Author Topic: Callan Park Free Tours  (Read 6464 times)

Offline chaney

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Callan Park Free Tours
« on: August 24, 2006, 10:02:52 PM »
Hi All,

I saw this in the Sydney Sun Hearld and thought some might find this interesting.  I believe some think Callan Park at Rozelle is haunted.  

"The Friends of Callan Park have free tours planned for Sunday August 27 and Sunday September 24 2006.  Phone 0408 643 786 or 0413 733 218 for more details."

Here's just a little about the site.

"Callan Park was initially a combination of purchases by Crown Solicitor and Police Magistrate John Ryan Brenan. In 1839 he bought what he then named the Garry Owen estate.

His residence, Garry Owen House, built about then and possibly designed by Colonial Architect Mortimer Lewis, was on an elevation overlooking the Parramatta River, with a tree lined avenue (part of which survives) from wrought iron gates on Balmain Road through spacious gardens. In 1841, Brenan bought an additional three acres west of his estate and built Broughton House, which he sold with its extensive grounds in 1845.

For many years, Garry Owen was a focus for social life in the area until Brenan's bankruptcy in 1864 forced him to sell the estate to Sydney businessman John Gordon. Gordon renamed the property Callan Park and planned to subdivide for residential housing.

Instead the Colonial Government bought the whole 104.5 acres as a site for a new lunatic asylum.  Twenty neo-classical buildings were built and completed in 1885 and subsequently named the Kirkbride Block.  

The dramatic sandstone asylum on the hill may have been built for 666 patients, but the omens were good for those committed there.  The facilities followed the Kirkbride Plan, a theory of “moral treatment” named after US psychologist Thomas Kirkbride, in which the mentally ill were housed in comfortable, elegant buildings and given access to large grounds in which to exercise, work and enjoy nature.  

The Callan Park grounds were designed by the then director of the Sydney Botanic Gardens, Charles Moore.  Callan Park is half the size of Centennial Park and twice as beautiful, its fans say.  There are groves of bamboo, moss-covered bridges over streams, a patch of rainforest and even a couple of beaches.  

On the 3rd of September, 1976, Callan Park and Broughton Hall Psychiatric Clinic were amalgamated by the New South Wales Government to be officially called The Rozelle Hospital.

The Kirkbride complex continued to be used for patients until 1994 when the last remaining services were transferred to Broughton Hall (southern) end of the site.  Today, the NSW Writers Centre and Sydney College of Arts are based in the park and are restoring the main sandstone complex, while elsewhere in the park historic buildings are covered in graffiti, have windows smashed or are burnt out."
I've been looking in the mirror for so long.
That I've come to believe my souls on the other side.


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