Set of five iron keys used at the mental health hospital Yarra Bend Asylum, possibly between 1848-1925. They were used to unlock the doors of wards and possibly work areas at Yarra Bend Lunatic Asylum, Victoria, Australia.

Yarra Bend Lunatic Asylum, also variously known as the Melbourne Lunatic Asylum or the Metropolitan Lunatic Asylum, was the first institution in the Port Phillip district of the colony of New South Wales for the reception and detention of individuals who had been deemed insane. Yarra Bend was opened in 1848 as a ward of the Tarban Creek Lunatic Asylum (later the Gladesville Mental Hospital) near Sydney. It became the first asylum of the colony of Victoria after it separated from New South Wales in 1851. Until the establishment of Yarra Bend, lunatics in Port Phillip, largely regarded as one segment of the broader deviant population, were detained in the settlement's gaols and lock-ups. Management of the mentally ill reflected prevailing custodial attitudes of the colony's convict origins. As such, Yarra Bend, when it was built, and even as it was added to and enlarged over time, continued to retain its reputation and a gloomy and gaol-like place, satisfactory for the segregation of the insane for the protection of society, but entirely unsuited to the restoration of sanity.

Physical Description

A bunch of five hand-made keys, made from what appears to be iron.The bunch is tied together with a piece of modern string. The keys are all very heavy and solid.

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