The buildings that now house the Migration Museum were once part of Adelaide’s Destitute Asylum. This site, which had been Kaurna land for millennia, was occupied by Europeans from the late 1830s. A new exhibition has opened which tells the story of the site, from the early Native School Establishment, through the use as a Desitute Asylum, and later usage by the SA Government Department of Chemistry.
Research for the exhibition has uncovered the names and birthdates of the 1678 babies born at the Destitute Asylum between 1880 and 1909, and we remember these children through a memorial artwork in the gallery. Touch-screen interactives allow visitors to explore some of the original documents used by the Destitute Board, and to investigate the stories of several families.
The new exhibition is in the former Lying-in Home building, purpose built in 1878. After 1918 the Lying In Home and Mother's Ward buildings were used by the SA Government Chemistry Department until 1978, and the Migration Museum opened in 1986.