Attending Madness: At Work in the Australian Colonial Asylum
'He is what we would call a very good attendant, who would not run away or flinch from any patient, but would try to have his orders carried out if possible.' Such was the view of William Coady, attendant to the insane in the British settler colony of Victoria, Australia in the 1870s.
Attending Madness is a history of William Coady's occupation, a history of asylum work and workers in nineteenth-century Australia. It considers not only who attendants were and why they worked in the asylum, but also how they and others variously defined 'the very good attendant'.
Colonial asylum advocates imagined the attendant as an archetype, drawing on ideas from Britain about the nature of insanity and its treatment. In exploring the articulation of these ideas in a colonial context, and their effect on the asylum workplace, Lee-Ann Monk makes an important contribution to the international history of the asylum. She also opens new dimensions in the history of this occupation, on which the fate of patients very much depended, by analysing attendants' efforts to construct an occupational identity and give meaning to their work, thus providing new insights into their sense of themselves and their occupation.
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3 We Have Always Conducted Ourselves Independently
4 Artisans of Reason
6 A Different Class of Attendants
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appointment Ararat Argus Melbourne artisan asserted asylum employment asylum workers attendant’s Australian Beechworth Bend Lunatic Asylum Board of Visitors Bowie Chief Secretary Coleborne colony’s asylums conduct Conolly December Digby dismissal domestic duty Embling emphasised female attendants File gaol gender Hanwell Asylum Henry Staunton historian History Hospitals Ibid insane Inspector institution July keeper Kew Inquiry leave Legislative Assembly letter London Lunacy Madness male attendants married masculine McCrea mechanical restraint Medical Officer men’s Miller Minutes of Evidence moral therapy moral treatment Nineteenth-Century non-restraint Nursing O’Donovan occupation Paley patients petition Port Phillip Port Phillip Gazette proper PROV Psychiatry reformers Regulations Report responsibility Richardson Robertson Routledge Royal Commission Scull Select Committee servants sexual South Wales staff Staunton suggests Superintendent Yarra Bend Superintendent’s Surgeon-Superintendent testimony therapeutic University Press Victorian Parliament VPRS 19 wage ward warders women attendants Yarra Bend Asylum Yarra Bend Inquiry Yarra Bend Lunatic