• Archival Series

Files of Persons Examined Under Sections 7, 8, 23, 24, 26, 27 of the Mental Deficiency Act 1920, State Psychological Clinic

To access these records

Please contact the Information Coordination and Strategy Unit, Department of Health and Human Services:

Address: GPO Box 125, Hobart TAS 7001

Email: pipapplications@health.tas.gov.au

Website: http://www.dhhs.tas.gov.au/about_the_department/your_rights/accessing_personal_information

Reference Number

Quote this number to access your records: Tasmanian Archives Series Number, AA5

Records Location

These records are held by Tasmanian Archives (2011 - current).

Details

The Files of Persons Examined Under Sections 7, 8, 23, 24, 26, 27 of the Mental Deficiency Act 1920 concern individuals examined by the State Psychological Clinic. They are arranged alphabetically according to surnames. Files that are older than 75 years are on open access and the names of the individuals concerned are listed on the Tasmanian Archive and Heritage Office website.

Access Conditions

Closed D75 years
D75 means these records are closed to the general public for 75 years from the date of the last entry in them. People wishing to access these records should contact Mental Health Services at the Department of Health and Human Services. Applicants will be required to fill out a Personal Information Protection (PIP) form. Staff at the Tasmanian Archive and Heritage Office may be able to assist you in finding other relevant records.

Records

Children diagnosed with intellectual disabilities may not have had them as it is understood today. Challenging behaviour, inadequately managed physical disabilities such as deafness, educational disadvantage, an institutional upbringing, and poverty, neglect or abuse could all lead to a diagnosis of ‘mental deficiency’ and supervision by the Mental Deficiency Board.

The language used in the files is disturbing. At the time they were written, eugenics had a considerable influence and its apparently scientific credibility made it all right to use this language. In 2014, we would consider it demeaning and insulting.

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