Kew Cottages Protest

Discussion on Melbourne Radio highlights the "inevitable" closure of Kew Cottages. Several groups are protesting the closure based on different agendas, allowing the Government to slip through quoting "no comment".

The closure of Kew Cottages will happen unless the protesting groups amalgamate to make one LOUD collective voice.

Protesting groups
-:- Kew Cottages Coalition
-:- Kew Cottages Parents Association
-:- The Greens
-:- People against large-scale developments

About Kew Cottages

Kew Cottages, Australia's oldest and largest training institution for people with intellectual disabilities, is the home of over 460 residents at present.

Primarily administered by the State of Victoria through the Department of Human Services, Kew Cottages - or Kew Residential Services, as it is now called - is located in the Melbourne suburb of Kew in spacious parkland of 27 hectares.

Residents are housed in 19 large congregate-care buildings or Units accommodating from 25 to 45 people. Four residential buildings, known as the H-blocks, have been extensively 'refurbished', with sleeping quarters partitioned into bedrooms and linked in small flats.

The many specialised support amenities on site at Kew Cottaages include a recreation centre, hydrotherapy pool, a medical and dental centre, an assisted employment centre, a kiosk and an art centre.

The age of the majority of residents ranges from 35-45 years. Most residents have severe and/or multiple disabilities requiring high levels of care and support.

History

-:- 1887 Three cottages opened at Kew for the special education of mentally handicapped children. At the time, it was one of the best institutions of its kind in the world.
-:- 1952 More than half a century of tight funding, overcrowding, insufficient staffing and general neglect had wrought havoc. Two world wars and two depressions since 1887 had kept money away from the institution. The creation of the new Mental Hygiene Authority in -:- 1952 and the appointment of Dr E Cunningham Dax as its first Chairman set in motion a series of reforms in the following decades which improved facilities markedly.
-:- 1957 Parents' Association formed. First in any Australian institution for people with intellectual disabilities.
-:- 1975 Minus Children's Appeal led to the construction of four new facilities at Kew for recreation, art, sport and medicine. 'The Age' newspaper and prominent figures in Melbourne played an important part in arousing public interest in Kew Cottages.
-:- 1996 Nine men died in a fire at Kew Cottages on 8 April.
-:- 1997 The Coronial Inquest into the nine deaths found that the State of Victoria owed a duty of care to the nine residents and staff at Kew Residential Services and had contributed to the fire and deaths. There was no proper fire safety system in place at the time of the fire.




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