Making Sense: Art and Mental Health... mental health...Making Sense: Art and Mental Health... of mental health and wellbeing. Many individuals now practice informal and formal forms of art therapy. Whilst some produce works in settings with a practicing art therapist, for others, creative art practices have become a form of self-expression ...
The Cunningham Dax Collection was established in 1987 with a series of works in the possession of psychiatrist Dr Eric Cunningham Dax.
Produced by patients of Victorian mental institutions between the 1950s and 1980s, these works assisted psychiatrists and medical teams with diagnosis.
Today, the Dax Collection also encompasses the work of many contemporary artists with an experience of mental illness and psychological trauma, and advocates the potential of arts practices in the management of mental health and wellbeing.
Many individuals now practice informal and formal forms of art therapy. Whilst some produce works in settings with a practicing art therapist, for others, creative art practices have become a form of self-expression, empowerment or reflection of one’s internal world.
As the union of art and therapy continues to evolve, it is clear that art making and these creative processes have the potential to enhance our mental, physical, emotional and spiritual wellbeing, to connect with a deeper part of ourselves and to integrate the human experience.
World War One: Coming Home... mental health... physically damaged by their wartime experiences, their mental health was also dramatically affected. Despite the severe trauma, sometimes it took years or decades for the conditions to emerge. For some servicemen, this meant being unable to sleep, hold down ...
From 1920 until 1993, Bundoora Homestead Art Centre operated first as Bundoora Convalescence Farm and then as Bundoora Repatriation Hospital.
For more than seventy years, it was home to hundreds of returned servicemen. These men were not only physically damaged by their wartime experiences, their mental health was also dramatically affected. Despite the severe trauma, sometimes it took years or decades for the conditions to emerge.
For some servicemen, this meant being unable to sleep, hold down a job, maintain successful relationships or stay in one place, whilst others experienced a range of debilitating symptoms including delusions and psychosis. While these men tried to cope as best they could, they were rarely encouraged to talk openly about what they had seen or done. The experience of war haunted their lives and the lives of their families as they attempted to resume civilian life.
At this time, there was little understanding around trauma and mental health. For some returned servicemen and their families, it was important that their mental illness was acknowledged as being a consequence of their war service. This was not only due to social stigma associated with mental illness generally, but also because war pensions provided families with greater financial security.
This is as much the story of the Bundoora Repatriation Hospital as it is the story of a mother and daughter uncovering the history of the man who was their father and grandfather respectively. That man was Wilfred Collinson, who was just 19 when he enlisted in the AIF. He fought in Gallipoli and on the Western Front, saw out the duration of the war and returned home in 1919. He gained employment with the Victorian Railways and met and married Carline Aminde. The couple went on to have four children. By 1937, Wilfred Collinson’s mental state had deteriorated and he would go on to spend the remainder of his life – more than 35 years – as a patient at Bundoora.
We know so little about the lives and stories of men like Wilfred, the people who cared for them, the people who loved them and the people they left behind. For the most part the voices of the men themselves are missing from their own narrative and we can only interpret their experiences through the words of authorities and their loved ones.
The Missing... until 1921. Frank married and had three sons but his return to Australia was marked by a rapid deterioration in his physical and mental health – characterised by bouts of deeply introspective behaviour. He suicided in 1928, presumably suffering from PTSD ...
When WW1 brought Australians face to face with mass death, a Red Cross Information Bureau and post-war graves workers laboured to help families grieve for the missing.
The unprecedented death toll of the First World War generated a burden of grief. Particularly disturbing was the vast number of dead who were “missing” - their bodies never found.
This film and series of photo essays explores two unsung humanitarian responses to the crisis of the missing of World War 1 – the Red Cross Wounded and Missing Enquiry Bureau and the post-war work of the Australian Graves Detachment and Graves Services. It tells of a remarkable group of men and women, ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances, who laboured to provide comfort and connection to grieving families in distant Australia.
Wind & Sky Productions
Many Roads: Stories of the Chinese on the goldfields... of gold dwindled, punitive taxes and prohibitions continued to be levied on the Chinese, making it difficult for those in strife to make ends meet. Some moved into market gardening or began hawking wares to survive. Mental health problems were high amongst ...
In the 1850s tens of thousands of Chinese people flocked to Victoria, joining people from nations around the world who came here chasing the lure of gold.
Fleeing violence, famine and poverty in their homeland Chinese goldseekers sought fortune for their families in the place they called ‘New Gold Mountain’. Chinese gold miners were discriminated against and often shunned by Europeans. Despite this they carved out lives in this strange new land.
The Chinese took many roads to the goldfields. They left markers, gardens, wells and place names, some which still remain in the landscape today. After a punitive tax was laid on ships to Victoria carrying Chinese passengers, ship captains dropped their passengers off in far away ports, leaving Chinese voyagers to walk the long way hundreds of kilometres overland to the goldfields. After 1857 the sea port of Robe in South Australia became the most popular landing point. It’s estimated 17,000 Chinese, mostly men, predominantly from Southern China, walked to Victoria from Robe following over 400kms of tracks.
At the peak migration point of the late 1850s the Chinese made up one in five of the male population in fabled gold mining towns of Victoria such as Ballarat, Bendigo, Castlemaine, Beechworth and Ararat. It was not just miners who took the perilous journey. Doctors, gardeners, artisans and business people voyaged here and contributed to Victoria’s economy, health and cultural life. As the nineteenth century wore on and successful miners and entrepreneurs returned home, the Chinese Victorian population dwindled. However some chose to settle here and Chinese culture, family life, ceremony and work ethic became a distinctive feature of many regional Victorian towns well into the twentieth century.
By the later twentieth century many of the Chinese relics, landscapes and legacy of the goldrush era were hidden or forgotten. Today we are beginning to unearth and celebrate the extent of the Chinese influence in the making of Victoria, which reaches farther back than many have realised.