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KEENAN FAMILY  in Australia

Gladesville Mental Hospital and its cemetery

Created 20/11/2012. Last updated: 11/6/2024

Henry John Keenan (1842 - 1889) was admitted to the Gladesville Mental Hospital on 22 September 1885.  He died there on 22 June 1889.
  This page contains some information about the hospital.  It will be expanded as relevant information comes to hand.

Initially known as the Tarban Creek Lunatic Asylum (1838-1868) the hospital was renamed Gladesville Hospital for the Insane (1868-1914) and finally Gladesville Hospital (1915-1993).

Excellent reference book:

"Gladesville Hospital Cemetery: The forgotten cemetery - the forgotten people". By Maureen Copley and Helen Patterson of the Ryde District Historical Society. 2023 edition. (Illustrated.) ISBN 978-0-6484237-4-4.

Ryde District Historical Society's Facebook site is https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100063458775721. Website is https:/www.rydehistory.org.au.

In their book the authors state:

Page 1 : "Gladesville Hospital Cemetery .... was the final resting place for many of the patients of Gladesville Hospital, once known as Tarban Creek Lunatic Asylum. There are believed to be over 1,200 burials in this cemetery, almost all lying in unmarked graves."

Page 4: "From at least 1869, each burial was in an allocated plot. A record of plot numbers has survived but, unfortunately, a comprehensive plan of plot locations has not."

Page 4: "Very few headstones were constructed above the burial plots .... Many remains were not claimed by their relatives or friends because they lived a great distance from the hospital or were unable to afford the burial costs."

Extracts from reference book:

Extract 1 - List of deaths and burials at Gladesville Hospital Cemetery 1869 -1893. Page 54.

List of deaths and burials

PJK Notes: The "Grave No." is the allocated plot, but a comprehensive plan of plot locations has not been located. The precise location of Henry John Keenan's grave is not known. Under "religion", P means Protestant section and C means Catholic. The registration number for Henry John Keenan in the hospital's Register of Patients and Admission Book is 5832.


Extract 2 - Gladesville Hospital Cemetary Plan 2011. Page 6.

Map of Gladesville Hospital showing location of cemetery.  Published by the Hunter's Hill Council, 2019

Gladesville parking plan 2019

The Gladesville Hospital area has been described as: "About 20ha, bounded by the Parramatta River on the south, ... Punt Road on the west, ... Victoria Road on the north-east and thereafter follows Crown Street, the road to the medical officer's houses and the old stone wall to the shore."

The road through the cemetery (which is now a pathway with no cars permitted) is called Cypress Grove. An entry in the State Heritage Register in 2005 described it as:  “Grove of cypresses on a level lawn between the old asylum wall on the west and Victoria Road on the east. At northern end is the monument to Frederick Norton Manning .... This Precinct is the area of the former cemetery, established during Phase I; dedicated 1846. The cemetery seems to have been used through Phase II. By Phase III, the cemetery appear to have been disused, and the cypress pines planted. Circa 1930s a grass tennis court had been established in the south-east corner. The enclosing stone walls (constructed 1865) were removed during the 1940s and 1950s. The road through the cemetery, which seems in part to follow the central axis of the cemetery, was probably developed in the form seen today with the development of Precinct 32, c1960s."  See https://apps.environment.nsw.gov.au/dpcheritageapp/ViewHeritageItemDetails.aspx?ID=3540340

The entrance to the hospital that is closest to the cemetery is Norton Manning Drive (off Victoria Road). At the other end of the cemetery is Crown Close.

Links to internet material on the Gladesville Hospital. From Google search 21/5/2024


State Heritage Register nomination form - author, Colleen Morris, 7 March 2018

Life Out & About - Historic Gladesville Hospital - by Robyn Kennedy (Sept 2020?)

Inspector-General's report 18 May 1880-The Gladesville Hospital for the Insane (Trove)

Report by Superintendent Frances Campbell, July 1867. Published in the Sydney Morning Herald. Title: "Hospital for the Insane, Gladesville"  (Trove)

Friends of Gladesville Hospital (Facebook)

Video "Walking Tour/ Vlog of Gladesville Mental Hospital aka Tarban Creek Lunatic Asylum" by Vanessa Bland (2019)

OTHERS (Some of many):

https://greenbook.huntershilltrust.org.au/houses/victoria-road/ https://ehive.com/collections/5547/society-for-preservation-of-the-artifacts-of-surgery-medicine https://rs.locationshub.com/Home/LocationDetail?rsLocationId=073-10153980 https://au.gladesvillecommunity.com/2019/11/17/gladesville-hospital-ceremony-10-december-2019/
https://huntershilltrust.org.au/archive/gladesville-hospital/ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gladesville_Mental_Hospital https://www.nswmentalhealthcommission.com.au/advocacy-work/gladesville-hospital-cemetery-memorial https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/about/history/Publications/h-asylums.pdf
https://www.ahpi.esrc.unimelb.edu.au/biogs/E000421b.htm https://huntershilltrust.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Gladesville-Hospital-Conservation-Plan-1994.pdf https://huntershilltrust.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Gladesville-Hospital-site-plan.jpg https://greenbook.huntershilltrust.org.au/houses/victoria-road/



Cricket Match at Gladesville Mental Hospital in 1870s
(source: www.about.nsw.gov.au )

View of Gladestone Hospital circa 1883


Map Showing Gladesville (Suburb of Sydney)