Larundel Mental Asylum, in Bundoora, Vic (Australia) was first thought of in 1938 as a new facility to replace Kew Mental Hospital. However, WWII postponed this development with the site being handed over to the Housing Department as emergency accommodation for war related needs. It wasn’t until 1953 that it was officially declared a facility and hospital for the mentally ill.
In the 1990s, Larundel was closed after a political decision to attempt the reintegration of mentally ill into society, rather than lock them away for the terms of their lives. From this day on, the site has fallen into a complete state of abandon and decay. Since it’s closure, Larundel has become an unmarked tourist attraction to urban explorers, photographers and people like myself, who are both.
There are several buildings occupying the site, surrounded by suburban Melbourne homes that look out over the architectural graveyard. There is a sense of danger and dare that comes over an urban explorer, when entering a place like this.
The interior has become a gallery to several street artists, taggers and vandals alike. Amazingly haunting banners of street art cover many of the walls, along with messages, carefully chosen to send a chill up the spine of all who read them.
Some of the buildings have boarded up windows, allowing slivers of light to enter into otherwise dark rooms. What council workers intended as a way to keep people out, has resulted in creating atmospheric, creepy and extremely photogenic interiors.
Sounds can be heard all through the buildings interiors. Creaking walls and floors, the sounds of glass under shoe and the occasional loud bang of an unhinged door in the wind. Things nightmares and horror movies are made of.
There are many documented tales of hauntings and ghostly sightings within Larundel. One mentions a little girl who died and now haunts with a music box that can be heard in one of the buildings.. we heard no such music nor did we see any apparitions on our visit, but were scared out of our wits by sounds coming from the other side of the building.. which turned out to be another group of explorers.. thankfully.
Larundel is a photographic and urban exploration dream come true. The sense of abandonment and decay within the buildings is strong and there is a definite haunting sense to the place.
As much as a night visit would be great for photos, I don’t think I need to rush back there in a hurry 🙂
For more images, see here