It's been eighteen months since Z Ward at Glenside Hospital was first opened to the public by the National Trust, and in that time it has proved to be a very popular Adelaide attraction. Z Ward was an asylum for the criminally insane that the state government sold to Beach Energy in 2014, and has since been made available to the National Trust.
Z Ward has a somewhat grim history: it was a place of no return for many patients incarcerated at the Governor's pleasure. Despite that, it has become a major heritage tourism attraction for people of all ages. It's surprisingly popular with families and young people who are shocked that such a place could have existed once. Older people like to come and discover what hides behind the high walls that they have known about for so long.
The Air Outside is a clever play on words that captures the spirit of being inside the former asylum, with a hint of longing for freedom. On another level the event celebrates the achievements of South Australian architect E.J Woods who designed Z Ward, and installed a unique ventilation system which brought The Air Outside into the cells.
Z Ward is sometimes portrayed as a place with clattering in the night, fingernails scraping over stone, and wind howling through cells - but The Air Outside is instead a family historical adventure. It's full of fun things to do that will delve into the mind and history of the man who created this infamous facility.
In a similar vein to a light hearted murder mystery night, you will need to locate clues and discover secrets in this building to learn about the man who has been described as "one of the greatest architects in the Commonwealth". You will find out more about one of SA's great architects as you explore Z Ward.
The Air Outside - Look for Clues in Z Ward Asylum Airing Court
Search for your clues within cells to uncover information on E.J Woods - you will need to enter each cell to make sure you don't miss clues. Each clue will provide some extra detail on Woods' life and career, especially his involvement with the arts. It's not well known that this prolific architect was also an art enthusiast, and a founding member of the South Australian Society of Artists.
Beautiful music from the 1800's era will play while you are moving through the building and grounds, which will inspire you to find exactly where string quartet 'Veloce Strings" is playing as you get closer and closer to the music. Z Ward is now in demand as a musical performance venue following the successful Hidden Sounds of the Z Ward during the Adelaide Fringe Festival.
The Air Outside is a two hour self-guided adventure presented by Emma Knights Productions and The National Trust to create awareness and a respectful and immersive historical experience of Z Ward. It will be equally appealing to adults and children as one of the most exciting things to do in the History Festival.
Emma Knights is a highly respected producer specialising in musical and historical events. Her other productions include Floating Melodies - a trip on the River Torrens in iconic Adelaide style on Popeye. A new event, the May the Fourth Planetarium Experience is a unique and adventurous activity at the Adelaide Planetarium which you should also consider.