Interesting places: Wooroloo Sanitorium

A sanitorium was built to manage people suffering from tuberculosis in Western Australia in the early 1900’s. Treatment of TB was focused on fresh air and sunshine. The site at Wooroloo was chosen because of the beauty of the countryside and elevation of the site. Patients with leprosy were also isolated at Wooroloo.

Wooroloo is located 60km north east of Perth and 26km north east of Mundaring. The State Library of Western Australia (SLWA) has several images of staff and buildings at Wooroloo Sanitorium, many taken by photographer L.E. Shapcott. The sanitorium opened 8 October 1914.

You can listen to a oral history recorded by a patient with TB, or read Kissing can be Dangerous by Criena Fitzgerald if you go to the State Library in Northbridge.

According to Heritage Council of WA, its use was changed to a medium security prison in June 1970.

Lee-Anne Atkinson has created a site “The Gardens – Family History” with some images of headstones at the cemetery at Wooroloo.

The website Billion Graves has some images of headstones at Wooroloo cemetery online.                            Go to BillionGraves
Opening of Wooroloo Sanatorium, 1914

Image 000611D shows a crowd at the opening ceremony in 1914.

Wooroloo Sanatorium, 1914Image 000608D shows some of the buildings used by patients.

55 thoughts on “Interesting places: Wooroloo Sanitorium

  1. Dear sir,
    John william Webster died on the 16 Dec 11936 from bronchiactisis and toxemia
    However, family folklore has it that he also had a wound from a saw mill accident. Can you give me any details??
    Bronwen (nee Webster)

  2. I am the grand-daughter of Hilda Wilkinson(Webster)and great-great neice of Ethel Winterbotham. I have a newspaper cutting reporting the death of a Bill Webster who died as a result of a tree felling accident. Please get in touch.

  3. I have just found out that my father had a half brother suffering from TB of the spine who died aged 16 at the Wooroloo Sanatarium. Our whole family knew nothing of this lad, not even his name.
    I would like to have a family member go and photograph the sanatorium cemetery and hopefully William Thomas Meakins grave. Is there a way I can get permission to have this done?
    nan Bailey

    • i have family that are buried at Wooraloo cemetery and to the best of my knowledge any one can go and visit. The graves have number markers, so hopefully you should have some luck with what you are looking for.

      • The cemetery is open to view freely, however, graves are hard to locate if they are older ones. There is a sign at the front that gives you the location of the different denominations.

        My Great Great Grandfather is there and I found his grave after about an hour of looking. His grave marker is buried below the dirt line.

    • Hello your relative William Thomas meakins is buried in the Roman Catholic west section graves 1-416. Grave no 111. I have a location map and a copy of this information is you wish me to email to you. Page 18 of 22. kind regards Michelle

      • Hello Michelle, Thank you for your offer, I appreciate that. Yes please I would love a site map and the information as it will complete my data on William Thomas Meakins. Can you email it to aus.bailey@gmail.com
        Many thanks,
        Nan Bailey

  4. I am the grandson of William Oxnam who, I think, was buried in the grounds of the Woooroloo Sanatorium. Is there any way of tracing his records at the sanatorium.

    • The State Records Office (www.sro.wa.gov.au) has some admission and discharge registers and patient record books for Wooroloo Sanitorium.

    • It seems William Oxnam was buried at Wooroloo Cemetery, but his medical records are closed until 100 years after death. This cemetery contains burials from 1915 – 1925.
      His Death Certificate may provide further information. WA BDM : #183/1923, William Oxnam, Registered at Northam.

      • Hello. I found a William oxfam in a list of people buried at wooroloo. William oxfam non-conformist section 1-341 grave 113. I have a layout of the cemetery if you wish to send your email address to me. Kind regards michelle

  5. I am searching for two family members who family history says died of TB at Wooroloo Sanitarium probably in the early 1940’s. Would they have been buried at Wooroloo Cemetary and does it still exist? Are there any on line records I can tap into as I live in Darwin NT. Their names are:

    Ethel Millicent Mann [nee Cooper] b in WA about 1910 -1920

    May Cooper [nee Osborne] b either in WA or NSW

    with thanks Margaret Cooper

    • Margaret Cooper:
      Ethel Millicent Mann, late of North Perth, died 1 March 1940, aged 33. She was cremated, and is memorialised at Karrakatta Cemetery.
      May Cooper, late of Busselton, died 23/10/1940, aged 54, and was buried at Karrakatta Cemetery. Their Death Certificates from the Registrar of BDMs would give further information.

  6. My uncle’s grandfather Giuseppe Bautista novaglia died in wooroloo in 1927/1928 from TB but there is no records in the cemetery lists or patient records of the santitorium held by SRO Perth.

    Any suggestions on where I could look next?

  7. I have several photos of staff and patients taken at the Sanitorium, as my parents were nurses there during the 1950’s. There was also alot of full blood Aboriginal patients there too.

    • Hi Regina.. My parents and my in laws are all originally from wooroloo. I have 9 sisters and they all worked at the hospital either as nurses or in the catering from 1946 until it closed in 1970. I have a great page on facebook that has many photos of the hospital and the residents ..I would love you to share some of your photos .It was a beautiful place with so many happy memories…Kind regards Patricia Gaden

    • Hi Regina, I am looking for info or photos of my Aunt and Uncle..He was a carpenter there and not sure what his wife did..possibly nursing….John and Emma Quayle….between 1947 and 1954..they lived in flat 4…..

    • Hi, could you help me. My Grandfather John William Webster died of bronchiactisis and toxemia at Wolooroo Sanatorium in Dec 1936.
      He had previously been a WW1 soldier in UK
      I have never seen a photo at all of my Grandfather.
      My dad (his son) William Henry Webster – died here in NSW in a farming accident when I was little.
      Is there any possibility I could at last see a photo of my Grandfather.
      Regards,
      Bronwen (nee Webster)

  8. Thanks Regina. Do you know where I can continue to track down my uncles grandfather guiseppe (joe) novaglia who died at wooroloo in 1927/1928 of tb as shown on papers from the naa on a naturalisation document for his wife Adelaide novaglia. I have come to a end and just wanted to know if there is somewhere else to look? Many thanks Michelle

  9. I am researching libraries in early 20th century Australia and ahve found that the Wooroloo Sanatorium had a library for the patients. The “Honorary Secretary” filled out a survey giving library details but I can not make out his name clearly. His handwriting is terrible. He was the secretary of the Progress and Patimes Club which ran the library for residents. His correspondence dates from 1934. Would anyone know his name?

  10. Pingback: Duncan and Barbara Beaton | Bits from the Archives

    • i worked there a few years ago and have been collecting heaps of stories and history about the place. Yes the place is definately haunted and my stories have come from all different (reliable) sources. There’s the Tea Lady, the Orderly, the Social Club partron, Aboriginal spirits, the Admin Building presence etc just to name a few. More stories welcome.

      • Hi Ruth
        Your comment is most interesting and I’d love to know more!
        Would you be interested in submitting a proposal ( to government), for an information post for visitors at Wooraloo Prison to discribe the sense of appreciation for its past connections with healing in wide open spaces to reculture our generations so Wooraloo Prison Farm represents a place to heal and reflect past healing in wide open spaces. Due to my connection with past my great grandfathers time spent in the sanatorium and his continued life from its healing spaces and my partners rehabilitation which is about to end, it would bring me such joy representing Wooraloo as it rightly deserves. A place where recovery is possible. From past to present.
        Cassandra

  11. I have a granduncle, John Boyle, who is buried in the Wooroloo Sanatorium Cemetery.He was a Scottish engineer in the British Army and posted to Calcutta where I presume he got Tuberculosis. Went to Wooroloo in Nov 1916 and died of Pulmonary Tuberculosis in May 1917.He is buried in the Non conformist (presumably he was Scottish Presbyterian) section of the Cemetery in Grave No. 13.
    Is anyone living nearby and able to send me a photo of his gravesite?
    Thanks

    • Hello Michael,
      I checked with the Shire of Mundaring and they state that there is no burial for John Boyle but a Robert Boyle b 1884 buried 24 May 1917 aged 33yrs NC 13 (non conformist) – there is no headstone just a mound of dirt with the number on it so not a good photo oportunity. Could his name be John Robert or Robert John?
      I checked on Trove and there is an article on the death of Robert Boyle in the West Australian 24 May 1917 Personal – it mentions him being an engineer to an Indian company. Came to WA for his health but died here. Think this might be the person you are looking for.
      Kind Regards Sue

      • Thanks Sue. This is ‘my’ Robert Boyle. I incorrectly gave his forename as John – it should be Robert -. Thanks very much.
        Mike

  12. Hi, I am looking for information on my great grandfather, ie which grave he’s buried in.

    I know he is buried at Wooroloo Cemetery, he died at Wooroloo Sanitorium 27th June 1953 and was buried in the Church of England Cemetery Wooroloo 29th June 1953. His name was Fredrick/Frederick William May.

    Any information you could provide us with would be very much appreciated.

    Thank you

  13. I am looking for Emile Jane Turnor. B 23/2/1873 d 13/3/1921 of tb. Emile was a patient at the Wooroloo Tuberculosis. I would like to find out where she is buried. Please I really hope that you can help me. Emile is my uncle’s grand mother. Thank you Ann Clarke

  14. Hi Donna
    There is a F. W. May buried in the Church of England “D” section at Wooroloo Cemetery.
    Grave number 114. I hope this is some help to you.
    Brooke

  15. Hi – I am very impressed with the information given and wonder if you can assist me with locating the grave of my husbands grandfather – and whether there would be anything to see if I visited. He died of TB in Wooroloo in May 1919 Frederick William Taney. Thanks very much for any info. Anne Maree

    • F W Taney is buried in Church of England East Section Grave no 133 – if you contact the Mundaring Shire they might be able to tell you if there is a headstone??

    • Hi Anne Maree
      I have found an F.W Taney in the Church of England section at Wooroloo cemetery, grave number 133. My Great Grandmother is buried in the same section and the graves are mound graves with a cast iron number marker. His grave site is in the fourth row around about the middle. I hope this helps you.
      All the best
      Brooke

      • Thanks very much Brooke – it helps a lot and much appreciated – Regards Anne Maree

  16. Hey I was just wondering if you had any information on Joseph Charles Haynes who may have been interred at Wooroloo in 1937. Im not actually sure if he was because I haven’t been able to locate any records though I do know he died there age 26 after suffering from tuberculosis. If you could help me in any way by emailing me – It would be GREATLY appreciated.
    Elise

    • Hello Elise, thanks for your question. The State Library of WA has a great service where you can ask a librarian questions and they’ll try to find an answer for you, or may be where you can look up the information. Try the Ask a Librarian service. Good luck!

    • Hello Elsie,
      WAGS has the Wooroloo Cemetery Index on fiche in Bayswater – Checked it out today and found Joseph Haynes died 9.4.1937 aged 32 buried RC 431 Glen Forrest – if you contact the shire of Mundaring they will be able to tell you if there is a headstone on the grave and probably supply a map of the cemetery.

  17. Hi….Wondering if there is anyone that might have a photo of Emma or John Quayle…He was a carpenter and she worked at the hospital…

    • Pauline, I am also looking for a photo – of my Grandfather John William Webster – who died at wooroloo in 1936. I have never seen a photo of my Grandparents, and would be delighted if someone could help me.
      thanks,
      Bronwen (nee Webster)

  18. Hello,
    My name is Melissa Cusack and I work for the Shire of Mundaring. Part of my role at the Shire is the Administration of Mundaring and Wooroloo Cemeteries. I have all the burial registers for both Cemeteries. If you are trying to locate a Family Member I can be contacted on: osh@mundaring.wa.gov.au or 9290-6729.

  19. Pingback: Pam’s story: What it was like to grow up with a mother who had a tuberculosis infection – project end tuberculosis

  20. I have emailed but I am just checking here in case one or the other is quicker. I am looking for the grave of my Great Great Great Grandfather, Samuel Thomas Bartle. He is listed as passing away at the Wooroloo Sanatorium from TB in 1920. Are you able to assist in finding his grave?

    • There is a S.T.Bartle listed at grave site number 85 in the non conformist section of the cemetery. This is the first section on the right as you enter. I hope this helps you.

  21. Hi there. I am interested in finding some information on my grandmother Constance (Connie) France who died at Woorooloo from TB in 1944 aged 35. Can anyone suggest where to start? I would love to find any old photos or records so I can show my dad who was 5 when she died.

    Regards. Krissy France.

  22. Today I discovered from my family history file that the place I have been sitting at over the past year twice a week is in fact the place where my great grandfather spent many a day recovering from what I’m told in great hands of professional carers. Jack Donovan ( my GF) was sent to the Sanatorium with TB over a period of time he was really ill trying to recover and return to his family and his daughter (my nan).
    I have been a visitor to Wooraloo Prison Farm for the past year and In 22 days when my partner ends his rehabilitation was hoping never to return. I am now in orr after my discovery that this beautiful place is where memories of recovery were steamed from.
    Where or who can I request consideration to build a plaque to discribe the early history of the site constructed for fresh air healing of TB sufferers… some who died but many like my GGF returning with great recovery. I want to a the site at being a place of rehabilitation and recovery at its roots. There is little honor to its heritage and I’d love the children and visitors to see it beyond prison. Currently we love it for its ability to recover people who had lost their way to spend just like the people of its past i the fresh air and with support back to a better life.

    Thankyou

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s