Historical board game based on the Dunwich Benevolent Asylum

Women's quarters at Dunwich Benevolent Asylum, North Stradbroke Island, 1914. State Library of Queensland. Negative number: 67673

The North Stradbroke Island Historical Museum is developing an historical game about the Dunwich Benevolent Asylum.  A cross between Monopoly and Snakes and Ladders, the board game is on a 2-metre square canvas with a map of the 1910 Benevolent Asylum superimposed over the present day landscape and landmarks.  Artist Joanne Kaspari is assisting to make the board game an artwork.

Historic digitised photos provided from the State Library of Queensland will be used for location images and game cards.  The game content will include Asylum locations and other primary source material: Admission registers, Dunwich Benevolent Asylum 1907 enquiry transcripts, historic maps etc.  Artefacts from the museums Benevolent Asylum collection will be used as props in the game. 

The objective of the game is to engage visiting school children in understanding this forgotten institutional history of Queensland.  By becoming an inmate and traversing the landscape of the circa 1910 Benevolent Asylum, the players will experience daily life scenarios.  Cards with historic photos of locations will have information and scenarios that will navigate the player around the Benevolent Asylum.  The scenarios are taken from a variety of primary source materials that are in the museum’s collection and from external institutions such as the State Library of Queensland. 

By using these primary source photographs, the game should bring to life an aspect of Queensland history.  Hopefully, it will contribute to an understanding of colonisation and reveal the cultural notions that provided underpinning to Queensland institutions.

Elisabeth Gondwe - North Stradbroke Historical Museum & Catherine Cottle - Digital Collections Curator, State Library of Queensland

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