Reverend Drew Lelean – staff member at Larundel Mental Hospital

Lelean Close in Bundoora is named after Reverend (Clive) Drew Lelean who served as a Chaplain and therapist at Larundel and Mont Park Psychiatric Hospitals for 25 years from about 1967 to 1991.
If you want to take an historic Walk around the Estate which honours several former Larundel Hospital Staff including Rev Drew Lelean go to:
Larundel Staff remembrance walk – Walking Maps
Grassy Woodland Reserve off Lelean Close Bundoora – Photo Kathy Andrewartha
Drew’s parents and family
Drew’s parents were Arthur Drew and Doris (Brownell) who spent much time in Fiji after their marriage in 1918. Arthur was a Minister and developed a farming scheme for the native Fijians.
Drew’s brother Colin Oswald was born in Terang in 1919 before they went to Fiji. Drew’s older sister Alison Clare (Lady Hughes, nee Lelean) was born in 1921 in Ba in north western Fiji (she died in 2018), and his other brother Arthur Brownell Lelean was born in 1923 (he died in 2005). Drew himself was also born in Fiji in 1929. Colin the eldest, served in WWII in the Australian Army and died in 2008.
The family lived in Ballarat from 1936 and Rev Arthur Lelean Senior became well known for his powers of diagnosing illnesses, see The Argus June 8 1951, p. 3.
A photograph from a Facebook page ‘Lelean Family History’ shows Drew Lelean’s family celebrating his parents’ 50th Wedding Anniversary in 1968, with Drew in the clerical collar (back left).
Rev Arthur Lelean Senior died in 1972 at 79 years of age and Mrs Doris Lelean died in 1977 in Ballarat.
Drew’s caring work in the mental health field
Drew Lelean married Margaret Jean (Tolliday) in 1953 and they had two daughters and a son. Margaret was from Clunes 30 km north of Ballarat.
Drew and Margaret moved to Essendon in 1954 when he was still a theology student. His first Parish was in Casterton in western Victoria. Then the family moved to Tasmania for a period, where Drew first became particularly interested in helping those suffering from mental ill health, in his work as a clergyman in East Launceston.
In 1967, he transferred to the Larundel Psychiatric Hospital as a Chaplain, and Drew and Margaret and the family lived on site. Chaplains had been appointed to the mental institutions from about ten years before in 1956.
Drew was one of the first Church Ministers to train in Clinical Pastoral Education with Rev Roy Bradley at the Austin Hospital, in the 1970s, see Clinical Pastoral Education was aimed at training in ministerial and psychological listening to people’s life stories. This course was specifically for those interested in pastoral care for people with mental ill health. Chaplains typically served across multiple institutions and wards and Anglican, Methodist, Presbyterian and Catholic ministers shared the work at Larundel, with good cooperation between the pastoral carers. The chaplains were seen as important therapists.
By 1980 when their children were adults, Rev Drew Lelean and Margaret moved to Macleod and she was now working as a library assistant. He officially retired in 1991 from his duties across Larundel, Mont Park, Plenty, Heidelberg and Janefield Hospitals, but continued providing valuable support. In 2017 Reverend Drew Lelean celebrated 60 years since his ordination as a Methodist minister.
He still lives in the Macleod area but his wife Margaret passed away in 2018.
Rev Drew Lelean was awarded an OAM in 2009 for ’service to the community of Victoria through the development of chaplaincy and pastoral care education in the field of mental health’.
Thanks to Rev Drew Lelean and his family for his photograph and their interest and help with this Biography
Prepared by Kathy Andrewartha 2021
Bircanin, Iliya and Short, Alex (1995) Glimpses of the past: Mont Park, Larundel, Plenty, The Authors, Melbourne
Clinical Pastoral Education course – Roy Bradley Appreciatian (
Extensive Lelean Family History from 18th Century England to present – Lelean Family History – Home | Facebook
Queen’s Birthday Honours list – 2009 Queen’s Birthday Honours (Australia) – Wikipedia
Rev Drew Lelean’s contribution to family history network 2003 – Contact Made (
Sixty years as a Minister, Drew Lelean – 2017-Tributes-list.pdf (
Years of work in Fiji by the Ministers Charles and Arthur Lelean –  A Mission Divided – ANU   and Babasiga: A Lelean descendant

Joanna Gonnella (Gonella) – Larundel Hospital Charge Sister

Joanna Gonnella worked at the Larundel Mental Hospital, which operated for many years at the site behind Polaris Shopping Centre on Plenty Road Bundoora.
Gonella Crescent Bundoora commemorates Joanna Gonnella (correct spelling) who worked as a nurse and Charge Sister with the patients of Larundel for more than 20 years.
Gonella Crescent winds its way through the beautiful houses of the Gresswell Grange Estate, near the Larundel Memorial Reserve and the Larundel Walkway. If you would like to take an historic Walk around this Estate which honours Joanna Gonnella and other Larundel staff go to:
Larundel Staff remembrance walk – Walking Maps
Joanna was born Ivana Remskar in 1936 and married Alfredo Gonnella in 1958. Both had migrated from Europe after World War Two. Alfredo and Joanna had one daughter. Joanna became the Charge Sister at Larundel Hospital from the late 1960s, working with the Medical Superintendent Dr David Barlow who came to the Hospital about the same time (see ). They ‘ran a tight ship’ according to their co-workers, in this very large and busy facility.
Joanna’s husband Alfredo worked initially as a ward assistant and then trained and worked as a nurse also. They lived in Thomastown for about 20 years until they moved out to St Andrews to a 36 hectares farm in about 1983. There they raised beef cattle and improved the property greatly, surviving the droughts of the early 2000s and then the dangerous bushfire on Black Saturday 2009.
Joanna Gonnella on their property in the 2010’s
Joanna died suddenly in 2012 at the age of 75 years.
Thanks to former Larundel Hospital staff members Pam and Eric Wrigley for the photograph of Joanna when she was the Charge Sister at Larundel.
Prepared by Kathy Andrewartha 2021.
Article about closure of Larundel Hospital from Northside Christian College web pages – Larundel Psychiatric Hospital – BUNDOORA HISTORY (
Description of Gonnella’s Farm, Community Environmental Recovery Action Plan St Andrews Catchment Fact Sheet


Dr Donald Oldmeadow – Larundel Psychiatric Hospital

Oldmeadow Court in the Gresswell Grange Estate in Bundoora is named after one of the Doctors who worked for the Victorian Mental Health Authority and at the Larundel Psychiatric Hospital, which was located in this area until the 1990s.
If you want to take an historic Walk around this Estate which honours several former Larundel Hospital staff as well as Dr Oldmeadow go to:
Larundel Staff remembrance walk – Walking Maps
Oldmeadow Court Feb 2021- Photo by Kathy Andrewartha
Dr Donald Oldmeadow was born in 1913 and graduated in Medicine from The University of Melbourne in 1937. He obtained his Diploma of Psychological Medicine in 1944.
Dr Donald Oldmeadow served in the Army in World War II, along with his 3 brothers who were all in the RAAF. One of the brothers Fenton Charles was killed in a Lancaster aircraft over Germany in 1942. His other brothers Russell Henry and Richard Frank returned from the war to Australia. Dr Oldmeadow himself served with the 2nd Field Ambulance and was promoted to Captain. He worked mainly in Broome during the War.
Dr Oldmeadow and Jocelyn (Joycelyn LUGTON) were engaged before the War and married in 1941. She lived near Ballarat at Clunes. They had six children, one of whom also practises medicine.
After WWII with his family, he lived and worked in Fiji for 14 years as a GP and obstetrician
There had been a strong family link with the Pacific islands. Don’s uncle Henry Charles Haabai, his aunt Annie Mau White, and his father James Andy Viv had all been born in Tonga in the early 1880s.
Dr Don Oldmeadow came back from Fiji to live and work at Larundel and the other Asylum Hospitals in Victoria.
Dr Don Oldmeadow – his work with Mental Health Authority
Don and Jocelyn lived on site at the Larundel Hospital site in one of the doctors’ residences with their family in the 1960s. He was the Medical Officer when this Hospital was a huge complex for people suffering with mental ill health. He reported to the Mental Health Authority in 1968 as the Chief Medical Officer responsible for about 6000 patients over all the institutions in Victoria. He noted encouragingly that staff were making real efforts to improve the standard of care for all the patients. He thanked the staff in his report in 1969 for their genuine concern in the care of their patients. At this time thousands of out-patients with mental ill health were also being cared for across Victoria.
Don and Jocelyn moved to a home in Ivanhoe in the 1970s and then relocated to Western Australia in about 1980. He continued to work in WA from the early 1980s until his final retirement at the age of 95. His wife Jocelyn died in 2004 and Don lived to be 100 years of age when he died in 2013.
He was a generous mentor and caring person, and a sincerely religious man. He did indeed live a long and fruitful life as stated in his family death notice.
Thanks to Don’s family for providing the photograph of him.
Prepared by Kathy Andrewartha 2021
Death notice tributes to Dr Don Oldmeadow
Don Oldmeadow Death Notice – Melbourne, Victoria | The Age
Don Oldmeadow Death Notice – Melbourne, Victoria | The Age
Family tree details
Note from Dr Oldmeadow’s son
Reports to Mental Health Authority by Dr D.J. Oldmeadow for 1968 and 1969 and 1973
Tribute to Dr Don Oldmeadow from a WA church

Dr Daniel Kahans – Psychiatrist and Musical Therapist at Larundel

Kahans Close is a small street in the Gresswell Grange Estate in Bundoora. It is named after Dr Daniel Kahans who worked at Larundel in the 1960s and 1970s. He was one of the more colourful psychiatrists and a performing musician around Melbourne.
If you want to take an historic walk around this estate which honours several former Larundel Hospital staff as well as Daniel Kahans, go to:
Daniel was born in Shanghai in China in 1934 and his parents migrated to Australia in 1947 to NSW. His grandparents lived in Shanghai as well, and his Russian grandmother is described in his cello and spoken performance piece ‘Shanghai Rickshaw’ from La Mama Theatre in 2010, see
Daniel Kahans from Youtube – filmed by Aaron Claringbold
As a child in NSW Daniel studied cello with the famous British cellist William Ewart (Gladstone) Bell. He also studied music with the composer and conductor Sir Eugene Goossens. Daniel graduated in Medicine in 1959 from the University of Sydney and then went to the UK and studied psychiatry in London, graduating in 1966. He had married Jillian Shepherd in Sydney in 1962. She was also an accomplished cellist and became a highly regarded cello teacher in Melbourne. She was also an artist. Daniel and Jill moved back to Australia to Melbourne in 1968 and had four children. They lived at Larundel for many years and then moved to the nearby suburb of Lower Plenty.
Music Therapy at Larundel
Dr Daniel Kahans is famous for introducing music therapy to Larundel Mental Hospital in 1971. Along with Dr Denise Grocke (nee Erdonmez), who had trained in music therapy in the USA, they conducted therapy sessions in many wards, but particularly for patients in Fawkner House. Patients in this ward had intensive group therapy in music, drama and dance which was unique in Victoria. Denise Grocke (now Emeritus Professor Grocke) worked at Larundel for ten years, then set up the first music therapy course at the University of Melbourne in 1978, with the help of Dr Kahans and Dr Percy Jones.
Daniel Kahans also operated a busy private psychiatry practice at Wingrove Cottage in Eltham from 1971 and subsequently published many academic papers on various aspect of mental illness and the role of the psychiatrist and music therapy (for example, see Kahans and Calford, 1982). He classed this work as ‘psycho-aesthetics’, which he defined as the psychology of art forms including music therapy and art therapy. Aspects of the therapy included singing, group improvisation, music and movement, sometimes resulting in a formal group performance. Jane Refshauge amongst others, worked with Dr Kahans in this program, see
Dr Kahans performed many of his original avant-garde musical and spoken word works in Melbourne, including many at La Mama Theatre in Carlton, working with his wife Jill Kahans who performed as both actor and director.
Larundel Hospital and the Arts
Visual and performing arts were encouraged at Larundel with the Occupational Therapists working with art practitioners. Margaret Lasica, a well-regarded ballet performer and teacher, taught dance and movement to patients at Larundel. Margaret Lasica (nee Weiss) had come to Melbourne from Vienna in 1939 and she performed with Melbourne ballet groups such as the Modern Dance Ensemble.
Dr Cunningham Dax fostered the practice of art therapy at Larundel and Mont Park, and art works have been archived in the Dax Collection at the University of Melbourne, see
Many visual art works from the later period of 1987 – 1997 are maintained by the La Trobe University Art Institute at Bendigo, see  In the 1990s practising artists worked with the patients.
The use of music, art and drama therapy in the health sector has expanded since these Larundel days into general hospitals, aged care facilities and palliative care centres.
During the recent COVID-19 pandemic Royal Melbourne Hospital music therapists produced popular YouTube videos for their patients and the community see The Royal Melbourne Hospital – Scrub Choir 2.0 sing “I’ll stand by you” by The Pretenders | Facebook
And  ‘We Wish You’ by The RMH Scrub Choir – YouTube
Prepared by Kathy Andrewartha 2020.
Daniel Kahans bio for musical performance in Eltham in 2014 with photograph
History of the Australian Music Therapy Association
Interview with Denise Grocke
Kahans, D. and Calford, M. B. (1982). The influence of music on psychiatric patients’ immediate attitude change toward therapists. Journal of Music Therapy, 19 (3), 179-187.
Musical performance in Sydney at age 17, Daniel Kahans
Performance at La Mama 2010, Daniel Kahans describing a ride with his grandmother/babuska in a ‘Shanghai Rickshaw’ with spoken word and cello
Report of Dance Movement Therapy Conference 2015

Linaker’s Melbourne Gardens

Hugh Linaker (1872-1938) started his gardening work life in Victorian country towns, then moved to Melbourne to the Mont Park Asylum where he was employed as Head Gardener for the Victorian Lunacy Department
For twenty five years he worked there and also around Melbourne, on State government projects in the inner city, and out as far as the Maroondah Reservoir. Old photographs and newspaper records show that he had a great passion for his occupation, and was practical and decisive.
He advised on government projects, lectured to public groups and was a prominent member of the Victorian Tree Planters Association (Paul Fox, 1985 and Julie Mulhauser, 2009). Melbourne city had been designed from its earliest days to feature large parklands around the business district. The need for horticulture expertise was gradually being recognised in the 1920s and 1930s, but decisions about public plantings at the Botanic Gardens and King’s Domain were not without controversy and rivalry.
Linaker had no such rivals in the Asylum landscaping business. Here he worked companionably and successfully with the patients, who were utilized as part of their recuperative therapy.
Hugh had started his work as a gardener in Ballarat and then moved to Ararat for this first work with the Victorian Lunacy Department (1901 – 1911). The Alexandra Gardens in Ararat have a pond and a plaque to commemorate him and his work. The garden design incorporates his signature trees – steeple shaped cypress, tall exotic palms and spreading deciduous trees. Here in Ararat he first supervised hospital patients in his gardening pursuits.
Palm at Ararat – photo courtesy Rebecca Le Get
Mont Park and Larundel
When Linaker moved to Melbourne to landscape the new Mont Park Asylum site in 1912, he lived with his family in what is now called ‘Linaker’s Cottage’, which is near Plenty Road. His wife Harriet assisted on the Curative Training committee of the Red Cross at Mont Park.
At Mont Park near the Farm Workers’ Block built in 1910, Linaker had large ornamental ponds excavated. The ponds were surrounded by wind mill palms which are shown on the cover of the book ‘Glimpses of the Past’. Patients are seen wandering in this peaceful environment where the winds would have rustled through these exquisite palms. He also set up a plant nursery, orchards and vegetable gardens near here. This added to the Asylum farm produce, which was profitably utilized all over Victoria.
In the gardens near the Mont Park Chronic Wards, built in 1916, he created a beautiful landscape with rose bushes and shrubbery planted near the Wards and Nurses’ Home. Oaks, palms, conifers and deciduous trees were added amongst the ancient river red gums. Canary Island palms still feature in the gardens of the Springthorpe Estate homes along Ernest Jones Drive and oaks, cypresses and gums remain in the parklands. See
Gresswell Sanatorium
Old photographs of the Gresswell Sanatorium Hospital site from the 1930s to the 1990s show that it also once had lovely trees and landscaped gardens. These had been partially created by the patients, supervised by Hugh Linaker. This was part of their rehabilitation from tuberculosis (TB).  Recovering patients were supervised in outdoor activities like digging, planting, tending fruit trees and vegetable gardens, feeding the noisy poultry, or concreting the rockeries.
Hugh Linaker presented a comprehensive and bold landscape design to the Mental Health Authority for Gresswell in 1929, before the first buildings were even commenced. He planned for garden beds next to the wards, with dozens of Himalayan cypress trees (Cupressus torulosa) forming a border around the area, and an interesting and varied mix of exotic trees and some 180 eucalypts. As was his usual practice by then, he planned for attractive palm trees to be introduced into the landscape, but photographs show ultimately only one palm tree, prominently featured in the Administration building front lawn.  Various gums, from the pale, smooth trunks of sugar gums, to the dark textured trunks of flowering gums, were planted for their shade and their supposed healing fragrance. A photograph of the entrance to Gresswell Hospital in 1946 shows a vista of an attractive mix of pines, gums and deciduous trees.
Entrance to Gresswell Hospital 1946, with visitors and the Administration buildings in the distance – courtesy of DHHS Victorian Collection
The garden designs incorporated beds of low shrubs near some of the wards, with rock edging and embankments. Birds were apparently abundant in the Gresswell Hospital gardens as evidenced by a patient’s recollection in 1952 of the Medical Officer‘s dedicated photography of them (see Janet Brown, 1994, p. 219)
Gresswell Ward through the trees – photograph courtesy of PROV
Just as at Mont Park, Linaker chose to plant a variety of deciduous trees to vary the views from the wards as the seasons progressed – poplars, elms, ash and plane trees, although none of the resplendent oaks which flourished at Mont Park. The Gresswell gardens did not culminate in the full realisation of Linaker’s plans because the political and economic situation in Melbourne altered so much with the coming of the 1930s Depression and then World War II. Nothing is left of these gardens now on Gresswell Hill.
Gresswell Administration buildings and gardens, photograph courtesy of DHHS Victorian Collection
Maroondah Reservoir Park
At about the same time as he was thinking about the Gresswell Hospital surrounds, Linaker had been designing the Maroondah Reservoir parklands east of Melbourne in 1927 and 1928. Here he achieved a rich and varied forest-like environment, using magnificent trees of every shape, size, colour and texture. He chose eucalypts and conifers such as Himalayan pines and Monterey cypresses, cork oaks and even some massive redwood trees.  This magnificent two hectares (five acres) remains a most appealing tourist and picnic destination.
Maroondah Reservoir wall and trees- photo courtesy Rebecca Le Get 2016
Burnham Beeches, Sherbrooke
Linaker had several other landscaping projects not related to his position with the Mental Health Authority. Along with Percy Trevaskis, he constructed the gardens of Alfred Nicholas’ property ‘Burnham Beeches’ in Sherbrooke.
This was unique as it is one of the few home gardens Linaker helped to create, and it remains as a serene 23 hectare (50 acre) reserve. In the early 1930s he chose rockeries to line the terraced pathways which follow the contour of the land. Conifers of various shapes and colours, and low lying exotic shrubs blend in with majestic mountain ash trees which have stood here for generations. The house and gardens are particularly spectacular in the autumn with the native tree ferns unfurling amongst the other plants.
Tree ferns at Burnham Beeches April 2019 – photo from the author
Melbourne city
Linaker contributed to the Melbourne city King’s Domain and the Shrine of Remembrance horticultural design and construction in the 1930s. His work was not without controversy. The Premier of Victoria Stanley Argyle and Linaker had to defend the designs in public debates with rival landscape specialists.
Edna Walling was not always a fan of Hugh Linaker’s work. At this stage she was designing beautiful home gardens for Melbourne’s wealthier residents including Dame Nellie Melba and Sir Keith Murdoch. She was understandably critical of Linaker being chosen to design the Pioneer Women’s Memorial Garden in Melbourne. She was, after all, renowned for her water feature schemes and rockeries and probably felt rebuffed in being overlooked for the Women’s Memorial work. Linaker’s design featured a grotto and a sundial surrounded by a balanced variety of gardens of changing colours and heights. This work utilised underemployed men during the 1930s Depression.
Greenery at Women’s Memorial Gardens – photo courtesy of Rebecca Le Get -2013
The decade before Linaker died was a most fruitful period for him and has provided us with a lasting legacy of some superb landscapes. Linaker believed in the health giving value of planted environments for the whole of the community, but had been particularly involved in his working life with producing serene and picturesque locations for those suffering mental and physical ill health and all of the workers who cared for them.
Prepared by Kathy Andrewartha (2020)
With thanks to Rebecca Le Get for resources, help and interest.
Paul Fox (1985) Over the Garden Fence, Historic Environment, 4, No. 3, pp.29 – 36.
Julie Mulhauser (2009) Hugh Linaker, Landscape Gardener to the Lunacy Department. Australian Garden History 20, No. 4 pp. 12 – 20.
Janet M. Brown (1994) In the Company of Strangers: Former patients of Australian Tuberculosis Sanitoria share their experiences and insights, published by the author, Werribee. p.219
Rebecca Le Get (2018) An Environmental History of Tuberculosis Sanatorium Treatment within The River Red Gum Woodlands of Melbourne. Ph D. Thesis, La Trobe University, Melbourne.


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