Restful solace for the wounded soul
Sitting imposingly on the shores of Parramatta River is Rivendell. Often thought by Sydney locals to be a private residence, this has always been known as a hospital. Over time it has grown from a specialsed home for war veterans to become a key component for the care of mentally ill young persons across New South Wales.
The building was made of brick and sandstone with elaborate carvings, marble fireplaces and fine masonry and was officially opened on 21st September 1893 as a free convalescent hospital. Patients were referred by many Sydney Hospitals including St Vincent’s, Royal Prince Alfred and Sydney Hospitals. In the first year of operation, 608 patients were admitted. The poet Henry Lawson was at one time a patient and penned a poem entitled “The Unknown Patient” published in The Bulletin. Over 70,000 patients convalesced at the hospital, including servicemen from the 1914-18 and 1939-45 World Wars.
Until 1979, the hospital was administered by the Perpetual Trustee Company but funds were dwindling and provision of a free convalescent hospital was no longer feasible. The hospital was transferred to the NSW Health Department and now houses the Rivendell Adolescent Unit including Rivendell School. In 1999, the buildings underwent extensive restoration.
IMAGE CREDIT: Donovan Callaghan