Following the closure of the Altona Hospital in November 1996 the residents of Altona stood as one not to merely protest at the closure of an icon of this community for over 60 years but to fight to retain what had always been seen as a community asset. The residents formed into the Friends of Altona Hospital group that stood beside a number of community service groups, the council, residents and unions to prevent the the Government from selling the site which Altona residents felt they rightfully had worked and paid for over the sixty years.
What transpired was a long tactical battle, led by the Friends of Altona Hospital group, which resulted in a first for Victoria where a community driven campaign, with the aim of securing continuing public ownership of the building and the land of the former Altona Hospital, which the community had laboured, supported and operated for so many years. It was also a first in Victoria where a multifaceted campaign that involved individuals, local and state government departments and diverse political and community groups all working together for the good and well being of a community. At the end of the day it was felt by many that the campaign succeeded because both residents and local government were able to demonstrate to politicians and bureaucrats that there was a rational approach to rationalisation. The voice of the people won out over the bureaucracy of a government.
A display of Altona Hospital documents, photos and stories is now on display at the Homestead.