Posts Tagged ‘Altant-zorggroep’

A squalid Relic and my brother Frank.

December 9, 2017

1200px-Mental_hospital_c_parkCallan Park

https://yourownbackyardsydney.wordpress.com/2016/11/21/callan-park-mental-hospital-1945-1976-a-squalid-relic-of-victorian-times/

It is interesting that my self published book, titled ‘Almost There’: Fragments of a restless life, is getting some attention from some totally unknown quarters.

As some of you might know, my brother Frank passed away recently at the age of 78, in a Dutch Care Home ‘Atlant-Zorggroep, where he resided since his return from Australia in 1974. Frank was diagnosed when still in his teens suffering from chronic schizophrenia.

https://www.google.com.au/search?q=atlant+zorggroep+beekbergen&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwinq_eco_zXAhVLzbwKHSN1A7MQ_AUICygC&biw=1200&bih=587

 

Prior to that he spent almost twenty years in the above mentioned Australian mental institute named Callan Park. This excerpt below tells you a little on how mental patients were treated there.

“By the 1950s, Callan Park was in many ways a closed institution. The 1955 Stoller Report revealed that significant overcrowding, bad smells, dilapidation and short staffing were restricting mental hospitals across Australia to purely custodial roles. Jess Learing explained that, while the patients at Broughton Hall used to ‘go to the pub… up the street… go to the doctor and get a script’ and  ‘go to the chemist and get the script made’, the patients at Callan Park Mental Hospital did not have such freedom of movement[i]. The poet Francis Webb intermittently spent four years at Callan Park. He proved enigmatic, even to his literary peers. He trod a fine line between respect and mocking humour. The poet Geoffrey Lehmann visited Webb at Callan Park in 1966. He recounted: ‘As we were leaving, the nuns produced some bananas, which they handed to him [Webb]. With enormous courtesy – he was always very courteous – he said: “Thank you kindly, sisters. I much appreciate it. Like the animals at the zoo.”’[ii] Webb felt inappropriately caged.

Gerard Oosterman was similarly disapproving of Callan Park’s gaol-like and ‘intimidating’ atmosphere[iii]. In his autobiography, Almost There: Fragments of a Restless Life, he claimed that ‘the one item missing’ from his brother’s time at Callan Park was ‘genuine care’: ‘The nightmare of Callan Park courtyard, with bunches of keys hanging from scowling wardens belts, wasn’t acceptable, nor the wrapping up of Frank in wet bed-sheets when he became violent. This was 1960 not 1860.’[iv]”

The Sydney Morning Herald was especially harsh about living standards and care at Callan Park.

I wonder if the care for the mentally ill in Australia has improved since my brother moved back to Holland. I very much doubt it. Jails still are used as de-facto mental hospitals.

http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/mentally-ill-man-who-killed-his-mother-to-wait-14months-for-hospital-bed-20171204-gzy9ba.html