Former Goulburn teacher continues Kenmore Hospital history | Goulburn Post

news, local-news, Goulburn, Kenmore Hospital, history, Phil Leighton-Daly, Moldering Treasures of a Psychiatric Hospital, book, Wednesday’s Child

Phil Leighton-Daly can hardly hide his anger as he stands outside what is arguably one of the state’s finest collection of historic health buildings. “Kenmore Hospital is a hidden gem – a collection of moldering treasures – but this grand eloquence is being destroyed by looters,” he tells The Post. The historian and ex-teacher says he’s even more disappointed that the new owners of the former psychiatric hospital, Australia China International Pty Ltd, are “denying” the community access to a World War One memorial in the grounds. It was built in 1924 and honours 50 staff who served in the defence forces. READ MORE: Goulburn’s Kenmore Hospital heritage disrepair attracts attention Heritage NSW undertaking compliance investigation of Kenmore Hospital Kenmore Gardens owner speaks in Goulburn New Kenmore owners want to restore it to former glory Mr Leighton-Daly has just completed a two-volume history of the complex titled Moldering Treasures of a Psychiatric Hospital. The second volume is a potted history while the third is a photographic collection. The books build on his 2014 volume one work, the 300-page Wednesday’s Child. The site was declared State Significant in 2003 for its fine collection of Walter Liberty Vernon designed architecture and history as a working village. The architect started work at Kenmore in 1895. Mr Leighton Daly said he was always fascinated by the architecture but the property had another element. “It was always a mysterious place,” he said. “I used to play cricket there when I was young and people (including patients) used to come and watch us.” ALSO READ: What are your plans for New Year’s Eve? His mother was also a nurse serving with the 114th General Hospital when part of Kenmore was used for injured soldiers’ repatriation during World War Two. As the son of a World War Two veteran, he tells the stories of workers who signed up for WW1 service and never came home. One of these was Harold Britton Stephens, of Larbert, near Braidwood, who drowned when the hospital ship, The Centaur was sunk in 1943. Delving into State archives, old newspapers and Kenmore documents, Mr Leighton-Daly also details the facility’s development but also the stories that brought it to life. ALSO READ: Mural depicts rich history of town Kenmore had a working farm, including a dairy, piggery, orchard, vegetable gardens and more across its wide expanse. That and sporting facilities such as a cricket ground and bowling green were welcome distractions for both patients and the community who visited the site. The Kenmore Pleasure Ground along the nearby Wollondilly River was also a popular spot in earlier days. Medical superintendents like Dr Charles Moffitt (1921-1937) encouraged entertainment such as musicals, dances, plays and talking movies for staff and patients. Mr Leighton-Daly has sourced some of these old photos. “Dr Moffitt also thought meat made patients more aggressive and cut down on the amount that was served,” Mr Leighton-Daly said. A later superintendent, Dr David Morgan, is described as strict but fair, with an occasional penchant for employing staff with cricketing prowess. ALSO READ: ‘People in need of help have been brave enough to get it’: Suicide rates have decreased in NSW Mr Leighton-Daly spoke to former nurse manager Bob Seaman, Bob Smith and Kerry Williams (before his death in 2020) about their working days and prowess for the Kenmore Cricket team that sometimes went on tour. The book covers darker tales like the spate of suicides and drownings in the Wollondilly, particularly at the end of World War Two, and the accidental shooting of Nurse Elizabeth Naughton by an ex-soldier in 1922. The author uncovers stories of the ‘sly grog trade’ operated by patients, an SP bookie ring, ex-residents’ humpies in the nearby Cookbundoon ranges and a council inquiry into night-soil contamination in the Wollondilly River. At its peak, the hospital housed about 1300 patients and was described by one 1935 visitor as “a delightful little village nestled in the hills.” The state government sold it in 2005 to Longreach Capital Pty Ltd for $3 million. It has passed through several private interests, including the latest company in 2016. All have promised redevelopment but little has eventuated. ALSO READ: Male driver caught speeding on Kings Highway In November, 2020, Heritage NSW started a compliance investigation and ordered Australia China International to undertake “minimum standard maintenance” on the buildings. Mr Leighton-Daly despairs the damage and disrepair inflicted by vandals and successive owners. “When I see it being wrecked it’s like turning a dagger in a wound,” he said. “I see people profiteering from the stealing…I think there should be more security cameras around there and police should be involved. “…I suggested to the owners that they make the war memorial available to the public. There are men’s names on it and the Australian flag is flying there. We should at least be able to pay our respects to those who died.” We care about what you think. Have your say in the form below and if you love local news don’t forget to subscribe.



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Kenmore elevated to QFA Division 1 Hart Sport Cup.

AFL Queensland has today announced that the Kenmore Bears have been granted a licence to play in the QFA Division 1 Hart Sport Cup for season 2021.

With Noosa having being elevated to the QAFL, the Division 1 competition will be an eight-team competition in 2021, with the return of the Caloundra Panthers after sitting out 2020 due to the COVID pandemic and the promotion of the Kenmore Bears.

After being granted a provisional division 1 licence in 2020, Kenmore did an outstanding job in strengthening their club throughout 2020. They laid a strong platform for 2021, headlined by them winning both the Reserves and Senior grade Premierships in the QFA Division 2 South competition.

Leigh Harding, Competition Manager QFA, said Kenmore had done everything asked of them to rubber stamp their promotion.

“We were candid with Kenmore about the areas we felt they needed to strengthen to make the step up in 2021 and to their credit they did a fantastic job of making sure they were ready on all fronts and even added some silverware in the process ,” Mr Harding said.

Kenmore President, Terry Mumford, said the Bears were looking forward to embracing the challenges stepping up into the Division 1 competition brings.

“We have some really exciting times ahead, with a new facility about to be constructed and now this elevation into Division 1. 

We are extremely proud of the way the club embraced 2020 and we look forward to seeing the growth within our club over the coming years,” Mr Mumford said.

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Heritage NSW undertaking compliance investigation of Kenmore Hospital | Goulburn Post

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The government is stepping in to protect Goulburn’s heritage-listed Kenmore Hospital Precinct after the buildings suffered vandalism and disrepair earlier in the year. Heritage NSW is undertaking a compliance investigation of the property, with co-operation from the owner, Xiao Liang Wen of Australia China International Holdings Pty, who bought the property in 2015. READ MORE Kenmore was the first purpose-built, whole complex for mental health care in rural NSW, designed by Walter Liberty Vernon, the first Government Architect, in the 1890s. The former hospital was added to the NSW State Heritage Register in 2005. Mr Xiao purchased the property in 2015, intending to develop it for retirement accommodation, housing government services, or hosting educational facilities. Although a master plan has been approved, residents reported that while the grounds have been maintained, the buildings have not been kept up. Vandals ransacked the property in August and September. They smashed windows, including rare stained glass windows; ripped doors off their hinges; tore furniture apart; graffitied the walls; stole marble fireplace surrounds; pulled cedar skirtings and architraves from the walls; lit fires in the corridors; and left holes in the floors and ceilings. READ ALSO Goulburn MP Wendy Tuckerman said she was “shocked, saddened, and angered” by the hospital’s condition. “The buildings have been subject to serious and continuing vandalism; maintenance has been ignored; and the poor state of the buildings is a dishonour to Goulburn’s history,” Mrs Tuckerman said. The MP toured the property with the Minister for Heritage, the Hon. Don Harwin MLC, in September, and has discussed the hospital’s plight with the Heritage Council of NSW and the Minister. “I remain strongly committed to ensuring the preservation of Kenmore Hospital Precinct,” Mrs Tuckerman said. Heritage NSW officers inspected the site on October 21, and identified security issues, condition issues, and risks, a spokesman said. Heritage NSW is preparing a Minimum Standards of Maintenance Plan for the property, and has written to Australia China International Pty to ensure they fulfil their obligations to minimize further deterioration and damage.

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Goulburn’s Kenmore Hospital heritage disrepair attracts attention | Goulburn Post

news, local-news, Goulburn, Kenmore Hospital, heritage, China Australia International Holdings, deterioration, Peter Trama, Xiao Liang Wen, Heritage NSW

The State’s peak heritage body plans to intervene to help stop further degradation of buildings at the former Kenmore Hospital. Vandals have broken into the Taralga Road facility in recent weeks, lit small fires, ripped cedar skirtings, architraves and doors from walls, stolen marble fireplace surrounds and left holes in the floor and ceilings. Australia-China International Holdings Pty Ltd bought the facility and its 77 buildings set across 78 hectares in 2016. Company owner Xiao Liang Wen flagged retirement living, an international school and a Chinese medicine facility among the development options.
READ MORE:  New Kenmore owners want to restore it to former glory
Kenmore Gardens owner speaks in Goulburn
While the grounds have been maintained, residents have reported little upkeep on the buildings on the state significant site despite a master plan being approved. In response to The Post’s questions, a Heritage NSW spokesperson said the department was aware of the condition and risk to Kenmore Hospital.
“(We) have been in contact with the current owners regarding their obligations to manage the property according to the minimum standard provisions of the NSW Heritage Act 1977,” she said. “Heritage NSW is currently seeking an opportunity to inspect the site with the owner’s representative, noting COVID constraints.” She confirmed that the current owner had not received or applied for a Heritage Grant from the department. The Post has been unable to contact the company for comment. Goulburn MP Wendy Tuckerman has also toured the property and has raised its condition with Heritage Minister, Don Harwin. She said she was “shocked, saddened and angered” by its state. The site includes among the finest examples of Edwardian freestyle architecture designed by Walter Liberty Vernon, according to its State heritage listing. Construction on the sprawling property started in the early 1890s and evolved into what was described as one of the best designed, planned and most modern psychiatric facilities in NSW. It also functioned as a village, with a farm, sporting facilities and gardens and a section was used as a military hospital during World War Two. But Goulburn man Peter Trama says this physical history is at risk unless someone acts. Mr Trama helped restore core buildings on the Marian College site next to the new Quest Apartments in Clinton Street. He is also the caretaker.
“There is no question in my mind that if something doesn’t occur soon (with Kenmore) another fire like Saint John’s will happen,” he said.
Mr Trama was referring to the 1912 Saint John’s orphanage in Mundy Street which was substantially destroyed by several blazes in 2015 and 2016.
St John’s Orphanage on fire | Photos St John’s Boys Home on fire again
Council insists on safety and security at St John’s
Mr Trama said it was essential that a caretaker and security were enlisted to stop the window smashing, vandalism and theft at Kenmore. Several weeks ago, intruders lit a fire in the old chapel and smashed a hole in the floor and ceiling.
Aside from the “irreplaceable” Australian cedar, he told The Post that moisture ingress was causing cracking in buildings. Old slate roof tiles were also cracked and missing. Graffiti had also been sprayed inside and out.
“It would cost millions of dollars to fix it all,” Mr Trama said. “…It would take years and you would have to work from the most to the least significant buildings and on those that could bring in some money to fund the restoration.” He believed former owner Lila Chan’s idea for a retirement village was worthy, as were plans for an international school. It was just one part of a master plan approved after her company, LAJC Energy Pty Ltd bought the property in 2010. ALSO READ: Bus service suspended as trial comes to screaming stop While a caretaker would help address vandalism, Mr Trama said it wouldn’t stop break-ins in the very rear buildings. “It’s a tragedy,” he said of the deterioration. “Part of the problem is that people see the size of the land close to Goulburn and think of its value rather than the site. “It’s a very significant property and to see it deteriorate is criminal; it’s a crying shame. I’m passionate about restoring buildings so people can enjoy truly brilliant architecture because you don’t see that anymore.” Meantime, Goulburn MP Wendy Tuckerman said she had raised her “grave concerns” about Kenmore with Heritage Minister Don Harwin and the Heritage Council of NSW, following a visit.
“Several constituents and stakeholders have contacted my office with their own concerns around the care and maintenance of this precious establishment,” she said in a statement. ALSO READ: Man pulled over for high-range drink driving twice in the same day “I am shocked, saddened and angered by the current state of Kenmore. The buildings have been subject to serious and continuing vandalism – reparation and maintenance have been ignored and the present dilapidation of the buildings is a dishonour to Goulburn’s history.” She said the community held fond memories of careers, sport and recreation on the grounds and on the nearby Wollondilly River. READ MORE: An idea worth floating “I have been recently advised that (the owners) are seeking interest from anyone that may have a purpose to use the site. “…Owners of State Heritage listed sites have an obligation to conserve the history of the site. I await a response from the Minister.”
Goulburn Mulwaree Council had met several times with the owner and his consultants in the past two to three years, general manager Warwick Bennett said.
“He discussed a number of proposals but nothing has come to fruition,” he told The Post. “There was a plan of management which included housing and apartments. The council strongly supported this but we’ve heard no further word.” Development applications would have to be lodged for separate uses. Mr Bennett said vandalism was always a concern but the council was powerless to act unless it was affecting structural integrity.. ALSO READ: Council united after allegations of secrecy “We would prefer it not to occur… All we can do is keep talking to Mr Xiao. The state government probably also has no further powers than us to act and ensure the buildings’ upgrade.” The state government finalised sale of the Kenmore property to Longreach Capital Pty Ltd in 2005 for $3 million. It was declared state significant around the same time. READ MORE:
Kenmore sale ‘imminent’ ‘What’s going on?’
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