"This study of Ballarat and its Asylum covers the period between the 1850s and the early 1900s when an old-age pension was introduced in Victoria. It is essentially a case study. It argues that Ballarat's Asylum progressively developed and expanded upon a model of organised poor relief practiced among the industrial classes in England, in consequence of the perceived need for rapid capital expansion in Australia, and knowledge of the dangers associated with mining, building construction, and other manual work. The introduction of a secular education system in Victoria, together with enthusiasm among producers for technological innovation and skill development, led to changes in the nature and conditions of paid work, as well as to a push among workers and their sympathizers for greater appreciation of past contributions by older workers and the needs of the ill and/or incapacitated. This push was only partially addressed by the Victorian government in 1901 when it introduced the old-age pension."
This paper explores the practice of care for patients in Aradale, the asylum established in the rural city of Ararat on the Victorian goldfields in 1867. It describes the institution's descent into madness, from the idealized image of treatment behind its construction to the abject failure of the institution to realize those ideals and the resulting horror of its history. The paper utilizes a multidisciplinary approach, drawing on both historical methodology and Jungian analysis in trying to understand the history of the asylum and the society in which it operated.