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Memo about Willow Court School closure and funding arrangements **New June 2014**
“It seems most likely, however, that the school could be closed at the end of 1988.” One of the issues of community integration was how is this funded? This memo suggests how the school funding can be broken up as each person leaves and transferred to schools in the public domain. IT wouldn’t have been easy breaking up funding and distributing it to other service providers, but this document from 1987 tells us some ways that this was occurring.
Part of the final report that was claimed to have closed the institution, parts 1 and 2 along with the original letter to the then Minister for Health and Human Services the Hon Judy Jackson are here for your enjoyment and reading pleasure. “It would be easy to lay the blame on the nursing staff for the living conditions and standards of care of residents at Willow Court Centre. To do so however would be to oversimplify the forces at play in the working life of the nursing staff at Willow Court”. Ree Pettifer 1989
Discussions about staffing arrangements from both Management and Staff representatives around the future of the Institutional Living Program. This paper outlines some of the actions and proposals for closure of wards and opening of Group homes. Present are Willow Court Management, Health Commission Management and Unions and professional bodies representing the very different levels of the workforce at Willow Court. 4 pages.
18th May, 1988 Circular to staff of Willow Court announcing the closure of C Ward and the opening of group houses. This 4 page documents tells staff about the upcoming major change at Willow Court Training Centre. It gives a background briefing to the proposed changes and the timing for the “phased relocation of residents”. It concludes with a staffing proposal for each house. Signed by the late Jerry Von Bamberger, Superintendent/Chief Executive Officer.
This document is from (ASSID) Australian Society for the Study of Intellectual Disability which is a peak body of the Australian Disability Industry and in this documents they are encouraging the then Minister for Health Ray Groom to follow the path of other states of Australia and other counties in the process of de-institutionalisation of people living with disability at Willow Court Centre. This is the first time this document has been publicly available.
This memo records the Examiner News Papers letter to the editor by Clarrie Strochnetter, State Secretary Disabled People International (Tas) two years after the state parliament made the formal decision to start the de-institutionalisation process of Willow Court Centre. Clarrie asks what is happening after two years?
Also there is a full number count for each ward and the staffing ratios.
In recent years, a number of members of the public have written to me raising concerns about matters relating to the Royal Derwent Hospital (RDH) and
Willow Court sites. This resulted in audit work being done as it related to Willow Court and inclusion of findings in my Report No 1 of June 2010, Volume 2, Local Government Authorities 2008-09 . I had been reluctant to pursue this further but the request from the Public Accounts Committee in June 2012 persuaded me to examine matters relating to the sale of the RDH site, a process which commenced in 1998.
LIVING MEMORY AND THE INTERPRETATION OF HERITAGE Including a Willow Court Case Study
“Visitors increasingly wish to hear the voices and stories of local communities in their experiences of tourist destinations. In addition, local community values need to be
recognised as integral to the significance of heritage properties. However these aspects have been extremely difficult to represent to date.
Willow Court is a rich and complex heritage site with a diverse range of stories, reactions and opinions. These stem from the local community, the individuals
hospitalised at Willow Court, their families and friends, the workers and professionals employed throughout its history. They extend beyond the Derwent Valley to
individuals and families throughout Australia.” This article introduces the concepts of gathering stories about Willow Court through a “Story Telling Module.”
“AN AGREEMENT made the 18th day of June one thousand nine hundred and forty-one between THE HONOURABLE THOMAS HENRY DAVIES being and as the Minister for Lands and Works for the time being in the State of Tasmania (hereinafter called “the Minister”) of the one part and THE WARDEN COUNCILLORS AND ELECTORS OF THE MUNICIPALITY OF NEW NORFOLK (hereinafter called” the council”) of the other part WHEREAS for many years past the sewage from Lachlan Park Hospital” Resolve the mystery about underground tunnels at Willow Court.
“Stories about the lives of young people in Tasmania’s last mental institution 1950-2000″ A collection of stories and recollections of past Staff, Residents and Families. This is a Public document funded by National Disability Services and there fore is publicly available. Edited by Margaret Reynolds.
November, 2000, Valerie Williams is the Royal Derwent Hospital Mental Health Advocate and she reports in this 23 page document about conditions and treatments, fears and frustrations of both Staff and Patients. This was driven by a 1999 piece of legislation that determined that “Consumers and carers have the opportunity to be involved in the management and evaluation of the facility” What a radical new concept for RDH.
28 pages of beautiful history about New Norfolk’s Hospital for the Insane written by Susan who is one of Australia’s leading researchers and writer about Asylums. Susan also has a separate tab on this website; Susan Piddock
“I fell in love with asylums and l have boxes of material about WA and NSW which l haven’t had time to complete. I really wanted to understand the differences in asylums between convict and non-convict asylums”
Susan has a passion for Asylums in Australia and with her well researched work it will be interesting to see the difference between the Convict and non-convict set ups on a nationwide basis. This would explain some of Tasmania’s history in the care of the people it housed.
This 3 page insight into Allan Bester’s world gives us a glimpse of family life with an Asylum as the main employer in town, Allan was the third generation to follow into the same work and became one of Tasmania’ Leading practitioners working with People with Dementia at Adards Nursing home formally in Warrane Tasmania. His history with RDH and Willow Court helped him know and follow better practices, than had been his leaning experience. Courier Mail Oct 2006, John Wright.
Source Unknown, half a page article talking about the decline of employment within the Derwent Valley area after the closure of RDH and Willow Court. 1,000 jobs would disappear before the closure and change the face of this area economically and socially.
Description of RDH from 1 January 1827 til closure on 30 November 2000, this document also outlines the date and years that name changes took place. There are also facts about the number and sex of the patients and what happened during over crowding. 3 pages.
Same as above, but concentrated on the west side of the hospital, 8 pages of factual information from the heritage register including names and dates of construction of Wards. Design and construction type with a brief history included.
Two articles that have been printed about Willow Court Tasmania Advocacy Group and our basic mission statement. The Skills Institute of Tasmania and the PANDDA National Newsletter both have an interest in Willow Court and asked me for this article along with how we have been using the Nation Broadband Network NBN for education of support workers, including this rich local history that is sitting on our Island State of Tasmania.
The Australian Association of Gerontology opening address and Dr. A. J. Foster’ s report of elderly Patients within the Royal Derwent Hospital, based on a study, presented at the twelfth annual Conference. This document looks at the mental, physical disorders, prognosis, treatment and care of any disorder present, probable life expectancy, length of stay in the hospital, appropriateness of stay in the mental hospital, source of referral to the hospital, and family support.
Cassie O’Conner’s Inaugural Speech 2008, what does the current (2013) Minister for Community Services think about an Apology to those that lived at Willow Court?
2006 report about the Interpretation of “art and life behind the wall”. This report was incorporated into the Malcolm McDonald Report (below) it only refers to those places that the Derwent Valley Council own and manages. 37 pages including plans and market tested concepts are all included and tell what could be done with the Heritage Precinct and what type of experiences visitors like to have. A strong preference for “knowing a day in the life of a staff and patient” was the preferred outcome.
19 pages, including photos of the grounds and an audit of plants and trees located in the Willow Court Precinct, maps of plants detailed and a maintenance program for the Frescati hawthorn hedges and the oldest (believed to be) grape vine in Australia. Here as part of the audit are some privately own lands and buildings with associated gardens and trees. It has been clear that the Derwent Valley Council never followed any of this advice or Maintenance Plan. The Friends of Frescati have been restoring the gardens in the past couple of years and have been successful in obtaining a grant for a Community Garden Project.
Both these plan are complete and examine Willow Court’s visitor potential as an Arts and “Life Behind the Walls” experience. Each have costing’s and rationale and were a DVC Council/valley vision project. This has been replaced or added to by the latest plan of use below, Malcolm McDonald Report. Either of these reports spoke or suggested any night ghost hunting activities, this was only introduced by a Department of Health and Human Services representative who also is a founding member of the APIU (Australian Paranormal Investigation Unit) in 2012. These reports suggest a connection with the Cunningham-Dax Art collection Dax Centre The Cunningham Dax Collection consists of over 15,000 creative works on paper, paintings, ceramics, and textiles created by people who have experienced mental illness or psychological trauma. Suggestions of continued arts programs to be held in the restored complex once restoration is completed are recommended.
A one page history of Willow Court mainly dealing with the physical location and buildings. Author is unknown.
This is the latest plan to be commissioned by the Derwent Valley Council and takes a different path to those that preceded it. It has a different focus and leave out some of the important history of Mental Health and Disability in favour of early convict heritage to attract visitors to Willow Court. Full costing’s are included here with rationale and visitor data. Lots of information is gathered from the earlier reports and updated. It is here that we are introduced to the Ghost tours or Night tours, but we are also warned that this is already being done elsewhere. A list of people who assisted and contributed to this plan are credited on page 7, including a representative from the Department of Disability Child Youth and Family Services, we believe this person represented the population of previous Patients that were managed by the Dept. at Willow Court. The current Special Council Committee, chaired by David Llewellyn is following this conservation plan in restoring Willow Court Heritage Precinct with funds obtained from the State Government and sales from the Royal Derwent Hospital site.
This is the Tasmanian Industrial Commissions Transcript of Proceedings for a 1985 variation to the award and explores the accounts of staff who are being asked to work in a new programmatically structured model instead of the medical model that had been the norm. Each side presents their case and the extra time and resources that are being asked for and used. This gives an interesting view into cultural and workplace change and when it is managed wrongly can end up in mediation in an industrial context. There is a breakdown of beds, patients and staff numbers for 1985. Normalisation is talked about as a theory that was introduced into Glenora House. This is a must read to gather a understanding of changing attitudes and the conflict of new ideas challenging old ideas and is a great 78 page read in a historic context.
Who advocated for people at Willow Court and Royal Derwent Hospital? Here is an example of a letter written by staff to attempt to change work practices and get simple resources for Clients living in the centre. The Hospital Employee’s Federation of Australia wrote a covering letter in support of the list of changes asked by these employees. This group of employees were studying at the TAFE collage in Hobart and were requesting upgraded services and supply of basic age-appropriate equipment for Clients (new term), flexibility for Clients and Choice. This forms a strong case for Staff being Advocates along side Clients Families and Visitors to the centre.
Margaret Lyne from Launceston was known as the quiet determined teacher who has directed what has become known as “The Miracle of Lachlan Park”. Skill development in the 1960′s. The 1960′s became an important era with the rise of the parent advocate movement, prompting considerable change in the way Disability support was given. As a movement it swept the world and eventually closed Willow Court as a model and practice.
After 16 years of Teaching Margaret Lyne went on to a life of Politics in Queensland, Federal Parliament and the United Nations. Better known to Tasmanian’s as Margaret Reynolds the past CEO of National Disability Services (NDS) Tas.
This article has had the picture of the students removed for privacy reasons. The language framework should be read in the context of time.