Posts Tagged ‘ Australia ’

New issue – Medical History


The new issue of Medical History includes one article that could be of interest to H-Madness readers: Angela McCarthy, Catharine Coleborne, Maree O’Connor and Elspeth Knewstubb, ‘Lives in the Asylum Record, 1864 to 1910: Utilising Large Data Collection for Histories of Psychiatry and Mental Health‘. The abstract reads:

This article examines the research implications and uses of data for a large project investigating institutional confinement in Australia and New Zealand. The cases of patients admitted between 1864 and 1910 at four separate institutions, three public and one private, provided more than 4000 patient records to a collaborative team of researchers. The utility and longevity of this data and the ways to continue to understand its significance and contents form the basis of this article’s interrogation of data collection and methodological issues surrounding the history of psychiatry and mental health. It examines the themes of ethics and access, record linkage, categories of data analysis, comparison and record keeping across colonial and imperial institutions, and constraints and opportunities in the data itself. The aim of this article is to continue an ongoing conversation among historians of mental health about the role and value of data collection for mental health and to signal the relevance of international multi-sited collaborative research in this field.


Book announcement – The Prophet of Psychiatry: In Search of Reg Ellery

Screenshot from 2016-01-03 15-33-42Robert M. Kaplan, Clinical Associate Professor at the Wollongong University, has recently published an autobiography of the Australian psychiatrist Reg Ellery.

Reg Ellery was a prominent psychiatrist in Australia between the wars. He pioneered new treatments (malarial-fever treatment), helped establishing psychoanalysis and was also a convinced  communist.

Article: Deporting Lunatic Migrants from Western Australia, 1924-1939

hist compass
The March 2011 issue of History Compass includes an article by Philippa Martyr dealing with the history of psychiatry. It is entitled  “Having a Clean Up? Deporting Lunatic Migrants from Western Australia, 1924-1939”.

The abstract reads:

Between 1924 and 1939, over 100 immigrants were deported from Western Australian mental hospitals. These deported ‘lunatics’ fell within the 3-year (and later 5-year) window between arrival and becoming ‘a charge on the state’. This meant that they could be deported by the Australian Commonwealth government under Section 8a of the amended Immigration Restriction Act. So who were these lunatic migrants? Were they already unwell and deliberately encouraged to migrate to Australia by unscrupulous foreign governments? Were they simply people for whom the pressures of life in an unfamiliar culture, in the middle of a global economic depression, became too much? By examining these deportees in more detail, and looking at factors such as their ethnic background and diagnosis, some underlying reasons as to why these individuals were targeted for deportation become apparent.

For more information, see

Issues in Mental Health Nursing

The October issue of Issues in Mental Health Nursing is available online and includes an article by Philipa Martyr entitled A Lesson in Vigilance? Mental Health Nursing Training in Western Australia, 1903-1958. The abstract reads:

Researching examples of historical hospital-based training can provide some measure of the improvements in mental health nursing education which have taken place over time. Claremont Hospital for the Insane was the only major stand-alone psychiatric institution in Western Australia, and recent research into its mental health nursing training program between 1903 and 1958 provides an example of how nursing training could suffer in the hospital setting. There is much to learn from Claremont’s experience: Not just to measure how far mental health nursing has progressed since that time, but also as a reminder of why and how accountability, supervision, and independent auditing all help to ensure quality delivery of training.

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