Friday, October 21, 2011

A change...

I am excited. Why? well, because yesterday I met the woman I would like to supervise my honours thesis, Elizabeth. I went to the University of Melbourne, we sat down together, and she proceeded to blow my mind. I went in with a fairly vague notion of what I would like to research next year and left with a completely different focus. Upon entering the meeting I had my heart set on working on English asylums at the beginning of the twentieth century and the influence the introduction of psychotropic medication made to the lives of the patients.

However, a long discussion with my asylum expert revealed that my topic would be exceedingly difficult to execute as the tangible records would be near impossible to acquire. So, I was back to square one and feeling miserable. But Elizabeth and I talked a little more and she convinced me that it might be a good idea to work on asylums in Melbourne as not much secondary literature exists in that field and the records are easily acquirable as they're located in North Melbourne (!!). I would be able to go to the Public Records Office and actually look at the original documents, and patient case books and registers. How amazing! I'll be able to really delve into asylum life as opposed to working on English Asylums where I would have no contact with the primary resources I needed.

I have already narrowed my research ideas down significantly since yesterday. I would like to work on women in Kew Asylum in the late nineteenth century. Now all I need to do is get to reading and work out the fine details. I am so happy that I listened to a good friend's advice and went to speak with Elizabeth. She helped me so much and she would be the perfect supervisor for what I would like to do. Now, let us just hope that I actually get into the University of Melbourne...

Image: Kew Asylum Melbourne, circa 1885.


  1. The Public Records Office is a really exciting place. At my old place of work we dealt with a lot of genealogy issues requiring original records, there's nothing like holding a document in your hand that's at least twice your age! Was Kew Asylum also known as Kew Cottages? If so, we also dealt with alot of the former residents as well.
    P.S. Just in case you're wondering, I'm not a random net stalker. We've met in real life, you may know me on Facebook as Panda (friend of Robbie).

  2. I believe Kew Asylum and Kew Cottages were two different parts of the same institution. I believe Kew Cottages dealt with children. But I'm unsure. I can't wait to get my hands on some documents! Might head in next week actually.
    Hi Panda!