As an introduction to our final Stage 2 Psychology topic ‘Healthy Minds’ students went on excursion to Z Ward. For almost 90 years Glenside’s Z Ward was home to South Australia’s “criminally insane”, patients who sat on the overlapping edges of criminality and mental illness. Completed in 1885, Z Ward was a significant architectural statement designed by EJ Woods, the prominent South Australian designer and one-time Architect-in-Chief. EJ Woods helmed may other historically significant building projects in Adelaide such as the St Peter’s Cathedral and Parliament House and was in operation until the 1970’s. Z Ward’s high ceilings, magnificent windows and advanced ventilation system represents what was, for its time, an innovative attempt at providing a humane solution for patients.
The purpose of the excursion was for students to gain a greater understanding of the history of mental health, illness and treatment. To reflect on past histories and compare these with current mental health practices. Students were able to understand that with new knowledge and understanding comes new and improved practices and have a greater understanding of the impact of stigma associated with mental illness.
It was a wonderful and interesting way to explore the new topic and finish the term!