Photos from: My adventure into the abandoned Kimberley Centre Facility

Abandoned Facility Kimberley Centre

My wife and I had a small holiday break recently, the first time in quite a while!

So we decided to do a roadtrip, the roadtrip was a perfect way to spend some time together, explore and of course do some photography.

My wife did most of the driving and I was to tell her to stop when I saw something to photograph. (I tread pretty lightly with this privilege because it works really well…)

For this part of the trip we were traveling in the middle of the day, not the most ideal time for photography but I wanted to make the most of the opportunity.

The most common things I like to stop and shoot while traveling in the day are physical man made things so; architecture, old cottages and things with texture, as more often than not if I have to shoot in the day I’m likely to go black and white for the edit.

The Kimberley Centre was perfect for this occasion.

The Kimberley Centre is based just outside of Levin in the North Island of New Zealand and is a closed facility for the disabled which in it’s time was one of the best in the world and made up for a large part of the local community.

The facility has been closed since 2006. The land has since recently been purchased and is being completely re-developed into a retirement village.

After looking in from the perimeter of the facility (which did have fences and no trespassing signs) we soon discovered a driveway in, this is where the development is starting to take place.

The Kimberley Centre Facility was actually huge! Way bigger than I expected so we just got around to a couple of the buildings that caught our attention.

From what I understand some groups use a few of the buildings so some of the buildings weren’t in too horrendous of a condition, The chapel on the grounds has been renovated restored by the new developers

For me this was my first adventure into something like this, it was great to be able to take a look around and not have concern for being arrested or so which I’m sure my wife wouldn’t have enjoyed on our holiday.

 

 

Thanks for reading! Enjoy the pics, feel free to leave a comment! 🙂

Have you been into the Kimberley Centre?
When it was open?
Since it’s been closed?
Do you have memories of the place?

 

Abandoned Facility Kimberley Centre
Abandoned Facility Kimberley Centre
Abandoned Facility Kimberley Centre
Abandoned Facility Kimberley Centre
Abandoned Facility Kimberley Centre
Abandoned Facility Kimberley Centre
Abandoned Facility Kimberley Centre
Abandoned Facility Kimberley Centre
Abandoned Facility Kimberley Centre
Abandoned Facility Kimberley Centre
Abandoned Facility Kimberley Centre
Abandoned Facility Kimberley Centre
Abandoned Facility Kimberley Centre
Abandoned Facility Kimberley Centre
Abandoned Facility Kimberley Centre
Abandoned Facility Kimberley Centre
Abandoned Facility Kimberley Centre
Abandoned Facility Kimberley Centre
Kimberley Centre-7
Abandoned Facility Kimberley Centre
Abandoned Facility Kimberley Centre
Abandoned Facility Kimberley Centre
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41 thoughts on “Photos from: My adventure into the abandoned Kimberley Centre Facility”

  1. I was there on Saturday, visiting Levin Croquet Club which has relocated there – the developer renovated a large villa for their clubhouse & part funded new lawns.

    I first visited the centre couple of years ago, when it was being prepared for development – fascinating place!

    Originally a training farm for juvenile delinquents, then occupied by Air Force in WW2 (1939-1942) before it became a mental health institution.

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  2. I began work here as a teenager and continued to work through my twenties. I loved the work here. Kimberley helped to form who I am. I spent my entire career working in the field of special education in overseas situations. Memories are of the people I worked with, the people we worked for – and the many moments that happened throughout the years – too many. We were a community. This place was life. Nowadays. I am using the roads of Kimberley to teach my son to drive – and find myself sharing of my years here – and he is discovering a mum that he didn’t even know existed! 🙂 Thank you for these photos. Each one rings with the sounds of voices.

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  3. Worked there for 26 years and have some amazing memories of the place! Was a huge employer in its heyday and there weren’t many families in Levin that didn’t have someone related working there.

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  4. It is interesting to see your photos and comments. As someone who has been on site since it closed in 2006 i can confirm that although mid central closed the complex it was never abandoned – though this comment has been bandied about all that time. (It was the local papers favorite description of the place and the old buildings they constantly decreed as dilapidated, we were living in). Mid central maintained the grounds with the ‘spotless’ company mowing the lawns regularly, security cars patrolling the premises and the buildings with current fire warrants were regularly checked and insurances on more valuable buildings maintained while it was waiting in the disposal process. Buildings on site were leased to my business partner from the day it closed and we have been on site constantly since that time, both with a business and buildings being lived in. During the last 10 years we regularly walked the buildings and ran the water and flushed toilets to keep the systems working, checking for damage or vandalism. The buildings are old yes and not had maintenance for years but many have many serviceable years. The photos you have taken are (from the top) The old chapel building which has been recently refurbished by the new owner. (Where over the years we have used it for events and music practice rooms). The second photo is the building we had leased for the last 10 years – our recording studio. We have only just moved out of it in the last few months to rent another building on site as the developer is preparing to demolish these old buildings next. It has been a fabulous building. We just have our planter boxes to move. Next 8 photos are of one of the old barrack buildings (yes from WW2 when it was an air force base). This particular one was actually used by some of our group as 2 art studios and some of the items you have photographed belong to us that have not yet been moved yet (as this building is not in line for demolition just yet). Bit random to know that someone has been wandering through our spaces and photographing them. The last photo is the outside of the old woodworking workshop which we were using up until last christmas when we moved out of it. The space is now used by the developer for building purposes.
    The centre has also been home to Riding for the Disabled all this time, and was regularly used by the defense forces, police, riot squad, bomb squad, canine unit, and prison guards for practice facilities and grounds. We have run a recording studio here for the last 10 years, and in more recent years a kit set wood garden shed production workshop. We have had 4 households of people associated with us living on site also. The large tar sealed area to the west of these buildings photographed was part of the old parade grounds and the old flagpole can still be seen outside one of the buildings that has had many incarnations (that we also used to use). The big old building past that was the old mess building. There are several buildings that were moved off site many years ago and some more since.
    At the northern end of the complex are several large old concrete buildings. One was the old laundry, long since abandoned and had been disused, but more recently a remote control car club has been using it. A large storage building has been turned into single garage sized storage pens by the developer and next to that is a tall old building with the old coal boilers and furnaces from WW2 era that at one time created the hot water for the site. Outside of the complex to the west was another area with individual houses that were used by nursing staff in past time but have not had services on to them or been used for many years now. The large community centre we had used on several occasions including using it for music video production. It has also been used by other groups and now I believe used regularly for a children’s martial arts class. The croquet club has been on site for a little while now – first using the chapel and lawn outside it until their new clubhouse and lawns were created in the old ‘Guy house’. Guy house is the oldest building on site – over a hundred years old I believe. There are currently other businesses and groups using other buildings on site including Drummonds furniture and others.
    It always was an interesting site and still is – and to some of us – it is still ‘home’.

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    1. Wow Adele, thank you for providing so much insight. It did definitely look like certain organisations had made use of parts of the facility. This is something I didn’t touch on in this post as it was a first encounter and I really had no place to say who or what was really going on. I was truly surprised at how well kept the buildings were! Thanks again for your comment, Maybe we could be in touch if i do a follow up??

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  5. You’ve encouraged me to go back there soon for a personal look down memory lane.I worked there back in 1965 as a trainee psychopaedic nurse.A very frightening experience for a 16 year old for many reasons.The intellectually challenged patients didn’t frighten me nearly as much as the impaired behaviour of many of the charge staff and the ones who were there in roles of teaching.Scarred for life is one way of looking at it all.Thank goodness the facility is long closed and we have moved on to hopefully healthier ways of caring for our vulnerable people in our community and what a journey that has been for many family members as well.There would be some incredible stories there for sure.Thank you for the great pictures and for the reminder of those incredible years we have come so far.All power to Wayne Bishop for his innovation and entrepreneurship of the Speldhurst development.I wish all involved well indeed.Thank you once again.

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  6. Relations of ours all worked there for many years bring home the better patients for a break wonderful place in its time with wonderful people to care for them facilities like this are well lacking in this country now

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  7. My family and I live out here (I think you may have stopped to talk to us) inside some of the better buildings its quite a different story. We have made ours quite homely but they are also great character buildings. We love how peaceful it is out here and with all the other families and groups/clubs it feels quite safe too. Its very calming out here and my kids have already made great friends with the neighboring animal residents and their owners 🙂

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    1. Hi Melissa, wow was that you I spoke to? Thank you so much for chatting with me that day. I was really surprised to chat to someone while I was there as I really thought it was abandoned, I was really surprised to learn from you that people were using the site. But I didn’t want to get into that in this post. (Thinking I might do a follow up!)

      I definitely think my kids would have fun there too 🙂

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  8. I worked at Kimberly in the wards when my children were young. White uniforms which included white stockings and hats. Red capes in the winter. Later i acceped the position in Administration as Patient Affairs and Records Officer. The 480 residents files and contact with families was a big part of the job. Fab place to work. A complete town in its own right. All the tradesmen were on site as was the big laundry with the Engineer. Loved working there.

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  9. I worked there and became part of the Kimberley family for 30 years from 1978. I was 17 years old when I started my training as a Psychopaedic nurse. So many wonderful memories of the amazingly beautiful people who lived there.

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  10. Phil. I love how your roadtrip artwork has inspired memories for people. Brilliant. A holiday job for you perhaps inspiring memories through images. Legend!

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    1. Aww thank you, definitely something I felt I had to share, so glad it can mean something to people 🙂 Thanks for your comment !

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  11. Many good memories of the 23 years I worked there. I remember one night counting how many years the staff I was working with had been employed. Five of us staff and over 110 years in total. Says a lot about the place. My first impression in 1982 entering up the sweeping driveway was how imaculate and beautiful the grounds were. Great friendships were made and many stories are still shared. Thank you everyone for your updates

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  12. I remember going out there with my aunty on a night shift as a child it was the most scariest place for me as a kid but such an adventure aswell, looking back its so funny because today I love working with children with disabilities they are such beautiful people but seeing these pics makes it look like a horror movie scene 😊

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  13. We as children grew up in Levin and the centre was a huge part of mine and my brothers lives. Brent has been adopted into our family because of the close bonds formed over the years our family members worked there. My grandfather would be able to tell you some stories about the buildings you have photographed. He could probably tell you their names?

    Let’s hope you can get back out there and take some shots of the new buildings some time.
    Check this out Phil….

    http://tvnz.co.nz/seven-sharp/story-special-friendship-and-former-kimberly-centre-resident-returning-home-video-6453967

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  14. I worked there also from a tender age, first as a Psychopaedic Assistant and then I went on to do my nursing qualification. It certainly was an experience working there and not all of it pleasant. When it was at its maximum it was NZ’s second largest Psychopaedic institution. The tradesmen were hilarious as they would bike everywhere on these large black old fashioned bikes complete with paint cans and ladders hanging off their bikes and wobbling about the place. There was a small train there where you could take the residents for a ride on as well as a tractor and large seated trailer where you could also get the residents in. One of the few places where you could easily get your train and tractor licenses! Thanks for the trip down memory lane.

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      1. I believe the train that was out at Kimberley was also the same one that eventually had a stint out at Lake Horowhenua playground and used to run at weekends and holidays and is now installed in the Levin Adventure Park in the centre of town. You can still just see where it used to be situated on the old Kimberley site if you know where to look

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  15. We had a staff house there, about the early 1980’s I would say. I found the place very depressing and the treatment of the “patients” to be horribly inhumane. From memory a “patient escaped” (that was the terminology used) and ended up drowning in a creek or something along those lines.

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  16. Thanks for sharing these, I have mixed memories from Kimberley but can honestly say it was a much more supportive environment that what some are living through at the moment. An anywhere near those we were responsible for.d I do still worry about where some of the old residents ended up and how safe they are and how safe those in the community around them are. Although having said that, many didnt belong in a facility like Kimberley. Some staff were saints and others I wont comment on other than they didnt last long in the later years as we wouldnt accept their behaviour

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  17. I worked for the security company that patrolled the site right up until current developer took it over. Was a freaky place at 3am. I also used the business administration area for band practice. Was a good place to rehearse as it was up the back and we’ll away from any nearby houses. There are some colour pictures on my band Facebook page. My band is called No Regrets. It was also used, on occasion, by Police and the NZ Army for training purposes. Lovely turning g up just after dark and having some Army personally pop out of nowhere with an assault rifle to let you know they were on site. Hahaha

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