The Maddest Place on Earth

The Maddest Place on Earth

Book - 2018
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"Gold-fuelled Melbourne was booming, but dwelling in the fault lines of the proud young colony was an alarming fact ? Victoria had the highest rate of insanity in the world. Was it the antipodean sun, gold mania, excessive masturbation, the heady pace of modern life? The true story of colonial Victoria's quest to cure insanity unfolds through the lives of three English newcomers - a gifted artist, exiled from his homeland for his madness; an ambitious doctor, bringing enlightened treatment ideals to his post in charge of the overflowing asylum; and a mysterious undercover journalist, who sensationally exposed the lunatics' plight in Melbourne's press. Amid the clamour of fraught endeavours and maddened minds, the story reveals unexpected hope, creativity and ennobling humanity ? and surprising contemporary relevance as we continue to grapple with this ancient human malady."--Back cover.
Publisher: North Melbourne, Vic :, Australian Scholarly Publishing,, 2018.
Copyright Date: ©2018.
ISBN: 9781925588958
Characteristics: x, 199 pages, 10 pages of unnumbered plates : illustrations, portraits, facsimiles ; 23 cm.

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Insanity in Colonial Victoria

Journey back to the world of Melbourne's early lunatic asylums with writer and clinical psychologist, Jill Giese. Heidelberg Historical Society presents The Remarkable Story of Insanity in Colonial Victoria Presented by Jill Giese Winner of the 2018 Victorian Premier's History Award for her book The Maddest Place on Earth. These asylums were overflowing with patients as Victoria grappled… (more)


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LSS YPRL Family History Feb 04, 2019

In the 19th century, Victoria had the highest rate of what was then referred to as insanity in Australia. Jill Giese’s book reveals amid rich historical detail the local explanations for the record number of people being held in the state’s asylums, using a brilliant fusion of serious scholarship... Read More »

In the 19th century, Victoria had the highest rate of what was then referred to as insanity in Australia. Jill Giese’s book reveals amid rich historical detail the local explanations for the record number of people being held in the state’s asylums, using a brilliant fusion of serious scholarship... Read More »


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jr3083
May 01, 2019

This book won the Victorian Premier’s History Award for this book, and it fully deserves it. It is beautifully written, although perhaps a little fervent at times, and it is a deeply compassionate book. By foregrounding the long-term experience of George as patient, the Vagabond as attendant and journalist, and to a lesser extent Dr Paley as administrator, she gives a human face to mental illness as a lived experience. It’s a wonderful read.

For my complete review, see
http://residentjudge.com/2019/05/01/the-maddest-place-on-earth-by-jill-giese/

In the 19th century, Victoria had the highest rate of what was then referred to as insanity in Australia. Jill Giese’s book reveals amid rich historical detail the local explanations for the record number of people being held in the state’s asylums, using a brilliant fusion of serious scholarship and imaginative writing. Winner of the Victorian Community History Award 2018

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