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The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Wellington Provincial District]

The Mount View Lunatic Asylum

The Mount View Lunatic Asylum is situated in South Wellington, on a splendid site one hundred and thirteen acres in extent, from which a capital view of the City and surrounding districts is obtainable. The original asylum for Wellington was established in the early fifties at Karori, having accommodation for a limited number of patients. The first person to be admitted entered the institution in 1854, and it was four years before a second patient was presented. It is worthy of note that these two men are both alive, and are still inmates of the Asylum, one of them still doing the greater portion of the carting required in connection with this very necessary institution. The old establishment at Karori served the purposes intenedd until about the year 1875, when the central portion of the present asylum was opened. The accommodation originally available at Mount View was for one hundred patients. The institution was, however, soon filled, and it became necessary for further buildings to be erected. The central portion, a handsome two-story wooden structure was enlarged about the year 1880 by the erection of two wings of wood and iron, which doubled the capacity of the asylum. About five years later two additional wards were built, providing for fifteen females and thirty male patients. In the present year the demand for extra rooms being still great, the male wards were increased by the addition of space for thirty patients, and the refractory ward, which afforded room for sixteen, has been enlarged so as to take in twenty-six persons. Two hundred and seventy persons in all can now be comfortably accommodated at Mount View Asylum, the proportion being one hundred females to one hundred and seventy males. Notwithstanding the greatly increased capacity of the institution it has not kept pace with the rapid increase of population. On the average the admission to the asylum numbers from 110 to 120 per annum, and as the establishment will not hold the number of persons committed, they have to be drafted off to other asylums. No less than two hundred have been so transferred from Mount View, chiefly to the Porirua Asylum. It is very satisfactory to record that the number of recoveries average about forty per cent, of the number admitted. The total staff of the Mount View Asylum, including medical superintendents, is thirty-six, being twenty-two males and fourteen females. The medical man in charge of this fine establishment resides in a comfortable two-story house on the grounds.

The Asylum.

The Asylum.