Sunshine Hospital history in brief
Circa 1920s, the hospital was established by two nursing sisters in a weatherboard building at 9 King Edward Avenue, Albion. It was initially known as St Andrews.
In 1946, it was named the Sunshine and District Community Hospital. In 1986, Sunshine and District Hospital amalgamated with Western General Hospital to form Maribyrnong Medical Centre.
In 1989, the hospital at King Edward Avenue closed and the buildings were demolished. The Sunshine Hospital in Furlong Road, St Albans, opened and the Maribyrnong Medical Centre was renamed as Western Hospital. During the 1970sThe Footscray Psychiatric Hospital was established on a site adjacent to the Western General Hospital at 160 Gordon Street, Footscray.
In 1995, the minister announced that the Footscray Psychiatric Hospital would be redeveloped, and the services transferred to two new 25-bed wards at Sunshine and Werribee, which were due to open before the end of 1996.
In 1996 Western Hospital became part of Western Health Care Network and in 1997 further expansion created the North Western Health Care Network. In 2000 the network was reduced and Western, Sunshine and Williamstown hospitals formed Western Health.
Collections also include some records from Footscray Hospital.
Warning about distressing information
This guide contains information that some people may find distressing. If you experienced abuse as a child or young person in an institution mentioned in this guide, it may be a difficult reading experience. Guides may also contain references to previous views, policies and practices that are regrettable and do not reflect the current views, policies or practices of the department or the State of Victoria. If you find this content distressing, please consult with a support person either from the Department of Health and Human Services or another agency.
Please note that this administrative history is provided for general information only and does not purport to be comprehensive. The department does not guarantee the accuracy of this administrative history. For more information on the history of child welfare in Australia, see Find & Connect
PLEASE NOTE: Patients could be admitted to a Receiving House for short-term treatment and care, but were not permitted to remain longer than two months.
Patients still needing treatment after two months could be sent to a Psychiatric Hospital, in the same institution/complex or another. Hence, there could be more than one set of records for any one person. Please check each location for former patient records.
List of records held by the department
For information relating to the central management of care leavers and wards of state, please consult the guide to Central department wardship and out-of-home care records. These collections date back to the 1860s and include ward registers, index cards and ward files.
Patient histories, psychiatric patients (Footscray Psychiatric Hospital and Sunshine Hospital) (c.1949 – 2004)
Content: Case history files for psychiatric patients. They are described in archival documentation as originating at Sunshine Psychiatric Hospital but it is not clear whether the files relate to in-patients, out-patients or both.
The files are identified by the patients’ names and by a unique unit record (UR) number. They most likely were originally arranged in UR number order by the last two digits of the number but there are many files that are not in any apparent order.
The recorded date range of some files indicates that they relate to patient contact prior to the establishment of the psychiatric ward at Sunshine Hospital in c.1996. It is probable that the files document patient histories commenced at Footscray Hospital and possibly at other mental health institutions.
Policy and administrative files, psychiatric services (Footscray Psychiatric Hospital and Sunshine Hospital) (c.1975–99)
Content: These files are attributed in archival documentation to both the Footscray and Sunshine psychiatric services. The files are identified by subject and some are numbered in one of several different numbering systems.
Files that deal with administrative matters are minimal and are mostly related to committees, memoranda and other matters that would be common to all government mental health institutions. There appears to be a quantity of reference material as well as documentation of the psychiatric services’ professional associations and relationships. There are a few patient histories within the body of files.