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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.
Aerial view of Willsmere with Melbourne CBD on the horizon

Willsmere (formerly Kew Asylum)

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G.W. Vivian and Frederick Kawerau 1856-1872

Description

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 civilised, 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 most intact 19th-century lunatic asylums in the world.

Experience this historic architectural marvel of Melbourne through 45-minute pre-booked tours passing through a preserved ward-turned-museum, ha-ha walls, fever tent and bluestone dungeon cells. Extensive walking and stairs are involved, mostly outdoors.

Images: (1) Aerial view of Willsmere with Melbourne CBD on the horizon. Photo: courtesy of Willsmere. (2) Rose quadrant view to one of two main towers and barracks buildings. Photo: courtesy of Willsmere. (3) Willsmere Main Entrance. Credit: Farley Webb Photography. Courtesy of Willsmere. (4) Willsmere perimeter wall. Photo: Jack Lord. Courtesy of Willsmere. (5) Preserved bluestone cells. Photo: Jack Lord. Courtesy of Willsmere. (6) Aerial view of Willsmere with Melbourne CBD on the horizon. Photo: courtesy of Willsmere.

Important Details

Time & Date

Saturday 27 + Sunday 28 July
Tours running every half hour starting at 10am. Last tour departs at 3.30pm
Running for 45 minutes in groups of 15

Bookings required—$7 booking fee applies
First release tickets: 12pm Wednesday 3 July
Second release tickets: 12pm Saturday 6 July

Access to 1 Wiltshire Drive from Yarra Boulevard. No access from Hutchinson Drive.

Photography of buildings is permitted but not of residents without their permission. Bathrooms are available during tours. Coffee and snacks will be available.

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ACCESSIBILITY

Accessible bathroom, Accessible parking nearby

The Museum and Library is inside a building, at the top of a 14 step carpeted staircase, with a landing midway and bannister. There is no functioning lift.

Location

1 Wiltshire Dr, Kew VIC 3101

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