Apart from J Ward (which I covered yesterday) and One Tree Hill, there really isn’t all that much to see in Ararat, a few gardens and other historic buildings. Then there is Aradale which was a lunatic asylum built in 1860s, along with it’s sister asylums in Kew and Beechworth. We visited Beechworth a few years back, you can read about it here.
It’s hard to believe that Aradale was only closed in 1993, that’s the year my youngest was born! It didn’t take much to get locked up either. Unwed mothers, stubborn, wilful wives, people with down syndrome or epilepsy, as well as people with various physical and mental disabilities. Kind of scary when you think about it. I know we say thankfully these institutions are no longer running, but these people actually received better care than what they probably would have received elsewhere. Many reportedly lived to see long then average lifespans. But then it is a sorry state of affairs to see they conditions they lived in. None of the rooms had bathroom facilities. In it’s hey day had over 1,000 residents, and more often than not had to sleep naked in freezing cold rooms, on their own. The original bathroom had to be seen to even fathom the conditions, the newer bathrooms (outside no less and open to the air) were not really much better.
Again, we had a private guided tour with our photography group and had our model Emily and an op shop dress with us and managed to capture some hauntingly beautiful, and some disturbing images here too.
We were also allowed to visit the morgue, so some of the following images are a bit creepy. I also captured some images of Emily on the autopsy table, which went beyond art and I am honestly not sure I want to share them, perhaps one day. But I know Em and her Dad probably do not wish to see them, they look a little too ‘real’. We also had a couple of brave ladies who volunteered to get in ‘the drawer’
I am sure these are creepy enough for most of you for now, I know Emily found the one image of her ‘re-animated’ on the autopsy table a little confronting.