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19 March 1849 Destitute Asylum


9 March 1849   Destitute Asylum

The first meeting of the Destitute Board, appointed by the Government, took place on 19 March 1849. At first they dealt with people in need of immediate assistance, but as the problems of the poor, infirm or orphaned in the colony escalated the Board had to find accommodation for those without anywhere to live. In May 1851 some of these dependents moved into temporary new premises which were part of the barracks complex next to Government House. The first building, around which the Destitute Asylum on Kintore Avenue grew, was built in 1857. Over the years other buildings were added, and were divided into nearly 50 separate usages, grouped around quadrangles.

One of the main buildings was the Lying-in Hospital which was a large complex by 1881, but it had declined by 1900 and closed down in 1919 partly because the Queen's Home (Queen Victoria Hospital) built in 1902, began to take unmarried mothers in 1917. This building was remodelled and renovated for use by the Chemistry Department although few structural changes were made. The chapel was built as a schoolroom for orphanned children in the Asylum in 1865 and became the chapel for the Imperial Garrison when the children were moved to the Industrial School at Magill and the Grace Darling premises at Brighton.

The conglomeration of buildings also included a nursery, store, wash-house, stables, and morgue. Only four of the buildings now remain and are used to house the Migration Museum.

Susan Marsden, Paul Stark, Patricia Sumerling (eds), Heritage of the City of Adelaide, Corporation of the City of Adelaide, 1990,  pp. 258-260.

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