I do love all things old, decrepit, falling down, rusty and abandoned, and Larundel Mental Asylum, Bundoora, fits that bill perfectly. At its peak it housed around 750 patients, but closed down in the 1990’s when the push came to de-institutionalize those in mental wards across the country and move them into community care.
Closing around the same time was Willsmere in Kew, Sunbury Mental Asylum, Janefield (for the mentally handicapped), also in Bundoora, as well as Aradale at Ararat and Mayday Hills in Beechworth . The fact that all these buildings sat on huge lots of high value land that the state government subsequently sold to developers for millions of dollars, was probably not something they considered in the decision making.
A lot of the outbuildings at Larundel have been pulled down with just a few remaining, and what’s left is heavily vandalized. I wish I was more into urban exploring and photography back then, would have loved to have gotten in before it was trashed. Since the closure it has become a haven for urban explorers, vandals and graffiti ‘artists’.
I have visited a couple of times and made another trip back just recently with a group of fellow photographers. We met there one very, very wet sunday afternoon and spent an enjoyable couple of hours photographing the derelict hallways and rooms.
There is a rumour of a 5 yr old girl who haunts one floor (back from when it was emergency wartime housing), and the rumour goes that you sometimes hear her music box. Like all good rumours it’s probably an urban legend, but it does make you a bit cautious wandering around.