Lara Inebriate Retreat

Public Record Office Victoria
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Full description

Establishment and Services

The Lara Inebriate Institution was established by an Order-in-Council on 21 June 1907 in accordance with the provisions of the Inebriates Act 1904 (No.1940). The Order was published in the Victoria Government Gazette on 26 June 1907. It was established as "a place for the reception, control and treatment of inebriates".

An inebriate was defined by the Inebriates Act 1904 (No.1940) as a person who habitually used alcoholic liquors or intoxicating or narcotic drugs to excess.

An inebriate could be admitted to an inebriate institution on application to a Judge, the Master in Lunacy or Police Magistrate by one of the following persons:

an inebriate or any person authorised in writing (while the inebriate is sober and fully understanding) to act on their behalf,
husband or wife, parent, brother, sister, son or daughter of full age, or business partner,
member of police force acting on request in writing of a legally qualified medical practitioner or on request in writing of a relative.

Patients could be admitted to an institution for a period not exceeding twelve months.

Lara was situated 34 miles from Melbourne on the Geelong rail line. The building was originally a mansion set in 640 acres.

Lara housed both compulsory and voluntary patients. It was visited twice weekly by Government Medical Officer.

A farm was located on site to provide food for the retreat and work for the patients. Crops grown on site, including grains, and other produce such as wool and meat were sold to the Lunacy Department. Patients carried out work such as farming, clearing the land, painting, cutting firewood, vegetable and flower cultivation, making picture frames, egg farming, dairy farming and general house keeping.

Lara was closed on 10 September 1937 when the Order-in-Council establishing the institution was revoked.

For more information regarding the administration and development of the care and control of alcoholics see Health and Welfare Agencies (VRG 8).


Inebriates Act 1904 (No.1940).

Location of Records

Some records are held. See below.

Data time period: [1907 TO 1937]

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