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Western Australia - Organisation

Lunacy Department (1903 - 1934)

Government Department

The Lunacy Department was the government organisation established as a result of the Lunacy Act 1903. The department was responsible for the administration of the Act and four institutions: Claremont Hospital for the Insane and its sub-institutions Whitby Falls, Stromness (returned soldiers), and Greenplace. The Inspector General for the Insane was the head of the Lunacy Department and also the Superintendent of Claremont.


The administration of the Lunacy Department was examined by the Royal Commission into Lunacy in 1921-22. Western Australia was found to be out of step with the other States because in WA 'the Inspector General takes part with the superintendent in the administration and management of the Claremont institution.'

The lack of oversight of the Inspector General concerned the Commissioners, who suggested that regulations be drafted to ensure that the newly-created Board of Visitors could provide an effective 'second managerial authority' in the Department. Recognising the need for the Inspector General and the Board of Visitors to 'co-operate in every particular-, the Inspector General should be either the Chair of the Board or their 'Chief Executive Officer'. The Inspector General lived and worked in the grounds of Claremont Hospital.


 1903 - 1934 Lunacy Department
       1934 - 1954 Mental Hospitals Department
             1954 - 1984 Mental Health Services
                   1984 - Health Department

Provided 'Care' At

Related Legislation


Online Resources

Sources used to compile this entry: Report and appendices of the Royal Commission in lunacy, Royal Commissions Held in Western Australia, Parliament of Western Australia, 21 September 1922,$FILE/Report+and+appendices+of+the+royal+commission+in+lunacy.pdf.

Prepared by: Debra Rosser