Wolston Park Mental Hospital went through various stages of its approach to ‘treating’ those regarded as mentally ill or insane, from containment and punishment, to the experimental use of electric shock treatment, and the use of a range of powerful psychotropic drugs.
In this video created for the Remembering Goodna Exhibition at Brisbane Museum in 2007, former staff reflect on those changes, describing first hand accounts, of how up to four warders would have to hold down patients given electric shock treatment (ECT), and put a spoon in their mouth to prevent them from biting off their tongue.
This happened to my brother Randall Carrington 36 times. One of the male warders/nurses even admits they used ECT for punishment and not for any therapeutic reason. More women than men were given ECT which was administered 6 days a week, 50 at a time.
My brother was detailed in Pearce House, described in this video as a locked ward for the criminally insane. My brother was not. So why was he placed in this ward? I’ve been refused access to the 186 pages of case notes relating to my brother’s involuntary detention in Wolston Park. Cover up? Listen for yourself and make up your own mind.
The nurses and staff of Wolston Park give a rosey view of how treatment shifted to be more humane, more individualised, and underscored by science, not just seclusion and punishment. Watch the video and make up your own mind. Should there be an inquiry into Wolston Park from the 1960s through to the late 1980s?