Celebrating South Australia


31 March 1902 Lunatic Asylum, North Terrace

 31 March 1902   Lunatic Asylum, North Terrace

The old Lunatic Asylum on North Terrace was closed on 31 March 1902 although it was used as a consumptive home for a time afterwards. The asylum was commenced in 1850 and served until the Parkside Asylum opened in 1870.

On 11 August 1866 134 acres at Parkside were purchased for a new complex. Architect Robert Thomas (son of Robert Thomas of The Register) designed a building modelled on the latest asylums in England which were fireproof for safety and surrounded a central quadrangle. The buildings were constructed of iron girders with the spaces filled with concrete, the passages were partly paved and partly cement, the staircases were of colonial slate, and Glen Osmond stone was used for the walls, while there were fire proof ceilings beneath the timber and galvanised iron roof.

Walls of stone were built around the buildings with a Ha Ha (deep trench or moat) on each side to discourage any escape attempts. Much of the ground was cultivated for vegetable gardens and fruit trees. The eight foot high stone wall surrounding the property was built in 1885. It was reduced in height to three feet in 1962. 

The rather grim looking institution was known as the Parkside Lunatic Asylum until 1913 when it changed its name to Parkside Mental Hospital, and this was again changed in 1967 to Glenside Hospital. Other buildings have been added over the years and the changing attitudes to mental illness and modern treatment has seen improvements within the hospital. Although the exterior of the original buildings looks much the same these are now used mainly for administration. 

The North Terrace Asylum was demolished in 1938 and the ground absorbed into the Botanic Gardens.

1870-1970 Commemorating the Centenary of Glenside Hospital,  1970.