Families, insanity and the psychiatric institution in Australia and New Zealand, 1860-1914
Coleborne, C. (2006). Families, insanity and the psychiatric institution in Australia and New Zealand, 1860-1914. Health and History: Australian Asylums and their Histories, 11, 65-82.
Permanent Research Commons link: http://hdl.handle.net/10289/2895
International historians have begun to challenge the view that the nineteenth-century psychiatric hospital was a place of horrors and custody, and have shown that families were sometimes intimate with the institutions of the past, often participating in the process of institutional committal. This article explores the state of historical inquiry into families and insanity in Australia and New Zealand. It asserts that by re-examining patient cases we might find fresh insights into the dynamic between families and mental health. Through a close examination of archival sources, the article argues, we can see the presence of families ‘inside’ the asylum in several ways. Overall, the article suggests that institutional archives present both opportunity and risk for historians intent on discovering ‘what happened’ to the insane and their families.
Australian and New Zealand Society of the History of Medicine
This article has been published in the journal: Health and History. Used with permission.