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Western Australia - Glossary Term

Idiot (1920s - 1940s)

Term commonly found on child welfare records
Alternative Names
  • Idiocy (also known as)

Idiot was a term used in the twentieth century to describe people who had intellectual disabilities. The Minister for Public Health in Western Australia defined five classes of 'defectives' in 1929. The first class was idiots, who were 'persons so deeply affected in mind as to be permanently unable to guard themselves against common physical dangers' (Hansard, 17 September 1929, p.742).

Related Glossary Terms


Online Resources

Sources used to compile this entry: 'Bill - Mental Deficiency. Second Reading [Hansard p739-747]', in Hansard Archive 1870 to 1995, Parliament of Western Australia, 17 September 1929,$File/19290917_Assembly.pdf. p.742..

Prepared by: Debra Rosser