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Alexandra Wallis: Hysterical Women: Female Patients at the Fremantle Lunatic Asylum
Episode 3 engages with local Fremantle history and explores the lives of the female patients at the Fremantle Lunatic Asylum, 1858-1908, revealing what behaviours were acceptable or unacceptable for women in 19th century Fremantle. Alexandra explains the concept of moral insanity, and the ways in which women could be admitted to the Asylum for drunkenness or prostitution, or even just for their female bodies, seen as mad when it came to menstruation and pregnancy. Alexandra also details what life was like for these women inside the Asylum, with moral treatment tactics, seclusion, and jobs as rehabilitation that could lead to their discharge back into the community.
Alexandra Wallis is a PhD candidate and sessional academic at the University of Notre Dame Australia, whose research focuses on the female patients at the Fremantle Lunatic Asylum 1858-1908. She graduated with a BA Hons in History and English in 2014 from Edith Cowan University. Alexandra’s historical interests are in outcast women, sexualities, and criminal histories.
Fremantle Lunatic Asylum, Female mental health in 1800s Australia, hysteria
Length of Episode
School of Arts & Sciences
Fremantle, Western Australia
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"Season 1. Episode 3. Alexandra Wallis: Hysterical Women: Female Patients at the Fremantle Lunatic Asylum" (2018). High & Cliff - Podcast Collection. 3.