top of page

Morisset Ward 21 

GPS Waypoint            Watch Video

Morisset Ward 21, Also known as The Crim Ward is part of the heritage listed Morisset Psychiatric Hospital on the shores of Lake Macquarie. The land that the Crim Ward occupies is now owned by the Biraban Aboriginal Land Council after being handed back to them from the NSW Department Of Health.

Construction of the Morisset Hospital was approved in 1901 and started in 1906 with a staff of three male attendants and 6 patients living in tents on the grounds. I won’t go into the full history of the Hospital as I would like to focus on Ward 21.


In 1930 land was set aside for the Crim Ward, A hospital for the Criminally Insane. This was Australia’s first prison to be set up specifically for Criminally Insane patients. Ward 21 commenced operation in 1933. At this time the Morisset Hospital was home to around 670 men, The first Female patients and staff arrived in March of 1933.


In 1985 the hospital was divided into 2 serparate entities and the Psychiatric Services & Development Disability Wards, 16, 18, 19 & 20 were closed. In 1991 Ward 21 was also closed with Wards 19 & 20 being demolished.  A number of other wards have been closed since this time.

Ward 21 provided a number of recreational activities for patients with the inclusion of a swimming pool, Tennis Court, Market Garden, Soccer field and more.

Morisset Ward 21 Has lots of different stories surrounding it’s practices and history and unfortunately without spending days or weeks researching the hospital it is not all that easy to find facts. There are however a couple of videos on YouTube of the hospital such as Inside Morisset, Hosted by Mike Willisse and The Untodl Story of Ward 21, both of which I will link below. The Inside Morisset video does show Electro Shock Treatment being used to try and help some patients and the hospital is said to of used a number of other controversial methods of treatment.

One story I have heard of and this may be the same mentioned in The Untold Story of Morisset although it sounds a little different to the version I have heard is, a nurse at the hospital retiring after a number of years working in Ward 21. He had befriended one of the patients who loved to spend his day’s in the market garden. Prior to leaving this nurse gave the patient a pair of secateurs to use in the garden and the inmate proceeded to stab and kill the nurse so he could never leave him.

After the closure of Ward 21 some of the patients were moved to the new Kestrel Unit which I believe is a newer unit closer to main hospital surrounded by barbed wire topped wire fences. This resembles more of a modern day jail. This unit apparently took advantage of a CCTV system to monitor patients resulting in fewer staff, lower costs and more staff being assaulted due to some patients hearing voices from electronics such as cameras. Other patients were transferred to a special unit formed at Long Bay Jail in Sydney.

Another story mentioned in the Inside Morisset video is of an inmate escaping, terrorizing and raping women in the town of Morisset before being captured and returned to the hospital. This escape apparently led to security levels being raised with the addition of higher or additional fences around Ward 21.

There have also been reports of patients being buried in unmarked graves in the bush land surrounding Ward 21 however it is also claimed these graves are actually in a nearby cemetery on Nentoura Road Morisset.

Access into the Morisset Hospital area has now been gated off with access only being allowed to those visiting patients and staff. This is due to tourists entering the grounds to feed the local Kangaroo’s which has led to a decline in their populations as food such as bread would not provide the health benefits needed to the animals, attacks on visitors due to the roo’s wanting more food. Access to Ward 21 is now easiest via Larapinta Drive at Wyee Point however this may soon be closed due to illegal dumping.

The Crim Ward is now a popular spot for a number of people such as Four Wheel Drivers, History buffs and people wanting to see something different. Unfortunately the area has been largely demolished by vandals as you can see in this video and has become a popular dumping ground for people too tight to pay the local tip fee’s or take advantage of the free rubbish collection services offered by the local councils. It has also become a popular area with people dumping stolen vehicles. For this reason I do hope the area is soon gated off stopping access to these people that disrespect the land, unfortunately this will also stop access to those of us that do respect the area.

This is about all the information I can find without digging really deep into the history of the hospital and spending a lot of time on research. I hope you have enjoyed this video and learnt some of the history behind Morisset Ward 21.

Larapinta Drive access has been closed since filming this video. You can now only access Ward 21 on foot from here. There are other ways in by 4wd but from reports I would not recommend it due to very poor track conditions. 

bottom of page