|Many wards at the former Royal Derwent Hospital have been lost by fire over the past couple of years or through demolition for site redevelopment. The photo of the ward above was demolished soon after this photo was taken.|
The wards that now remain from the mid 20th Century precinct are wards 10 and 12. Ward 10 is privately owned, whilst ward 12 is due to be demolished any-time. They are now the only remaining examples of wards that highlight this period of the hospital's history.
The massive complex that was the Royal Derwent Hospital (1830-2001) was the longest running institution in Australia and pre-dates Port Arthur, with buildings spanning from 1830 through to the 1970s. Georgian, Federation, Art Deco and Modernist buildings all existed on the site when it was sold off, but sadly mismanagement and neglect of the complex has seen many buildings vandalised, demolished or destroyed by fire.
The 1950s designed western precinct of the former Royal Derwent Hospital highlighted a major shift in providing healthcare for for people with mental illness with it's open-plan layout.
Without the appropriate protection of Modernist buildings at the Royal Derwent Hospital, the diversity and linkage of architectural styles have been lost forever. Tasmania's 19th Century architecture is rightly admired and protected, but there is much catching up to do when it comes to our mid 20th Century architectural heritage.
To view my photographic project of the former Royal Derwent Hospital click here and view a video of Ward 1 on fire and its demolition click here