Story: Mental health services

Conditions in lunatic asylums, 1866

Conditions in lunatic asylums, 1866

The Dunedin Lunatic Asylum was opened in 1863 on the outskirts of the city. Its ‘plain and dismal-looking’ exterior led many locals to feel concerned about conditions in the hospital. However, three years later the Southland Times (26 September 1866, p. 2) printed this enthusiastic report. It found that 'the lodge at the entrance looked the very ideal of comfort,' while 'well-clothed and admirably clean-looking men' were working on the native plants in the grounds. Ten years later, the asylum was overcrowded. The much larger and grander Seacliff Asylum was built on a commanding site miles from the city, and the original site was turned over to Otago Boys’ High School. 

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National Library of New Zealand, Papers Past
Reference: Southland Times, 26 September 1866, p. 2

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How to cite this page:

Warwick Brunton, 'Mental health services - Lunatic asylums, 1840s to 1900s', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/document/29409/conditions-in-lunatic-asylums-1866 (accessed 29 October 2021)

Story by Warwick Brunton, published 5 May 2011, reviewed & revised 21 Jun 2018