Kew Cottages

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Kew Cottages circa 1900. Photo by Nicholas Caire
Australian Asylums
Kew Cottages (Kew Idiots Asylum)
Location: Kew, Victoria
Status: Redeveloped
Classification: Idiot/Imbecile Asylum
Opened: 1887
Closed: 2008
Medical terms in this article are in the context of what was legally correct usage for that period where they appear in the text. Therefore "feeble-minded", "idiot", "imbecile", "lunatic", etc., should not be taken at their modern significance.

Kew Cottages aka Kew Idiot Asylum, Kew Idiot Ward, Kew Children's Cottages and finally as Kew Residential Services is a decommissioned special development school and residential service located in Kew, an eastern suburb of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

The Children's Cottages at Kew were first opened in 1887 as the "Idiot Ward" of Kew Asylum. Located on the asylum's grounds, the children's cottages were established to provide separate accommodation for child inmates who had previously been housed with adult patients. Although the Cottages only admitted children as patients, many of those children remained in residence at the Cottages as adults.

The function of the institution was to provide accommodation and educational instruction for intellectually disabled children. Some Wards of the State and other various "difficult" children were also admitted.

Shortly after opening, the Idiot Ward began functioning separately from the Kew Lunatic Asylum, and became known as the Kew Idiot Asylum from 1887 until c.1929. From 1929 they have been known as the "Children's Cottages, Kew" or alternatively "Kew Cottages Training Centre".[1]

The institution was finally closed in July 2008,[2] after the grounds were redeveloped from 2001 to October 2006.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Public Records Office of Victoria Agency VA 2852 Accessed 19/9/08.
  2. ^ Maher, Cassie (2008-09-02). "Book reveals Kew's secrets". Fairfax Community Newspapers. Archived from the original on 2008-09-17. Retrieved 2008-10-23.
  3. ^ Maher, Cassie (2008-09-16). "Calls for ombudsman to investigate sale of Kew Cottages". Fairfax Community Newspapers. Archived from the original on 2008-09-17. Retrieved 2008-10-23.

Further reading[edit]

  • Manning, Corinne (August 2008). Bye Bye Charlie: Stories from the Vanishing World of Kew Cottages. UNSW Press. ISBN 978-1-921410-10-9.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 37°47′50.67″S 145°1′35.96″E / 37.7974083°S 145.0266556°E / -37.7974083; 145.0266556