Knowing the history of your ancestors ( who they were, where they came from, what their trials and tribulations were, etc.) is an important part of knowing who you are. In that vein, the Migration Museum of South Australia in Adelaide makes an effort to define the diversity and multiculturalism of the development of the region. This social history museum, founded in 1983, is the oldest of its kind in Australia and a world first (even pre-dating the Ellis Island Museum of Immigration in New York City). Located next to the State Library of South Australia, this complex was once the site of the “Destitute Assylum” (1850 to 1918), housing up to 400 of the city’s poor, incurably sick, and disabled. It included a Lying-In Home for young pregnant women and at one time was six times larger than the current complex. But even before it was the Destitute Assylum, the site was used as a “Native School” to educate aboriginal children. Because of this complex’s link to the history of South Australia’s development, admission is free.
When we first saw this complex, it was hard to imagine that, at one time, it was six times larger.
Prior to this building becoming the Destitute Assylum’s Chapel in 1871, it served as the schoolhouse for Assylum’s children.
These buildings housed the Mothers’ Wards of the Lying-In Home.
Between 1880 and 1909, nearly 1700 babies were born here. All of their names and birthdates are displayed on these slips of papers hung from the ceiling.
Over the years, the buildings served a variety of purposes...
...for instance as the laboratory for the “Chief Inspector of Explosives.” (OK...that’s different!).
Much of the daily life in the Destitute Assylum was regulated by this bell.
Beginning in 1815, an estimated 52 million people immigrated to South Australia from Britain and Europe on ships like this model.
These were the folks that built South Australia.
Carl and Lorraine Aveni are two retirees planning on traveling through Europe for at least one year.