Z Ward – Glenside, Australia - Atlas Obscura
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Glenside, Australia

Z Ward

A perfectly preserved abandoned criminal asylum in South Australia.  

Z Ward, a former hospital for the “criminally insane,” rests in the tranquil South Australian suburb of Glenside. Though long abandoned, this building remains perfectly intact and free from vandalism thanks to a protective wall with a deceptive height. 

Construction on the maximum-security facility began in 1885 and Z Ward greeted its first patients in 1887. The institution was built for the purpose of holding South Australia’s criminals who were too violent or mentally unfit for normal prison life. Z Ward functioned as part of the Glenside Hospital Campus, though was run more like a high-security jail to prevent escapes. 

Initially, the building was actually named L Ward, but this was swiftly changed once the nickname of “Hell Ward” developed. The building had the capacity to hold 40 patients at a time and often did so before it closed in 1973. 

Since the closure of Z Ward, the building has remained mostly vacant other than acting as a storage facility or hosting the odd arts event. The future of Z Ward remains uncertain, though it is rumored that it will be converted into office space soon.

Thankfully, for those who are interested in the history of this building, its supposed ghosts, or just hoping to take a peek through the empty former cells, some tours currently operate through the space. 

Know Before You Go

The interior of Z Ward can only be accessed by attending a paid tour. Day tours can be booked through the National Trust of South Australia and night time/ghost tours can be booked through Haunted Horizons.

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