By C. Coleborne
Insanity within the kinfolk explores how colonial households coped with madness via a trans-colonial learn of the relationships among households and public colonial hospitals for the insane in New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland and New Zealand among 1860 and 1914.
Read or Download Madness in the Family: Insanity and Institutions in the Australasian Colonial World, 1860–1914 PDF
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Extra info for Madness in the Family: Insanity and Institutions in the Australasian Colonial World, 1860–1914
The 1863 report about colonial asylums by the British Colonial Office relied upon information about asylums collected from colonial governments, who responded to a series of questions. Their answers were then collated to form the basis of the report. The colonial governance of insanity in public institutions puzzled the British authorities. In their own British context, as the preamble to the report pointed out, institutions had sprung from the ‘bounty and philanthropy of private persons’ while in the colonies, institutions were almost totally supported by public funds and thus relied upon legislative authorities for their continued existence.
The first Australasian colony to establish an institution for the insane was New South Wales. Leaving aside Castle Hill, which operated from 1811 until 1926 to relieve the colony’s gaols of the insane, Tarban Creek Lunatic Asylum was the first purpose-built asylum. 51 The institution was located west of Sydney near the Parramatta River. The colony of Victoria gained autonomy from New South Wales in 1851. From the 1840s, Port Philip ‘lunatics’ were still sent to New South Wales, but the first buildings comprising Yarra Bend Asylum were established by the 1850s, and patients transferred from the gaol to the new site.
An uneasy relationship with local aboriginal peoples was established, and European diseases including smallpox ravaged their population. As the colonists pushed northwards and into the west, frontier violence and conflict raged over subsequent decades, destroying most of the indigenous peoples’ links to their lands. By 1840, when New Zealand’s first settlers established rights over land, forming a treaty with Maori, there had already been around five decades of a serious European presence in this region of the southern hemisphere, with fledgling colonies growing up around Port Philip (Victoria after 1852), South Australia, Queensland (1859) and Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania after 1855).
Madness in the Family: Insanity and Institutions in the Australasian Colonial World, 1860–1914 by C. Coleborne