Aerial view of Willsmere with Melbourne CBD on the horizon
Rose quadrant view to one of two main towers and barracks buildings
Willsmere Main Entrance
Willsmere perimeter wall
Preserved bluestone cells.


G.W. Vivian and Frederick Kawerau 1856-1872


Willsmere is a historic, architectural marvel of Melbourne. The former Kew Lunatic Asylum opened in 1872 and closed in 1988. The Italianate and Second Empire buildings were intended to portray Melbourne as a civilized, benevolent city. These were converted in the early '90s to private residences, but retain their heritage listing.

What's On

Willsmere illustrates the evolution of mental health treatment and is one of the rarest, mostly intact 19th-century lunatic asylums in the world. Experience this historic, architectural marvel of Melbourne through 45-minute pre-booked tours that take you through a preserved ward/museum, “ha-ha” walls, fever tents, and bluestone “dungeon” cells. Extensive walking and stairs are involved, much of which is outdoors.

Important Details

Time & Date

Saturday 29 + Sunday 30 July
Tours running every half hour starting at 10am. Last tour departs at 3.30pm
Running for 45 minutes in groups of 16 people
Bookings required
First release tickets: Thursday 6 July, 12pm
Second release tickets: Saturday 8 July, 10am

Meet at the main entrance.
Allow ample time to arrive by car only via Yarra Boulevard onto Wiltshire Drive – do not use Hutchinson Drive.


Accessible parking nearby


All Ages


1 Wiltshire Dr, Kew VIC 3101

Stay in the loop