Z Ward at Glenside – Let me in!



The National Trust is calling on the State Government to include the community in the discussion on the future of the Z Ward building at Glenside. The Government yesterday announced it has sold the building and surrounding land to Beach Energy.

So far there has been no public consultation process on the future of the Z Ward building. Local residents, elected Councils and heritage advocates have not had an opportunity to put their suggestions forward for the future of the site.

“It is now time to open up the discussion on the future of Z Ward to include the community,” said Eric Heapy, CEO of the National Trust of South Australia. “The discussion needs to include the local community, the local Council and heritage groups to ensure that the heritage significance of Z Ward is properly recognised and protected for the future. “

The Trust is calling on the Government and the new building owners to let the public in on the discussion about the future of the Z Ward buildings.

Z Ward is a unique example of nineteenth century public architecture and an important reminder of how mentally ill patients were treated in the past.

Although its dark past is shrouded in mystery, Z Ward is as significant to South Australia’s history as more well-known sites like the Old Adelaide Gaol. Originally known as “L Ward” the building was constructed between 1884-85 to house criminal and refractory (obstinate, disobedient or stubbornly resisting) patients. The building was designed by Edward John Woods, one of Adelaide’s foremost nineteenth century architects. It features exceptional brickwork in the façade and was the first building in South Australia to make use of steel framed windows. Many of the features associated with its original purpose remain intact.

The National Trust lobbied to stop the demolition of the Z Ward building 40 years ago. Since that time it had been used as an archive by the Mines Department until it was placed on the market by the State Government in April.

Z Ward is a grand and forbidding building. The high walls and huge iron gates are a vivid reminder of its past as a place of incarceration. One of the particularly significant features is the Ha Ha wall that disguises the prison from the street by presenting an apparently low wall, which from the inside doubles to a formidable barrier through the use of 3 metre trench.

“Such unique features mark this as a special place, one that requires the highest form of heritage protection. We also need creative ideas from the local community and general public about future uses for the building. Any future uses must preserve the site’s physical and historical integrity and ensure that the building and the stories it tells are preserved and accessible for all time.”

Contact: Eric Heapy, CEO, National Trust of South Australia. Tel: (08) 8202 9214 Mob: 0409 494 014

The Heritage Watch website, please go to http://heritagewatch.net.au/


Entrance to Z Ward building


HaHa wall


Z Ward