Historical information

The new Kew Lunatic Asylum was completed in 1871 and opened in 1872. The year 1972 marked it's centenary. Over the years, members of staff at the asylum collected records, photographs, publications and plans of the asylum, later hospital. The Society has a number of important collections relating to the asylum and the Children's Cottages. These include the Dr Cliff Judge, the Irena Higgins and the Dr Fred Stamp Collections. These photographs were one of a number of items donated by the family of the late Dr. Fred Stamp who was the last medical superintendent of the Hospital. Dr Frederick Stamp graduated from Bristol Medical School (UK) in 1968. He and his family emigrated to Australia in 1977 to Goulburn (NSW), moving to Melbourne in 1980. He became Superintendent at Willsmere in 1981 until its closure in 1988.


Following their closure, the medical records of the Kew Mental Hospital and the Children's Cottages Kew were relocated to the archives of Victorian Government departments and ultimately to the Public Records Office of Victoria. Other collections, such as the Fred Stamp Collection, were assembled by staff who worked at the hospital. The years leading up to the closure of Kew must have been fraught, and many of the items in the hospital were probably destined for hard waste disposal. Dr. Fred Stamp, the last medical superintendent, kept aside or rescued a number of these items, of which this is one group. Following his death, his family donated these to the Kew Historical Society. The Society recognises these items to be of lasting historical significance, essentially due to their provenance and to their rarity. Together they (and the Judge and Higgins Collections) are an invaluable aid for researchers of the institutions' histories.

Physical description

83 black & white and colour photographs of the Kew Mental Hospital, its patients, its environs, and the 1972 Centenary celebrations. A number of photographs in the envelope are duplicate copies. Some have information inscribed on the reverse. Those to be published separately are deemed to be unique and or significant. The photos form part of the Dr. Fred Stamp Collection.