Topic ID #37526 - posted 10/20/2016 6:24 PM

Historical Archaeology field school, Tasmania Australia - February 2017


Willow Court Asylum

New Norfolk, Tasmania, Australia


February 7 – 13 2017.  Flinders University


The Historical Archaeology Field School is run in conjunction with the Derwent Valley Council and the Willow Court History Group in New Norfolk, Tasmania, at the site of the historic Willow Court, Australia's oldest, continuously used lunatic asylum. 

The Field School is an ongoing project to document the lives and experiences of patients and staff inside the institution since 1830. In 2017 we will be excavating key portions of the site to recover details of such things as patient treatment, living and working conditions, health, diet, rules and regulations. Other elements of the field school will include collecting oral histories from former staff, recording ghost stories associated with the site and trying to understand the contemporary community's relationship to the place and its past.

Previous field schools have catalogued the range of moveable items that were retained when the hospital closed in 2000, mapped the site and conducted geophysical surveys over the sites of former buildings.


From 1826 New Norfolk was home to Tasmania’s and Australia's first purpose-built asylum, which later became known as Willow Court and part of the Royal Derwent Hospital. The asylum operated continuously in the one location until 2000.

“The Barracks” is the original and oldest building that can still be viewed today and dates to 1830.


For overseas and interstate students

For further information

Associate Professor Heather Burke

Or visit the Historical Archaeology Field School webpage


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