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Tuesday, June 4, 2024

The Fabled Gated Kangaroos of Morisset

Morisset (33 ° 7' S 151 ° 30' E) has a rather curious reputation. While local Australians might associate it negatively with the mental institute which opened here in 1909, more recently it became famous with foreign visitors attracted by the wild kangaroos that can be encountered in huge mobs on its grounds. Nanny State had the last say, unfortunately, and the hospital was sealed off with gated bridges to stop the punters from getting in. More fool Nan. As I previously mentioned, for close to 10 years I was held under virtual house arrest at my parents' property south at Lake Haven, on Budgewoi Lake. Even though Morisset was only 20km or so distant, I found it almost impossible to visit. In 2013 I had bravely caught the train which connects Wyong and Newcastle, and disembarked at Morisset. I sloshed around in the rain and mud, looking for a Buddhist temple which was supposedly existed around here. I was hoping it would be something like Nan Tien Temple, in the Illawarra, but it was actually fairly basic in comparison.

Cham Shan Temple, in Morisset (Australia, 2014)

It took almost a decade for my agoraphobia to recover sufficiently enough to allow me to return to Morisset, but this time I had my heart set on locating the kangaroos which had gone viral at the Psychiatric Hospital. As it turned out, this was a rather futile gesture, as the authorities had discretely put a stop to this unauthorized caper by sealing off all access roads to the facility. It is a pity because the hospital sounds fascinating in its own right. There is also reputed to a haunted ruins in the vicinity, with the rather ominous name of "Hospital for the Criminally Insane", and a cemetery containing many unmarked graves. It made me wonder: Wouldn't it be better to capitalize on your assets when it comes to tourism, rather than shutting the whole game down??? (For the full report of my defeat searching for the now gated kangaroos of Morisset, click here.)

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