go there with mates for a bit of thrillseeking back in 2001… we went in pretty much every building… however last year I went looking for it and couldn’t find an entrance… I remember previously driving past a service station to enter it but the entrance was no longer there… can anyone please provide a Melway reference or an exact address. I thought the whole place was gone?

    Also i recall previously, when entering the site, when turning left at a roundabout it and going all the way to the end there was a creepy house standing on it’s own, double story. Does anyone know if that is still there?

    A response would be much appreciated.

    Thanks

  16. Hey, I’m planning to visit this place soon with some friends, what’s the risk with the asbestos? I’m really keen on going I just want to make sure that I don’t end up with lung cancer because I was too stupid to take precautions.

  17. My mum was there involuntarily in 1964. I was 7 and remember visiting, sitting in the garden. Mum seemed to like one of the psychiatrists. Dr Oldmeadow? She said he asked her ‘when is a bat not a bat?’. Maybe she was troubled by bats. She was there under a year and had electro shock therapy. I would like to see her records because our family kept this a secret. When she came out she was functional and worked very hard to seem normal. She is now 78 years old.

    • Dianne.
      I hope you get this as I have pressed ‘Reply’ to you many times but it won’t change the ‘Relay’ from Sean.
      So if you get this Sean? I apologise.

      You maybe able to see her records at the State Library of Victoria in Melbourne? I would contact them first though.

      They do however have the book to borrow that Kitten of Doom has mentioned, I am getting my local library to borrow it for me. It’s called ‘Glimpses of the Past’ by Iliya Bircanin and Alex Short .
      It’s a book written about Larundel, Mont Park and Plenty Hospital.
      It sounds great to a Book Worm like myself!

      After your mum had ECT, did she find or did you find she had a lot of trouble remembering things from before she had ECT?
      I was forced to have ECT at the end of 991 & the begining of 1992 at Frankston Hospital’s new Psych Ward.
      I had 36 treatments over about 6 months or so.
      My memories are almost gone now from when before I began ECT.
      It’s very sad for me because I have lost so many memories from my childhood & adolescent’s.
      Sometimes I feel like I have Alzheimer’s.
      I even had trouble remembering things from recent memories or what I may have said or someone has said to me, even now.
      It is so frustrating. And it makes me cry at times.
      I spoke to the Psychiatrist that ordered all those ECT against my wishes in 1999, just to catch up with him & let him know how I was now going.
      He told me, when I said about my memories that have now gone since having ECT, “There is NO evidence that there is NO lose of long term memory lose. Only short term after having a dose of ECT.” I asked him “How can that be when I have spoken to other ECT patient’s & they ALL report memory lose?” I was told it was just a coincidence!
      I don’t think so. And told him “Just because there is no written evidence or such does NOT mean there is NO evidence of long term memory lose.”
      He changed the subject after that to the abuse I suffered in the Frankston Hospital 2 West Psych Ward. AND acknowledged it AND applogised for it!!!

      But that’s another hospital, not Larundel and the abuse that happened there.

  18. Hello do i need to contact someone to get in here? or can u just walk in?
    Sincerely Me…

  19. Not much left, was there last week, another fire, i think it mite be time to move on….

    • Oh that’s sad Sean.
      Vandals just think the place is just great to destroy. But they never think that this place was many people’s home.

      I just wish people would visit & leave the place the way they found it.

      Do you know how much damage the fire caused? And which building it was? The big building right out the front, across the driveway from the old burnt out Admin building?

  20. The Main Building and admin, i think the main building was bad but residents saw the fire quickly at admin so it was saved. Nevertheless much has gone now ,a couple more visits and id say there will be nothing left, A real shame….x x x

    • Thank you for getting back to me Sean.
      That was the last place that myself & my very young, 2 months, old son were kept in.
      Much abuse occurred in this Ward.
      But it is still sad to know it’s gone now, maybe.

      Not sure if you can leave photos on here or not?
      I won’t put any on until given the OK too.
      I have some photos on the Main Building left. I couldn’t get too close though as it was daylight & the Security Guard warned me that people on the other side of this building, sit there watching for someone to come along, and then ring the Police on them.

      I did capture a weird abnormality in one of the windows though.

      If I can’t post them on here, I can direct people to a Facebook site. With Kitten’s permission again of course.

  21. No prob’s hope Diane finds what she’s looking for…

  22. Kitten of Doom.

    I forgot to mention that I can tell people about most of where your photos were taken. And what would happen there. If anyone is interested?

    • Hey, thanks for your comments! I always welcome new information from you! Have you posted on the unexplained mysteries forums Larundel thread recently? And you are also welcome to post photos here if wordpress lets you. Otherwise send em to me.

      • My mother was a patient a larundal for 30 years and one of the last to leave , I visited her ion my childhood every weekend when she was nt home . Im not sure about all this mystery around larundal

      • Hi Kitten. No I haven’t had time to sit down & write in depth about my experiences. But I need to.
        I have no idea how to post photos on WordPress? I can try though.
        If it fails I will send them to you.

        I will also start to go through your photos on here.

        Now let’s see if I can get these photos on here???

    • Sounds good can we post photos here?

    • You can send me photos and any stories to go with them to iamthekittenofdoom@gmail.com

  23. I have some photos of the place recently with some strang stuff can i post here or is there a link for this stuff ? Thanks Seanie.

    • Would love to see them Sean.

      • Not sure why there is so
        Much interest in visiting the ruined buildings of a psyhiatric hospital , my mother was in Larundal for over 30 years in ward north 9 , she was ther till it closed and then went to Mont Park, for a while and the to a monitored unit in Stkilda,whilst we visited her quite regularly there was plenty of lost souls and ghosts of peopleALIVE , who never had visitors , pity there wasn’t as much interest then , would any of you have visted this place to visit real troubled people, I’m not sure. My mother never mentioned any sort of abuse , yes they was the padded room(which I have seen) the straight jackets the electrics shock treatment , lithium , but try living with a mentally disturbed person extremely strong and sometimes violent . Perhap more people should take an interest in the living lost souls not the ghosts of dead ones

  24. Hi there! Not sure if you have noticed. But there is a figure in the corner of the photo where you have taken a shot of yourself in the mirror. It is located on the right corner , under the vas graffiti tag. It looks as though they are watching you

    • Nah, it’s just more ink on the mirror.

    • Also , I pass larundal daily. It is home to many visitors. I see parents and their kids going inside to explore. It is also home to the local homeless people. When entering you must make sure to keep clear of any syringes or broken glass.

      • My partners great grandmother was a patient. She had no mental illness and it was a real struggle to get her out of the asylum. She has stories of being scolded in boiling hot water baths , being smacked into corners and a few other nasty occurances.

      • Hi Chici.
        So you see people come & go all the time, during the day?
        Near & into the old A, B & Prof Unit?

        Isn’t security so tight anymore?

        Hitting security again is one on the 2 reasons I don’t temp to go back.
        The other is I am s**t scared knowing & ‘feeling’ What? was there even when the Wards were open is still there.

  25. There is the old myth of a young girl and her music box, its just a myth, I live very close to the asylum, i have heard this music there before and got very intrigued. I studied the area for months, most people believe its the La trobe bells that people hear and say its ghosts afterwards, ive heard the bells there at midnight and its nothing like this but this music is in fact the tune of a local ice cream truck, this is what everyone has been hearing (including me) over the years for people to believe there is the ghost of a young girl haunting the place, and yes, this ice cream truck can even be heard very late at night.

    • That’s what I’ve heard; that it’s coming from La Trobe and is a recording of some sort. I haven’t actually been to Larundel at night so haven’t heard the music myself.

  26. Sad, Larundel has just about gone, time for a new start and put the old to rest…

  27. Wow, So Fasinating, would love to see more picks n thank you to all for your story’s n information, I’ve loved n enjoyed reading, Again, Thank You, Cheers 😃

  28. Hey guys. How much of this place still remains?

  29. hey everyone my name is anthony, i have lately had a big interest in larundel and it’s history. i am going to make a mini documentary about this place, i ask anyone on here if they know anyone who has been in larundel to email me at anthony_dibari@hotmail.com for some further infomation about the place or even an interview to be in the documentary ! thanks

    anthony_dibari@hotmail.com

  30. I had the most surreal experience at Larundel…but it also took away the magic. The music box noise is not what you think.

    My cousins and I used to go ‘ghost hunting’ around Melbourne. Larundel is one of the last places we ever went- about 5 years ago.
    We spent half an hour or so around the perimeter and then found a hole in the fencing. We snuck through and spent a little bit of time on the outside of a building until we saw 2 security guards with flash lights. We began running as they called out to us telling us to stop and stand still. We made it about a hundred metres and almost to the car but then decided to stop since they were on our heels. They walked up to us and boy were they a bizarre team. A very tall coloured man and a very short (fat or muscley) balding guy. Basically Arnie and Devito in twins.
    We spun a story about being from the country and having driven all the way to Melbourne to check the place out. We were just trying to get out of trouble.
    THEN Arnie looked at Devito, nodded, and then told us that he would take us through the main building!!! This is around 1am i think.
    They took us on a tour.There was no strange feeling or coldness, nothing out of the ordinary. It hits about 1:15am and one of the guards phones starts ringing. it’s his boss. GUESS WHAT THE RINGTONE WAS?? A music box.

    Either the guard has a weird sense of humour, or the so called ‘little ghost girls music box’ that people claim to hear every night, is just a ringtone!!!

  31. Music Box.
    There were speakers at one point installed into the building, these were but there by the university, (Students) they played a music box and several other sounds, to try and keep people out, i guess to scare them off, over the duration of time, When the building slowly started to decay, some of the speakers stop working, and as the students moved on, so silence was re-installed back to Larundel. I think the music box became sort of a urban legend, I’m told the story of the child and music box was also a idea of students to go with the sound. Myself have never heard it, but it makes a good story in time. R.I.P old girl, your time has come.

  32. kitten, I love these bullshit storys people like you leave,being a former patient, I think you really don’t have any real fuckin idea what your on about,if you really want to learn about the place, contact me, I love setting people straight and maybe you might learn something, up to you.

  33. I was in larundel for a while and plenty hospital m ward for two years I didn’t noticed people chained however in the woman’s geriatric ward the woman’s wrists were tied to the arms of camode chairs and all the beds were wet every morning most needed help walking there wasn’t buzzer in the dorm most people who suffered won’t tell any one they do it in silence of course the nurses who worked will say how caring it was evveryone’s files are full of shit written by nurses covering there arises oh how I wish I could meet a few of you now and you can explain to me how Malcolm walked to the dormitory and crawled out in after two days finally had his two broken ankles plastered and went talking. Constantly to silence you couldn’t tell anyone the same nurses were there next shift even when I got out I was to scared to say anything in case I ended back there and by the way I haven’t been an inpatient since its thirty years I still have Constant nightmares And like so many suffer in silence

  34. A lot lately, like once a week, I have had a dream about being thrown into Royal Park, Larundel, Brierley, Mont Park,etc for no good reason other than “The Doctor thought there was more wrong with me than what he was seeing.”
    I would always wake up in a cold sweet. Because I knew how this worked. If I played up I would get, way more time. BUT if I nice and did what the Doctor expected all the time, maybe mucking up only once or twice, the Doctor would be so happy and would ‘think’ his treatment is working, that I could get out a few years earlier than the other way.
    These dreams would make me feel so sick.
    I would also try and escape out if. Remembering pathways, not escape areas, helped that.
    Even after these places are gone. Torn down, my memories still linger in the fallen bricks.

    • I hope the dreams do not persist for too long. Did you ever end up writing down your memories of your time there? How long has it been since you were last in an institutional setting?

  35. Wow, some of these pictures really give me the chills.

    My mother was taken here a few times when she was younger in the late 80’s (she suffers from bi-polar). I remember she got her wish granted that i remain in the children’s wing of Larundel where she could visit me without me having to travel from my grandparents. My Grandmother wasnt really happy with this, but as my mother was transferred to the cottages on-site she couldnt do anything about it. I was 3 or 4 years old at the time…I remember this place so vividly.

    The room in the childrens wing I was in had white metal cots lining both sides of the wall, the windows were slits at the top of walls so only light could get in from there (or thats how i remember it). There was a large communal area for all the children to gather during the day which lead out to the garden, like a prison. I remember one day a girl snatched a teddy from me and i cried and cried and tried to get it back and this wench of a nurse pulled me by my arm and threw me behind her desk. It looks so much like the nurses station in some of these pics. It was all white and sterile. She made me sit there until i “learned my place”. I have many repressed memories of this place as my Grandmother found cigarette burns and bruises all over my arms one day and she came with the police at night and they removed me from the hospital. The nurses tried to claim that it was my mother who had “abused” me, however when questioned why they had never made it known to authorities when bathing me, they never gave an answer. Ive always found it interesting how they got away with that, as my mother was not the violent type at all, and they used to isolate her a bit there so i didnt see her a lot.

    I spent a gruelling 3 months in this place as a child of a patient. I am wanting to access these memories so I can find that pitiful wench and ask her why she did these things.

    Has anyone else had this experience?

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