Parramatta Lunatic Asylum - Early History

With few exceptions the care of the mentally ill in the earliest days of the Colony of New South Wales was not an issue that occupied the minds of those in authority, at least not until specific circumstances demanded their attention.  

Prior to 1811 the mentally ill, who were largely from the convict class, had been exposed to the brutality of the convict system with little consideration given for their illness. In the early days of the colony it can be presumed that many lunatic convicts died as the result of the harsh conditions where if you did not work - you did not eat, and they were also undoubtedly exploited by other convicts. Later, as conditions in the colony improved, the mentally ill were confined in gaols with the criminal and recidivist convicts where their lot was probably little better than before.

Copyright Dr Terrence Smith PhD. See our Facebook Page Mr Smith is happy to talk to organisations as a speaker on the early history of the site. The Female Factory site closed in 1848, the site is still a mental health facility in 2016.

See this story from Dr. Terry Smith on the future of the Cumberland Hospital