Parkside Mental Asylum (Glenside Hospital) Heritage Walk
The former Glenside Hospital site, once known as the Parkside Lunatic Asylum relates a telling narrative of the history of mental illness in South Australia in the nineteenth and twentieth century. What’s more, many of these buildings are of historical and architectural significance and recognized as state cultural heritage. In particular, buildings like Z Ward, The Elms and The Chapel are associated with E.J. Woods; the government colonial architect responsible for buildings such as Parliament House (first stage), 1883 – 89 and the Museum of Economic Botany (Herbarium), Botanic Gardens, 1879. At the present, the heritage status of other surviving buildings on site are uncertain. Furthermore, due to urban development plans the integrity of this site is at risk, raising community concerns, as the erasure of the stories of the abandoned and vulnerable becomes a real possibility. Heritage groups and the National Trust are however working together with the private owners of the disparate parts of the site, including Z Ward, in order to preserve and ensure the integrity and character of the buildings are retained. In recent years, films including Anzac Girls and tourism in the form of Z Ward Tours have been beneficial in drawing attention to this site, helping to build strong communal support of the Glenside Hospital site. Many hoped that the Z ward would be adapted into a museum documenting the fascinating history of this site and drawing awareness to an under-represented and neglected sector of society. Alas, this has not eventuated. In light of pending developments, it has become even more imperative that we ensure that our heritage is preserved for all, and that the extant buildings are appropriately and tastefully renovated and adapted for modern use in such a way that the stories woven into the fabric of the buildings continue to be told.
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