I did a bit of research a while back regarding this place, and posted on the "Defunct places of Adelaide" thread.
http://www.sensational-adelaide.com/for ... =30#p70164
DM8 wrote:This building was known as the "West Block". Originally, it was part of the "Home for Incurables", which started back in 1878, founded by a Mrs Julia Farr as an 8 roomed wooden house on the current 9 acre site at Fullarton. There are a few sketchy details of events between 1878 and 1978, but apparently someone has written a book covering the history of the "Home for Incurables" over that 100 year period. From what I've seen, there were buildings at the Fullarton premises, and also at Glenside.
The "West Block" commenced construction in 1964, completed in 1967 with 204 beds. In 1977, the new "East Block" (which is the 9 storey building still in use on the site, with 416 beds) was opened, and patients were transferred out of the West Block and in to the East Block by 1978. Once everyone was out, the West Block was refurbished, but remained largely vacant. As at December 1983, the only services still running in the building were:
- Medical treatment facilities,
- Dental facilities,
- Optical facilities,
- A sewing room, and
- Sir James Irwin Hall
which I think were mostly (if not all) on the ground floor. Sir James Irwin Hall (which was built as an addition to the West Block), was constructed as a result of fundraising by the Rotary Club, and is essentially a theatre with projection facilities. Blogs I've found suggest that a fella used to run movie nights each Saturday, with people crammed in to the hall to enjoy the films - they were fun filled evenings that all of the residents/inpatients always looked forward to.
I can't find when the above services moved out of the West Block, nor when exactly it was sold. In 1981, the "Home for Incurables" was renamed the "Julia Farr Centre" (in honour of Julia Farr, but probably political corectness also). Info I've found suggests that the building was sold to "Living Choice" somewhere between 5-10 years ago - this is a property group that do retirement villages (mostly interstate). The building has basically been derelict since it was sold. The Julia Farr Centre actually no longer exists - it was merged in to Disability SA back in 2006. For the rest of the buildings on the Fullarton grounds, the South West block, which I think was a nurses home, has been sold and is now student housing (conveniently, it's right next to Concordia College). The big 9-storey building is, I think, a day surgery, however Disability SA run some operations from here also.
In short, there appears to be no reason why the West Block was closed, other than perhaps the need for a larger facility. A report in 1983 analysed options for reopening of the West Block, but none came to fruition. The building was only in full operation for just over 10 years, refurbished after that, then closed (no surprise that the public saw this as a waste of a perfectly good building). ... Apparently, there was asbestos in the building, but of the "safer type", which meant that it had no impact on the ability to continue using the building as normal. So asbestos wasn't an issue either. However, as a requirement of the sale of the building by Julia Farr, all known asbestos was removed.
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