St John's Park

St John's Park in the 1840s (W.L. Crowther Library, SLT)

St John's Park is the name given to both a facility that until the mid-1990s cared for aged people, and the larger site containing a range of health and welfare services. The site was originally the location of the King's Orphan Schools, and includes St John's Anglican church.

The former Orphan Schools became a facility for aged people in the latter half of the nineteenth century. It was at this juncture known as New Town Invalid Asylum. Women from the Cascade Depot were relocated to the site in 1874, men from Cascades in 1879 and finally the men from the Brickfield Depot in North Hobart in 1882. Many of the original residents were former convicts and were destitute. In the last decade of the nineteenth century there were upwards of 550 people resident, but the number dropped to less than 300 a decade later. The number of people accommodated rose marginally from this number and was still at over 400 when the state-run facility closed in the mid-1990s. Admission to the aged facility was pejoratively known as 'going behind the clock', a reference to the dominant clock tower on St John's church.

The larger site has been used for a range of health and welfare services. In addition to the aged care service, it has also contained the public hospital women's division, a sanatorium for sufferers of tuberculosis and other infectious diseases, a facility for the treatment of poliomyelitis, a drug and alcohol treatment centre and a childcare centre.

John Hargrave