Façade of success: Woogaroo Lunatic Asylum 1865-1969
thesisposted on 06.12.2017, 00:00 by Julie Bradshaw
This thesis explores the beginning years of Woogaroo Lunatic Asylum, Queensland, 1865-1869. It examines what it was like for the people who lived and worked in this institution and the trajectory of the Asylum. During the period 1865 to 1869, the Asylum was subjected to four public Inquiries and these Inquiries provide the structure for this thesis and the lens through which the Asylum is explored. By examining a short period of time, this thesis captures the interaction between social, political and economic factors that characterised this period of colonial Queensland history and demonstrates their influence on the Asylum. While situating the Asylum within this broad frame, other more specific influences are also apparent and include particular personalities and the press, which had an impact on the trajectory of the Asylum, and the experiences of the patients and staff. This thesis demonstrates that patient experiences at the Asylum were largely negative and the Asylum from its inception was unsuitable, and further, its conditions would continue to deteriorate as the Government neglected its needs. Finally, this thesis concludes that the trajectory of the Asylum’s first five years was a consequence of a complex interplay between broad socio-political and economic factors as well as more specific influences of particular personalities and the press, all interacting with the many institutional layers of a new asylum staffed by inexperienced people.