One thing I look forward to, when driving along Fullarton Road is enjoying the expansive tree lined frontage of Glenside Hospital with its groves of mature eucalypts, conifers and other species dominating the grounds of this iconic Adelaide site.

Even better than driving past is to stop, and have stroll around. It’s only then that you appreciate how majestic and wonderful these grounds really are. And like all good gardens, they have tales to tell, and in Glenside’s case some of those stories are dark, mysterious and sinister.

One person who knows the strange but true history of Glenside is Alison Osborn, owner of Adelaide’s Haunted Horizons, and someone who loves spreading the word about Glenside’s intriguing past.

Creating a spiritual connection to Glenside’s Z ward turbulent past and our sobering present is clairvoyant, Liz McCaskill.

Designed by Edward John Woods, SA Architect in Chief from 1878 to 1886, the construction of Z Ward for Criminal and Refractory Patients commenced in September 1884 with the contract being let to William Pett & Son, builders. Work proceeded smoothly, completion being achieved in the second half of 1885. The polychromatic brickwork technique used by Wood in its design is the most elaborate, sophisticated example of this architectural style in South Australia.

Only a minority of patients who were accommodated in Z Ward were Governor’s pleasure patients: those acquitted of their crime on the grounds of their insanity. The majority were people charged and convicted of a minor offence, but exhibiting sufficient signs of psychiatric instability that it was thought more beneficial for them to be placed in an asylum rather than in a gaol to serve their sentence. Another small group of patients were those who were considered to be dangerous to themselves or to others and were placed in there for the protection of the Asylum’s other inmates. Z Ward closed on the 13th December 1973

Whether you believe in ghosts or not, I can tell you Glenside’s Z ward is one place where you definitely question those beliefs. There is an errieness and a presence that pervades this space like I felt nowhere else. Spooky? Oh yes, If you are interested in have the wits scared out of you then I’ suggest booking in for one of Alison’s tours, but don’t blame me if you can only sleep with lights on afterwards. I know I’ll be doing that tonight!








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In the Garden is an exciting new local South Australian TV program on Channel 9 this Summer & next Autumn showcasing the best ‘green’ stories this state has to tell. Check out the latest in garden trends, new plants and top tips to keep those gardens blooming.