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See our unique medical history at Z Ward
Come to the Open day at Z Ward For This Unique Medical Exhibition
South Australia has a relatively brief but impressive Medical Heritage, one that is cherished by members of the South Australian Medical Heritage Society (SAMHS). The Society is committed to the appreciation of medical history, to identifying and recording artefacts of medical interest, and to making medical heritage information more readily available.
Over many years SAMHS has accumulated a variety of of medical instruments and other equipment that was once used in hospitals and medical institutions in South Australia. It was always hoped that the collection could be displayed in its own museum, but to date it has largely remained in storage.
On Saturday May 12, the historic Z Ward of Glenside Hospital will host the South Australian Medical Heritage Society's first public Medical Memorabilia Display as part of South Australia's History Festival. The gates of Z Ward will be thrown open for a free Open Day, and a variety of vintage and retro medical equipment will be displayed for this unique exhibition.
Reflecting the broad membership base of the Medical Heritage Society, there will be a wide variety of equipment from differing medical fields on display. You will see instruments used in the development of anaesthesia, pharmacy items, early dentistry instruments, EEG and ECG machines, memorabilia relating to Richard Schomburgk and the Botanical Gardens, and selected DVDs on aspects of medicine.
This year's display will encompass the first fifty years of electro-convulsive therapy (ECT) in South Australia. Parkside Mental Hospital (as it was then known) was the first hospital in Australia to use ECT, beginning in 1941. Unfortunately the timing devices required for ECT machines were reserved for use in World War 2 bombing mechanisms, but the Physics Department of the University of Adelaide successfully substituted the dial mechanism from a rotary telephone instead.
Early ECT machines were initially tested on rabbits, before being used successfully on patients with schizophrenia or those suffering from manic depression at Glenside Hospital. Patients were also put under the knife, with the first psychosurgery procedure completed at Parkside in 1945.
Visitors to the Medical Memorabilia Display are welcome to visit the secure cells and explore the grounds on a self-guided tour for the Z Ward Open Day. A donation is requested from visitors to cover costs of mounting the exhibition. Find more details of this event on the History Festival website. You can learn more about the South Australian Medical Heritage Society on their website.
Please note that access to the Open Day at Z Ward is not possible from the Fullarton Road entry to Glenside Hospital. You should enter via Conyngham Street at the brown street sign.
Photos of medical memorabilia used in this article are for illustration only, as others were not available. The instruments for brain surgeons are at the Kapunda Museum, the X Ray equipment is in the ETSA Museum collection, and other photos are from the Repatriation Hospital Museum.