Seacliff Lunatic Asylum Inquiry 1891
This Album contains a digital copy of the published report of the Seacliff Lunatic Asylum Inquiry held in 1891.
The Inquiry was established by the Honorable A J Cadman, Minster of Native Affairs, to investigate criticisms made by William Freeman Kitchen, of the Globe newspaper, about Truby King and his management of Seacliff Lunatic Asylum. The charges brought against Truby King related to his expenditure of public money, the quality and quantity of food, poor supervision of patients, his treatment of patients' relatives and staff, his disregard for the safety of the neighbouring residents, etc.
Truby King gives full and detailed responses to each charge. He describes the reforms he has made in the management of the Asylum, for example the improvements in the sanitation, the dietary changes, the improvements to the buildings (for more air, light and warmth) and grounds (providing gardens and lawn), the use of various recreations and work as part of a patients' therapy, etc. The charges relating to his treatment of patients' relatives and staff were dismissed.
There are several appendices to the Inquiry Report, although not all were printed. The published Appendices include statistics on the consumption of food and its nutritional values, a description of the improvements and expenditure on the buildings, expenditures in providing music entertainments, reasons for recruitment of more female staff, money spent on a fountain, etc.
The documents that were not published in the printed Inquiry report, for example some of the Appendices, are likely to be held at Archives New Zealand Head Office in the archives of the Legislative Department.
The Report of the Seacliff Asylum Inquiry is published in the Appendices to the Journals of the House of Representatives of New Zealand (AJHR 1891 Session II H29). The AJHRs are available at larger public libraries.
The website PapersPast has newspaper reports of the proceedings of the Inquiry, primarily in the Otago Witness newspaper.
For more information see the Wikipedia articles on Seacliff Lunatic Asylum and Frederic Truby King as well as the biographical essay for Truby King from the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography.
A biography of Frederic Truby King, In a Strange Garden: the life and times of Truby King, by Lloyd Chapman, is available online on the New Zealand Electronic Text Centre's website.
Size: 17 items