The Soldiers’ Mental Hospital Lemnos

The Soldiers’ Mental Hospital Lemnos (in the Perth suburb of Shenton Park) was opened on 12 July 1926. It was a collaborative venture between the Commonwealth and Western Australian Governments and was designed to provide a more comfortable environment that that at the Claremont Mental Hospital where many of its patients had been. Martin O’Meara VC, Australia’s only Irish-born Victoria Cross recipient of the First World War, was a patient at Lemnos between 1926 and 1935.

The Lemnos hospital consisted of three ward blocks together with administration and kitchen/dining room blocks. The more acute cases occupied the northernmost ward (Ward A) which had beds for 23 patients. This ward was more secure than the other two, with the same newspaper report noting that:

Here, it will be possible to exercise all necessary Control and Supervision over refractory patients. All the windows are chocked in such a manner that the patient may be confined there in safety and yet the window may be kept open for a space of about six inches. There is a day room attached to this, and to all other wards. A billiard table, handsome upholstered chairs, bookcases, and a cosy fireplace are provided while the bay windows are magnificently draped and the walls plentifully decorated with pictures.

Ward A was further divided into two dormitories, one with ten beds and another with twelve beds, and three single rooms ‘for special cases’. Martin O’Meara was one of the ‘special cases’.

Here are some photographs of Ward A, taken today:

Lemnos01

Lemnos02

Martin O’Meara VC, along with twenty other patients from the Claremont Mental Hospital, was transferred to Lemnos on 20 September 1926, and remained there until December 1935 when he was transferred back to Claremont. The hospital buildings are now part of Shenton College.