Identity area

Reference code

AU WA S4500




  • 1903-08-18 - (Creation)
  • 1903-08-18 - 1966-06-29 (Accumulation)

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Context area

Name of creator

AU WA A543 - CLAREMONT MENTAL HOSPITAL (1903-08-01 - 1972)

Administrative history

In 1901, a Parliamentary Select Committee was appointed to inquire into the mental health system in Western Australia. The Committee found that Fremantle Asylum was inadequate in many respects and recommended it be closed. As a result, a new mental health facility in Claremont - Claremont Hospital for the Insane - was established. In 1903, Government Reserve H8636 (394 acres) was set aside for this purpose.

By August 1903, temporary buildings had been established on the site and some initial patients transferred. Female patients remained at the Fremantle Asylum until 1908, after which they were transferred to Claremont.

The Claremont facility was Western Australia’s principal mental hospital until its closure in 1972.

It housed the majority of the State’s mental patients, both male and female adults (in separate wings) and children. Admission was by certification under the Lunacy Act 1903 or the Inebriates Act 1912, although ‘voluntary boarders’ were also admitted for limited periods of time. In the absence of community facilities, most patients were long-term.

Patients were admitted for a wide range of physical as well as mental disorders, including developmental disability, old age, alcoholism and serious infectious diseases that caused delirium. War veterans with psychiatric injuries were also housed in Claremont until separate facilities were built, including Stromness (1918-1926) and Lemnos Hospitals (1926-1995).

The hospital operated a small farm within its premises and registers of herds and farm produce are included in the records held by the State Records Office.

In 1933 the Hospital’s name was changed to Claremont Mental Hospital, and then in 1967 to Claremont Hospital. In 1972, the Hospital was closed and divided into two separate campuses: Swanbourne Hospital for psychogeriatric patients and adults with developmental disabilities, and Graylands Hospital for acute psychiatric patients.

Archival history

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Patient admission registers for Claremont Mental Hospital.

The registers record: date of previous admission (if any); register number; number for the year; date of admission; patient's name; marital status; occupation; place of origin; residential address; religion; how sent to hospital; date of medical certificate and who signed; form of mental disorder; supposed causes; relation/s with mental disorder; number of previous attacks; duration of existing attacks; date of discharge; recovered/relieved/not improved/died; time in hospital; observations.

The registers typically include an index to patient names at the front or rear of each volume.

The date range for each Record Item listed reflects the range of admission dates for patients. The registers do however include information from previous admissions (the first register notes previous admissions to Fremantle Asylum dating from 1891).


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Conditions governing access

Restricted 100 years

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Archivist's note

Copies: Microfilm copies of pre-1922 registers (Consignment 3104, items 1-3) are available for viewing at the State Records Office of WA.

Accession area