Latest Films

This 2016 interview with John Langford AM explores John’s experiences working at Lachlan Park Hospital/Royal Derwent Hospital located in New Norfolk Tasmania from 1962 through the seventies when he set up community based support organisations in the psycho-social model, a philosophy that he had studied in the United Kingdom to support those people with mental health issues at Royal Derwent Hospital that didn’t require incarceration.

The interview goes for just over 23 minutes.

Tony Nicholson, Local Historian explains about staffing and training at Willow Court Training Centre. Recorded in the early 2000’s.


Lachlan Park Hospital circa 1950-60?. This footage shows the Barracks from the front and rear enclosed yard (demolished early 1960’s), H Ward and I Ward, the old clock tower and accommodation rooms on the west side of the hospital including the old metal fold up bed originally from Port Arthur. This is very rare footage. Black & White silent footage which was given to us at Willow Court Tasmania History Group.

This short film shows Ward 10 with its high, double fences and outer perimeter security system

This is the first release of this story since 1991, this footage has been publicly screened and all people had given permission to be filmed and broadcast.

In 1991 ABC News recorded a story about a number of ex-residents of Willow Court. It was screened on the 7.30 Report as a 9 minute story of “institutionalisation to community” and followed the stories of Neil, Don, Jean and Ian. It is believed that Jean and Ian were the first couple to be married in Willow Court despite negative pressure to their marriage. They also interview the Hon. Judy Jackson MHA who was key in the decision to de-institutianlise 300 residents with disabilities despite huge pressure from within her own political party. Where did they go? Staff and residents talk about their new life and how they felt about institutionalised care.

From 1827 New Norfolk was the home of Tasmania’s first Asylum which later became known as the Willow Court Training Centre, part of the Royal Derwent Hospital. The oldest remaining Asylum in its same location continually ran until the year 2000. “The Barracks” is the original and oldest part that can still be viewed today.

Tony tells us about the history of the buildings and daily life within the walls of the Asylum with remarkable accuracy and respect. 173 years of history in 37 minutes.

Images of the past. Royal Derwent Hospital, Wards 7,8,3,4,10 and the Chapel.

Tony Nicholson, local historian talks about the Barrel Drain that runs from Willow Court to the Derwent River. Often believed (falsely) to be a tunnel for the passage of patients.

Carla Paul talks about her time as a child patient in Royal Derwent Hospital, her escape attempts and her survival on the outside.

Carla talks to ABC Reporter, Judy Tierney about her life in Tasmania’s Royal Derwent Hospital, read the Transcript here.

Carla writes about entering Royal Derwent Hospital at the age of 13 and how she survived in an inhospitable environment and how the one kind Nurse persisted in reaching out to her. She talk about life outside of the Institution after release at the age of 19 years, how she re-adjusted and to difficulties she endured.

Carla Paul has written a book called “From Darkness into Light” this is out of print.

Willow Court Bites short film on the Willow Court Barracks Building. This was the first main structure on the site.

Willow Court Bites short film of Carlton Ward. Owned by the Derwent Valley Council and is part of the heritage precinct. Originally created to house the criminally insane and later people with an intellectual disability.

Willow Court Bites short film about Muriel Knight Park, now privately owned.

Willow Court Bites short film of Glenora Ward (Oval Ward) guided tour by Paul Mayne ex-employee and current CEO fo Langford Support Services Inc.

Asylum is an educational documentary promotional short that was created before a 30 minute documentary.

Willow Court Bites short film of Ward 7 in Royal Derwent Hospital, now demolished.

Willow Court historical Bites, “still alive” shows Willow court as a functional Hospital circa 2000