PHAWA and HCWA Christmas Sundowner at the former Lemnos Hospital
On Thursday 6 December, members of the History Council of WA and the Professional Historians Association (WA) attended a Christmas Sundowner at the former Lemnos Hospital, now part of Shenton College.
Guest speaker for the evening was psychologist and historian Davina French. Davina completed a History honours dissertation at UWA focussing on the care of men who returned from WWI with serious mental illness. In her dissertation she particularly highlighted the period leading up to the construction of Lemnos Hospital in 1926, which was a key turning point in the care these men received. She also holds a Bachelor of Science and PhD in Psychology, but has recently given up regular academic commitments in psychology to pursue her interests in history.
Davina discussed how Lemnos Hospital and its gardens were designed to provide a less institutionalised environment for mentally ill returned service men than Claremont Asylum. She included personal stories of some the men and their families including Fred Jacoby, a prominent business man of the time, who spearheaded fund raising for the hospital to help his son who was affected by mental illness due to his war service.
We also explored the building which is now used for administrative purposes by Shenton College. The building has retained its original architectural detail with a beautiful jarrah staircase and stained glass windows. The evening was enjoyed by all who attended with interesting company and conversation. Many thanks to the committee of the History Council and PHA (WA), particularly Jenny Gregory and Helen Munt, for organising such a successful event.
Another Lone Pine
During the History Council’s Christmas gathering in Shenton Park at the former Lemnos Hospital it was mentioned that a ‘Lone Pine’ was extant on the grounds. The only pine seen in the immediate vicinity of the function was an aged specimen which looked more like a Monterey pine, Pinus radiata from the west coast of America, than an Aleppo pine, Pinus halepensis from the Middle East! The hunt was on …..
On exiting the grounds after the gathering, a stately specimen of a pine tree in the grassed area at the entrance was observed, this had not been evident on arrival due to the one-way configuration of the roads. In the dark Patsy Vizents and myself inspected the tree and by the light of her mobile phone, located a plaque set into the ground at the base of the tree. The plaque had been provided by the Education Department and stated the tree was thought to have been grown from a seed brought from Lemnos Island and is the species of the ‘Lone Pine’ recorded at Gallipoli during the Great War. The tree was identified as Pinus brutia, the Turkish red pine, and had been planted on site in 1926. The plaque also explained that trees had been planted to provide a visual association with the Mediterranean Island where many servicemen recuperated after service at Gallipoli.
On the 12th of July 1926 in the Daily News an article appeared on page 5 under the heading of Lemnos: ‘Horse teams are busy at work preparing the grounds. A tennis court, cricket and football oval and lawns are in course of preparation, avenues of trees and shrubs have been planted and when these have grown the home will be set in a veritable paradise of flowers and ornamental trees.’ Today, as well as the pine, many of the original trees are still extant and include Tuart, Jarrah, Camphor Laurel, Norfolk Island pine, Peppercorn, native Peppermint, Queensland Box, Cape Lilac and Jacaranda with the multi-trunked Phoenix palms growing along the drive providing a Middle Eastern touch to the site. The tree selection is indicative of the variety that the State Nursery, located at Hamel, provided free of charge to many Government institutions at the time.
Pinus brutia, the Turkish red pine, is endemic to the eastern Mediterranean region. It grows from 20 to 35m with a trunk diameter of 1m, bark is orange-red, thick and deeply fissured, needles in pairs 10 to 16cm long, bright green to yellowy green.
The multi-planting of Monterey pines at the entrance, which provided the visual association with Lemnos, was a feature of the site since its inception, but within the last decade they have been felled. A public notice stating that they would be replaced with the same species was erected but subsequently disappeared and the reinstatement has never eventuated.
The site is now part of the Shenton College site with the grounds being maintained by the Education Department.
John Viska, Chairman, WA branch Australian Garden History Society.
The Life and Legacies of Bishop Mathew Blagdon Hale Symposium
This one-day event on Friday 14 December 2018 at the State Library of WA, convened by Jane Lydon, History, UWA, brought together leading historians to explore the life and legacies of Bishop Hale (1811-1895) to reconsider the historical role and legacies of Hale, a key figure in the history of Australia. In particular, it extended our understanding of colonial relationships between local Aboriginal people and settlers, and the early history of the church, penal reform, and education in Australia’s and especially Western Australian, South Australian and Queensland colonial history.
Born in England, Mathew Blagdon Hale was ordained priest in the Anglican church in 1837. In 1847 he joined the new Bishop of Adelaide Augustus Short in travelling to South Australia, as archdeacon and examining chaplain. His long-cherished desire to help Aboriginal people prompted him to establish Poonindie Mission, near Port Lincoln, in 1850. His links with Western Australia developed from his first visit in 1848, when he met his wife Sabrina, a daughter of the Molloy family. Visiting again in 1855-6 he subsequently published The Transportation Question (Cambridge, 1857), advocating 'a Reformatory Colony' instead of 'a Penal Settlement'. He was appointed the first bishop of Western Australia in 1857, and during his tenure made significant contributions to the institutions of church and education. In 1875 he was appointed Bishop of Brisbane where he laboured until his retirement in 1885. He returned to England, where he continued to promote the Church’s mission to Aboriginal people through writing and lecturing until his death at Bristol in 1895.
The recent rediscovery and transcription of Hale’s Diaries (1856-57 and 1861-75) now held by the Hale School, Perth (transcription held by Battye Library) joins other Hale archives across Australia (e.g. Battye, SLSA) and around the world (e.g. Bristol, UK) and provides a rich source for his life and times.
Our keynote speaker was Peggy Brock, and other speakers comprised Norman Etherington, Rowan Strong, Michael Challen, Odhran O’Brien, Jane Lydon, Karen Hughes and Lyn Lovegrove-Neimz. A number of people contributed to preserving and making these records accessible for posterity, in particular, Hale School and its archivist Barbara Johnson, working with the late Professor Geoffrey Bolton, Bishop Michael Challon, transcriber Patrick Bunbury, and the SLWA have overseen the management of this significant historical resource in recent years. Geoffrey Bolton was a towering figure in Western Australian history and his generosity and vision is greatly missed.
Several organisations and individuals made the event possible, including the Anglican Diocese which was generous in its support. The SLWA was most generous in hosting and promoting the symposium. UWA’s Denise Dalton helped organise the event from beginning to end, and worked with the school to bring some of its Hale treasures to the Library for viewing. These included a maquette for the well-known statue in St George’s Terrace, copies of Hale’s published work, diaries, and correspondence. The day went well, and each paper presented a different aspect of Hale’s work and legacies. Several participants commented on the very heart-felt analyses of Hale’s legacies, in many cases still relevant today.
Professor Jane Lydon,
Wesfarmers Chair of Australian History UWA