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PRIVATELY EMBOSSED ENVELOPE from LAUNCESTON to SYDNEY REDIRECTED to KENMORE ASYLUM, GOULBURN N.S.W.

Private issues embossed to order exist in great variety on Tasmanian envelopes with different shades, sizes and papers. This fairly ordinary envelope has from left to right an orange ½d Tasmanian stamp, an embossed red 1d and an embossed red ½d stamp cancelled with two duplex postmarks of LAUNCESTON/ K/ AU 20/ 96. It is addressed to a Mr. Parry of Sydney with a redirect to Kenmore Asylum, Goulburn (Figure 1).

The reverse has an initial arrival postmark at SYDNEY/ AU 22/1 PM/ 96/ 19 and a final reception at GOULBURN/ AU 24/ 330 PM/ 96/ N.S.W. This cancel is derived from a duplex postmark with the N.S.W obliterator removed, Type D3 (ii) 1891-1908 (Figure 2).

The difference in the design for the ½d and 1d embossed stamps is not so evident in Figure 1, but it is more apparent in Figure 3.

This cover serves as an entry into Kenmore asylum Goulburn and other similar institutions. In 1811 the NSW government established what was known as a 'lunatic asylum' in Castle Hill for the care and treatment of the mentally ill. The facility moved to Liverpool in 1825. The first purpose built institution for the mentally ill was opened at Tarban Creek (Gladesville) in 1838. After 1838 and until 1876 the government managed several mental health care establishments in an unregulated manner. In 1876 an Inspector of Mental Hospitals was appointed to coordinate and regulate the conduct of the hospitals.

A Master In Lunacy was appointed in 1879 as an officer of the Supreme Court to determine whether persons were mentally ill and to make arrangements for the care of the mentally ill and their affairs. From 1811 up to the latter part of the 20th century, institutional care in specialised hospitals was the primary means of service delivery. From the 1970s onwards, this progressively gave way to a focus on community-based care, and greater use of psychiatric units in general hospitals.

On 31 July 1894 the buildings on the Kenmore Estate, Goulburn, were appointed a Hospital for the Insane, on a site purchased for the purpose in 1879. By the end of 1894 temporary accommodation for 140 patients was ready, with hospital wards to be completed. Personnel were appointed to positions at Kenmore Hospital on 1 January 1895. Upon opening, 152 patients from other hospitals were transferred to Kenmore, with 146 male patients resident in the Hospital at the end of 1895. Although some wards were already occupied, it was anticipated that the hospital would be completed by June 1897, to provide services to the southern region of the State, and by the end of 1897 the hospital had 307 patients.

Design of the buildings and initial layout of the grounds was by the Colonial Architect, Walter Liberty Vernon under the instruction and close supervision of Dr. Frederick Norton Manning, Inspector General of the Insane. The first Medical Superintendent was Dr. Chisholm Ross. All major construction was completed by 1900.

During World War II the facilities at Kenmore Hospital were made available for the psychiatric treatment of military personnel, with the Hospital under the control of the Commonwealth Government, Dept of the Army, during 1941-45. During this period it was known as the 114th Australian General Hospital. In June 1962 Kenmore Hospital had 1,107 patients resident, and operated as the acute psychiatric admission centre for the southern region, with services also provided to inebriate patients.

An unusual story as the result of a redirected cover, and I have no evidence that Mr. Parry of Sydney was ever a patient.

 


 
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