Subscribe      List an Event or Business      Invite a Writer      Write for WN      Writers      Other Locations      HubGarden      Recipes

Glenside Hospital Historical Precinct

Home > Adelaide > Historic Houses | Fun Things To Do | Free | Walks
by Dave Walsh (subscribe)
I enjoy writing about Adelaide and its many attractions. If you think Adelaide is boring, the problem is not with Adelaide. adelaideunearthed.blogspot.com.au/
Published May 22nd 2013
See behind the high walls of the past
Glenside Hospital
mental health and, mental health, mental illness, mental disorders, psychiatric disorders, glenside hospital, sa health, z ward, criminally insane, adelaide studios
Former Administration Building, Glenside Hospital


Glenside Hospital was once the main centre for treatment of mental illness and psychiatric disorders by SA Health.

As part of the About Time history festival 2013, Mindshare SA and the Glenside Hospital Historical Society operated tours of the hospital hosted by former Glenside psychologist David Buob. Once known as the Parkside Lunatic Asylum and later as Parkside Mental Hospital, the hospital is going through a period of great change now.

The tours covered some of the major buildings that have not been demolished as part of SA Health's Glenside Hospital redevelopment. With his personal experience over the years, David Buob was able to provide fascinating insights into hospital life, as well as special access to some buildings.

On the walk participants gained an appreciation of the conditions that mental health patients and those with psychiatric disorders endured in days gone by. Not all were voluntary, nor were all adults. Some were admitted for homosexuality (then considered a mental illness) and given electroconvulsive therapy (ECT or shock therapy).

mental health and, mental health, mental illness, mental disorders, psychiatric disorders, glenside hospital, sa health, z ward, criminally insane, adelaide studios
Former Administration Building - Now Adelaide Studios


After seeing these buildings I'm pleased to see that the state government is finding alternative uses for them, and that they are being tastefully and appropriately renovated. One such example is the Adelaide Central School of Art re-purposing the P&O building, Dining Room, and the Chapel.

This article is based upon information provided on the tour. You can find even more photos on the Mindshare website, where people are also encouraged to share their experiences of the mental health system with others.

For a detailed history of the infamous Z Ward for the criminally insane at Glenside Hospital with many current and historical photos, see this article. You can also read about Eastwood Lodge, the former Nurse's Home which is currently under threat of demolition.

Due to the demand for this event, additional tours may be available. Please check the Mindshare website.

Erindale Secure Ward for Males

mental health and, mental health, mental illness, mental disorders, psychiatric disorders, glenside hospital, sa health, z ward, criminally insane, erindale
Erindale Secure Ward at Glenside Hospital


Erindale was used to house the more disturbed male patients with mental disorders. It was built in 1877 at a cost of £4,350, and was a lower security facility than Z Ward for the criminally insane.

mental health and, mental health, mental illness, mental disorders, psychiatric disorders, glenside hospital, sa health, z ward, criminally insane, cells
A Cell in Erindale Secure Ward for Males


The cells within Erindale were small, with high windows that were impossible to see out.

mental health and, mental health, mental illness, mental disorders, psychiatric disorders, glenside hospital, sa health, z ward, criminally insane, stairs
Security Grille on Stairs


The facilities were spartan, and were designed to minimise risk of harmful accidents.

mental health and, mental health, mental illness, mental disorders, psychiatric disorders, glenside hospital, sa health, z ward, criminally insane, ablutions
Ablutions Added in Erindale in 1961


The patients spent time every day in the airing court, a completely enclosed exercise yard with high walls. It was equipped with the most basic of latrine facilities and bathing was completed using containers of water until 1961 when the bathroom and toilet annex was added.

mental health and, mental health, mental illness, mental disorders, psychiatric disorders, glenside hospital, sa health, z ward, criminally insane, haha wall
Remaining Part of Haha Wall


The airing court was surrounded by buildings and a haha wall - a wall with a ditch on the inside to prevent inmates climbing it.

After being left derelict for years, Erindale was subjected to vandalism and graffiti.

mental health and, mental health, mental illness, mental disorders, psychiatric disorders, glenside hospital, sa health, z ward, criminally insane, street art
Insightful Street Art Inside Erindale


One piece of street art shows remarkable insight and perspicacity in its depiction of former patients.


The Elms

mental health and, mental health, mental illness, mental disorders, psychiatric disorders, glenside hospital, sa health, z ward, criminally insane, the elms
The Elms - Former Women's E, F and G Wards


The Elms is built of the best hard Glen Osmond stone and has an imposing Gothic architecture characteristic of 1880 when it was built.

mental health and, mental health, mental illness, mental disorders, psychiatric disorders, glenside hospital, sa health, z ward, criminally insane, the elms
Entrance to The Elms


For most of its life, The Elms housed female patients - it must have looked very grim and forbidding the first time a patient with mental illness saw the building. In the early years mental health and poverty were viewed somewhat interchangeably, and new admissions did not necessarily have mental disorders.

mental health and, mental health, mental illness, mental disorders, psychiatric disorders, glenside hospital, sa health, z ward, criminally insane, womens ward
Rooms Off the Main Corridor at The Elms


The patients were expected to do a couple of hours work every day, and the work was considered at the time to be appropriate to the sexes. Women might work in the laundry, while men would do gardening.

mental health and, mental health, mental illness, mental disorders, psychiatric disorders, glenside hospital, sa health, z ward, criminally insane, bathroom
Bathroom Facilities in The Elms


As with Erindale, bathroom and toilet facilities were installed quite late - a sheet aluminium clad extension was added at the side of The Elms in 1959.

mental health and, mental health, mental illness, mental disorders, psychiatric disorders, glenside hospital, sa health, z ward, criminally insane, dormitory
The Former Women's Dormitory


Dormitories were moderately large but accommodated many women, with shared storage cupboards. This must have been the cause of many arguments between patients.

mental health and, mental health, mental illness, mental disorders, psychiatric disorders, glenside hospital, sa health, z ward, criminally insane, shared storage
Shared Storage in Dormitories


The Elms was used as a ward for elderly men by the 1980s, and later as a Domestic Training Unit and for Music Therapy. Most space has clearly not been used for many years, with thick layers of dust and musty smells.

mental health and, mental health, mental illness, mental disorders, psychiatric disorders, glenside hospital, sa health, z ward, criminally insane, ablutions block
The 1959 Ablutions Block


It's understood that The Elms will be redeveloped into apartments for sale at some time in the future.

mental health and, mental health, mental illness, mental disorders, psychiatric disorders, glenside hospital, sa health, z ward, criminally insane, closed door
Locked In


Former P&O Building - Adelaide Central School of Art

mental health and, mental health, mental illness, mental disorders, psychiatric disorders, glenside hospital, sa health, z ward, criminally insane, school of art
P&O Building - Now Adelaide Central School of Art


While the name P&O Building might conjure glamorous and romantic images of sailing off on a luxury world cruise, the actual origins of the name are rather more prosaic. It was a simplification of the ward naming - originally being M, N and O wards for males, and then changing to permutations of P and O when wards were sexually integrated in the 1960s.

mental health and, mental health, mental illness, mental disorders, psychiatric disorders, glenside hospital, sa health, z ward, criminally insane, art
Ground Floor Corridor of P&O Building


Although built in 1899, it was 40 years later before an external fire escape was added to supplement the single exit from the top floor.

As with other wards the aluminium sheet walled bathroom and toilet annex was only installed in 1959.

mental health and, mental health, mental illness, mental disorders, psychiatric disorders, glenside hospital, sa health, z ward, criminally insane, common room
Student Common Room


As part of SA Health's Glenside redevelopment, this building has been leased to the not-for-profit Adelaide Central School of Art for 50 years at a peppercorn rent. The Dining Room, the Chapel and Erindale are also being renovated for the School to complete their campus.

mental health and, mental health, mental illness, mental disorders, psychiatric disorders, glenside hospital, sa health, z ward, criminally insane, kitchen
Now a Kitchen for Students


The School of Art is taking care to renovate these buildings in a manner appropriate to their heritage listings. New facilities include temporary student studios, a library and student common room. An additional staircase has been added externally to avoid changing the original building's structure.

mental health and, mental health, mental illness, mental disorders, psychiatric disorders, glenside hospital, sa health, z ward, criminally insane, staircase
New Staircase


The Mortuary

mental health and, mental health, mental illness, mental disorders, psychiatric disorders, glenside hospital, sa health, z ward, criminally insane, mortuary
Former Mortuary at Glenside Hospital


The hospital mortuary (or dead house on the original plans) was distant from the old Lunatic Asylum. It was a small building constructed in 1880 of Glen Osmond bluestone with rendered parapets, quoins and surrounds to windows and door openings.

Extensions on the north side for a viewing room and a laboratory on the south side were between 1919-23. The viewing room has a coloured window with lead lighted glass giving it the air of a chapel.

mental health and, mental health, mental illness, mental disorders, psychiatric disorders, glenside hospital, sa health, z ward, criminally insane, mortuary
The Mortuary - Part of Helen Mayo Pod


The mortuary exterior has now been carefully restored, but it's part in the Glenside Hospital redevelopment is curious almost to the point of bizarre - it is now surrounded closely on three sides by the Helen Mayo building with striking contemporary architecture.

The redevelopment FAQ state The former mortuary will be sympathetically redeveloped as part of the Helen Mayo pod. If that is the case then I dread to see an unsympathetic development.

It brings to mind the phrase "In the midst of life we are in death", as the Helen Mayo clinic is an acute mother-baby unit dealing with mental health and related problems of mothers after childbirth.

mental health and, mental health, mental illness, mental disorders, psychiatric disorders, glenside hospital, sa health, z ward, criminally insane, viewing room
Leadlighting in Window of Viewing Room


In 2003 the conservation architects stated: Internally, the Mortuary building retains most of the components that supported its function and still illustrate its former role, which gives the building high integrity and a high interpretive potential.

With that in mind, the Glenside Hospital Historical Society is hopeful that they may be able to use the mortuary as part of a future museum.

More information about the mortuary can be found here.

Former Chapel and Dining Room

mental health and, mental health, mental illness, mental disorders, psychiatric disorders, glenside hospital, sa health, z ward, criminally insane, chapel
Former Glenside Hospital Chapel & Women's Dining Room


Although originally built in 1880 as a combined chapel and dining room for women, this building was not used as a chapel until 1970.

mental health and, mental health, mental illness, mental disorders, psychiatric disorders, glenside hospital, sa health, z ward, criminally insane, chapel
Former Chapel Entrance


In 1963 the ground floor was equipped with many wooden tables and chairs, each seating four. There were even table cloths for the diners.

mental health and, mental health, mental illness, mental disorders, psychiatric disorders, glenside hospital, sa health, z ward, criminally insane, chapel interior
Chapel Interior


Although the mortuary was given coloured windows with lead lighting, there were no such refinements in the chapel. However the high arched wooden ceiling gave the chapel interior an ecclesiastical air.
Help us improve  Click here if you liked this article  100
Share: email  facebook  twitter
Why? Learn how mental health patients once lived
Phone: 0406 980 962
Where: 226, Fullarton Rd, Glenside, SA
Your Comment
You did extremely well to take so many photos with the absence of tour participants. Was a fascinating tour - thanks for the recommendation. Apparently there will be another tour held next Sun due to overwhelming interest.
by Yin-Yin Ow (score: 3|1589) 1401 days ago
Brilliant thank you !
by mehid (score: 2|131) 1403 days ago
Stunning photographs as always Dave.
by Nadine Cresswell-Myatt (score: 3|4298) 1396 days ago
Great articles, thank you! The buildings are so beautiful and it's good to see them being used again, although I'm not sure I understand the reasoning behind surrounding the old mortuary with contemporary architecture.
by lilli (score: 1|73) 1400 days ago
Thank you interesting indeed
by paula (score: 0|5) 862 days ago
I think it would depend how long ago they were admitted. If in the last 10 years try the Dept of Health, otherwise try State Archives.
by Dave Walsh (score: 4|10015) 1182 days ago
Where does one find relatives medical records of previous patients admitted to Glenside hospital?
by Beach (score: 0|2) 1182 days ago
More Adelaide articles
Articles from other cities
Featured
Foodi Photoh Classie
Top Events
Popular Articles
Categories
Lists
Questions