Bayview House, situated near the Cook's River, Tempe, operated as a private lunatic asylum, with the first patient admitted on 8 November 1865. (1) Formerly a private residence, which had been rearranged and enlarged by the addition of new buildings (2), the asylum was owned by Dr George Tucker and was opened as an alternative for those who considered confinement in a Government asylum "repulsive to their feelings". (3)
The Lunacy Act, 1843 provided procedures for the certification and admission of "non dangerous lunatics" to an asylum. (4) Procedures and regulations were reformed and elaborated by the Lunacy Act, 1898 (Act No 45, 1898), with the Lunacy (Amendment) Act, 1934 (Act No 39, 1934) providing specifically for the admission of voluntary patients.
In the early days of the institution private patients were not sufficiently numerous to make Bayview House self-supporting, in January 1869 accommodation was available for 40 patients, but only eight or nine were resident. Application was made to the government to transfer patients from overcrowded State hospitals, and 25 were sent. (5) In 1871 Bayview House contained 37 patients, of these 12 were private patients, the remaining 25 were State patients maintained at public expense. (6)
Dr Tucker sold Bayview House to Dr Arthur Vause in 1885. (7)
By 1888 Bayview House provided accommodation for 130 State patients, against the opposition of the Inspector General of the Insane on the grounds of economy and treatment. (8) The Royal Commissioners endorsed the removal of State patients, and the arrangement for maintenance of State patients at Bayview House ceased on 31 December 1894, with all non-private patients transferred to State institutions, the majority to Rydalmere. (9)
In 1914 Dr Vause sold Bayview House to Grace Wilson who operated the institution until its closure. (10) In 1914 Bayview House was listed as having 36 patients, with 14 of these on leave (11), and the hospital is described as a facility for persons of means to obtain privacy during mental troubles, something ordinary public institutions failed to provide. (12)
On 31 March 1946 Bayview House closed, with all certified patients still resident transferred to other hospitals. (13)
1. Bay View House, Tempe, Register of Patients and Admission Book 1865-79 (NSWSR Ref: 5/5883, p.1).
2. Tucker. G.A., Lunacy In Many Lands, Government Printer, Sydney, 1887, p.637. Bayview House was built as The Poffle, the home of Lesslie Duguid. It was later known as Rugby House, then Bayview House. It was located on Cook's River Road, now 728-808 Princes Highway, Tempe. In 1947 the site was occupied by W.D. & H.O. Wills as Caxton House. In 1959 it became Penfolds Wines' administrative offices. Richard Cashman & Chrys Meader, Marrickville, Rural Outpost to Inner City. Sydney: Hale & Iremonger, 1990, pp.90, 179; Chrys Meader, Richard Cashman, Anne Carolan, Marrickville, People and Places. Sydney: Hale & Iremonger, 1994, pp.29, 96-97.
3. Tucker, op. cit., p.1.
4. Lunacy Act, 1843 (7 Victoria Act No 14) s.11.
5. Report of the Royal Commission appointed to inquire into the Conduct and Management of the Licensed House for the Insane at Cook's River, near Sydney, known as "Bayview House", appointed 18 October 1894, in Votes and Proceedings, 1894-95, Vol. 6, p.1092.
6. Hospital for the Insane, Gladesville, Report for the year 1871, in Votes and Proceedings, 1872, Vol. 2, p.424.
7. Chrys Meader et al., op. cit., p.97.
8. Report of the Royal Commission, op. cit., p.1093.
9. Inspector General of the Insane, Report for the year 1894, in Votes and Proceedings 1894-95, Vol. 5, p. 490.
10. Chrys Meader et al., op. cit., p.97.
11. Inspector General of the Insane, Report for the year 1914, in Parliamentary Papers 1915-16, Vol. 1, p.995.
12. Ibid., p.1002.
13. Inspector General of Mental Hospitals, Report for the year ended 30 June 1946 in Parliamentary Papers 1947-48, Vol. 1, p.967.