Julia Farr Centre

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The Julia Farr Centre was a hospital and care facility for disabled people in Fullarton, South Australia, founded in 1879 as the Home for Incurables. It closed in April 2020.


The Home for Incurables was proposed as a non-denominational charitable institution by Julia Farr née Ord (1824–1914), wife of George Henry Farr (1819–1904), Anglican priest and headmaster of St. Peter's College. She was concerned at the plight of impoverished patients of the Adelaide Hospital who were discharged as "incurable" due to the nature of their illness or disability, then had no-one to support them and nowhere to go but the Adelaide Destitute Asylum. Farr, who had previously founded the Home for Orphans, had the support of Dr. William Gosse, who volunteered his services as chairman of a committee to raise funds for the project. An eight-roomed house on a large block of land on Fisher Street Fullarton was purchased for £1,700 and a further £300 expended on refurbishment of the home. In October 1879 ten inmates of the Destitute Asylum, young and old, male and female, were transferred to the Home. It was a condition of entry that the patient was not insane, and that the incurable disease was not contagious, although that stipulation was later occasionally waived for those suffering from tuberculosis. It soon became apparent that the existing facility was too small, and another building with accommodation for 30 was erected on the property and opened in February 1881. An extension capable of housing another 40 patients was added to this building in 1884 and named the Gosse Memorial Wing. Over the ensuing hundred years adjacent land was purchased as it became available, and the old buildings demolished to make way for more modern accommodation. The West Block (Fisher Building), built between 1964 and 1967, was made obsolete by the new East Block, and largely vacated in 1978 (their centenary). The number of resident patients rose from 142 in 1928 to 400 in the 1960s to 826 by the end of 1978, the largest institution of its kind in the southern hemisphere. In 1981 the Home for Incurables was renamed The Julia Farr Centre. The property on which the Fisher Building stood was sold by Disability SA to a developer in 2003. Various development proposals fell through and the building, which had meanwhile become the target for vandals and graffiti artists, was sold to Living Choice and demolished in 2011 to make way for a five-storey retirement complex. Other parts of the property remained, including the East block.


The facility was closed in April 2020, and in July the state government invited suggestions from the public via an online "YourSAy" questionnaire whether the property should be sold or repurposed into a new facility. Proceeds from sale of the building has to go towards something which is stipulated by South Australians with disability, as per the terms of the trust.


Kerr, Colin (1979). The Home for Incurables, the first 100 years. Lutheran Publishing House, Adelaide.


Find and Connect: The Home for Incurables (1879 - 1981) History of Disability in SA: Home for Incurables Brian Dickey, 'Farr, Julia Warren (1824–1914)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, published first in hardcopy 2005, accessed online 3 October 2017
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