Prisons for the Mad - Inside the Nineteenth Century Asylum?
As this exhibition contains selected resources relating to Seacliff Lunatic Asylum, it may not be possible to answer all of the questions using the images and photographs on this website – you will need to use other resources, such as printed publications, the Internet, or other archival records.
Some of the questions were developed for a 2007 workshop for Year 13 students interested in studying history at university. This was led by Professor Barbara Brookes, of the History Department of University of Otago. For a full size version of the Question Sheet, click on the on thumbnail image of the Sheet or print off this page: Question Sheet
When starting research, printed government publications, like annual reports, relating to the particular government activity concerned provide an overview. For example, the Annual Reports of the Inspector General of Asylums. They contain statistics, reports of the official visitors, reports of the medical superintendents of each asylum, etc. They are published annually in the Appendices to the Journals of the House of Representatives of New Zealand (commonly known as the AJHRs). AJHRs are held in local public libraries.
The PapersPast website, containing digitised images of selected newspapers, provides access to relevant newspaper reports, for example proceedings of Government inquiries, public comment and opinion, etc.
More information on the History Curriculum is on the Te Kete Ipurangi – The Online Learning Centre website.
Many of the archives relating Seacliff Lunatic Asylum, Seacliff Mental Hospital and Cherry Farm Hospital are restricted. The restrictions are: 100 years for information about patients, 75 years for information about staff or students, and 50 years for administrative records. The restrictions are placed on the records by the agency who transferred them. The restrictions on access are to protect the privacy of the individuals. The relevant legislation is the Health Information Privacy Code 1994 (revised in 2008) and the Privacy Act 1993. The restrictions are administered by the Southern District Health Board.
Further assistance and comments
More information about Archives New Zealand’s Dunedin Regional Office holdings relating to Seacliff Lunatic Asylum, Seacliff Mental Hospital and Cherry Farm Hospital, is on our ARCHWAY database and in our Mental Health Research Guide.
Our contact details are:
Street Address: 556 George Street, Dunedin, New Zealand
Postal Address: PO Box 6183, Dunedin 9059
Telephone: +64 3 477 04 04
We also offer tours of the Archives, demonstrations of Archway, or we can do presentations or seminars on selected topics.
We welcome any comments you may have about this exhibition.