Women and work at the Hyde Park Barracks Destitute Asylum, Sydney


Colonial authorities built numerous institutions in Australia during the nineteenth century to accommodate paupers, orphans, the sick, elderly and other ‘deserving poor’. Lurking in the background was the shadow of the workhouses of England and Ireland, which by the 1840s had earned an infamous reputation for harsh

discipline and poor treatment of inmates. How did conditions in Australian destitute asylums compare with those in Britain during this period? A recent Australian Research Council-funded project between the Historic Houses Trust of New South Wales and the Archaeology Program at La Trobe University has begun to address this problem, using a unique collection of artefacts from the Hyde Park Barracks in Sydney to explore the roles of labour and refuge in Australian destitute asylums. This material includes a diverse array of textiles and sewing equipment, leather fragments, paper documents and many other objects. Analysis of the artefacts reveals that the pauper women who occupied the Asylum between 1862 and 1886 worked hard at the daily routines of the institution, but in an environment which recognised their very human needs,

strengths and frailties.

Cite this Record

Women and work at the Hyde Park Barracks Destitute Asylum, Sydney. Peter Davies. Australasian Historical Archaeology. 28: 13-23. 2010 ( tDAR id: 426764)

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections

URL: http://www.asha.org.au/pdf/australasian_historical_archaeology/28_04_Davies.pdf

Temporal Coverage

Calendar Date: 1848 to 1886

Spatial Coverage

min long: 151.199; min lat: -33.882 ; max long: 151.22; max lat: -33.852 ;