Last Kenmore artefact in time for 150th b’day 

IT’S been almost two years since the last visitor wandered through the time machine that was Kenmore Hospital Museum.

Now that time is almost up.

The museum is a shell, but for some paperwork, chunks of scrap marble and that dank hospital floor smell.

The last remaining exhibit – the Kenmore Hospital timeline – was donated to Goulburn Mulwaree Council last week.

Mayor Geoff Kettle envisaged the item will be put on public display for next month’s Goulburn City 150th birthday celebrations.

“Kenmore is a significant part of Goulburn. It helped shaped our history and we need to do as much as we can to ensure visitors and resident alike know about that history,” Cr Kettle said.

“I’m sure the timeline will help facilitate that.”

Kenmore Mental Hospital was opened in 1895 and used in various forms for the provision of psychiatric services up until the early 2000s.

The historic 75-hectare site was sold in 2003 and resold in 2010.

Kenmore Hospital still exists as a 54-bed mental health facility on original grounds, just not in original wards.

It had been home to more than 1400 patients at “the peak of overcrowding” in the 1960s.

Last August councillors supported a Kenmore concept plan incorporating a university campus and a residential precinct.

A boutique hotel, sports training facilities and even a restaurant near the river were among the ideas put forward by the new owner.

But the retention of the museum wasn’t one of them.

The Friends of Kenmore Hospital’s History Inc’s secretary Leone Morgan said the Heritage Week drawcard was last open to the public in March, 2011.

Thousands of exhibits have since been distributed to various institutions, with the “pick of the collection” now in the possession of the National Museum of Australia, the Powerhouse Museum and the National Film and National Film and Sound Archive of Australia.

The collection included photographs, furniture, clothing, keys, medical instruments, machinery, farm implements, tools, plans, stationery, a dentist chair and projection equipment all exhibited in an original 19th Century ward.

“We’re down to the last 10 volunteers now,” Ms Morgan said.

A few years ago the museum had more than 100 helpers on its books, many of them former hospital staff.

Donating the timeline to Council, Ms Morgan said, should provide as many people as possible access to Kenmore’s history, even if it’s just a glimpse.

“We felt that it was appropriate because it will have a lasting impact,” she said.

“It gives people an insight into not just the history of the hospital but the Kenmore village, and our social history.”

Other Kenmore Hospital items can be found locally at St Clair, Mulwaree High School Remembrance Museum, Goulburn War Memorial; Riversdale and Taralga and Marulan Historical Societies.

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