Behind the Wall: The Women of the Destitute Asylum Adelaide 1852-1918
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Media: BOOK - paperback, 72 pages
Author: M. Geyer
Year: (1994) 2018
Other: b&w photos, appendixes
Publisher: Wakefield Press
In 1994, the Migration Museum employed Mary Geyer to research and write a book about the women who had lived, worked given birth and in some cases died at the Destitute Asylum. Whilst reseaching the origins of the Desitute Asylum it was discovered that part of the site had been used for four years as a Female Immigration Depot. It was the pressure of thousands of women, all penniless, many pregant and alone, that prompted the colonial government to build special quarters which later included a Lying-In Hospital and Mothers' Wards.
'She wore a severe blue-grey dress and a white apron like her fellow female inmates. The dress was standard issue and had been made by women who had lived behind the wall before her. It was not designed to flatter, but to last.'
'Behind the Wall' is a compelling social history which provides an insight into Adelaide's Destitute Asylum and the women who experienced life behind its walls.
Based on historical documents and accounts provided by descendants of the women of the Destitute Asylum, these are the stories of those women who endured life as South Australia's paupers.
Behind the Wall
'Imperfect Ties of a new society'
- Women in the Destitute Asylum 1852-56
'Excessive Female Immigration'
- Female Migrants 1852-56
'The Proper Objects of Relief'
- Women in the Asylum 1860s and 1870s
'A Hospital for the Aged, Decrepit or Diseased'
- Women in the Asylum 1880s to 1917
- Women in the Lying-in Home 1852-56
'If Her Child Shall So Long Live'
- Lying-in Women 1860s to 1880s
One Woman's Story
The Closure of the Lying-In Home
List of Sources