WANDERING WOMBS, WITCHES (and orgasms). A taster…of what I will be writing about next in relation to intergenerational family stories, what my research has uncovered and in particular Jane Brady’s death at 82 in Sunbury Mental Hospital.
The inquisition has arrived. Well, maybe not like the actual inquisition. But oh my, how the language of the past was. So Jane’s inquest documents arrived, courtesy of the Public Records Office of Victoria. I […]
Most records about the past prior to the 1930’s are public (and even more recent ones sometimes). But that doesn’t mean they are not hidden. Hidden from dinner table conversations, hidden from important intergenerational health discussions and hidden by what I think is misplaced shame. In my experience, hidden by boring beige people on a power trip. (Did I just say that? Whoops, I forgot to mention I am not one of those people who thinks that I should be entirely nice about people consciously still stigmatising meaningful mental health discussions in 2021).
Sweeping the past under the carpet just means we all trip on the lumps we can’t see and get bloody noses when some politician decides to bring back an old destructive social policy with a new name. In the cult of personality that has become Australian politics, a catchy slogan on repackaged policy disaster is a valuable thing.
I’ve been known to be a bit of a judgmental cow about alcohol consumption. So I thought it a good idea to be an elitist cow too and sample more quality boutique gin. The truth is my Dad hated alcohol with a vengeance, due to his own history with his first wife (not my Mum) and her family. He took this hatred to extremes, so I grew up really think alcohol was the devil.
This project has a community arts aspect and key to this are stories, not just Bridget the Publican’s and John the Brewer’s.
My grandfather, Harry, used the expression, “I’m gonna have words with them”, about any difficult conversation. So the first episode of “On the Wagon” discusses the language of alcohol use. Warning bad jokes about Paleo.
Bridget Brady was no wilting flower. She ran the Shannon Hotel in Kilmore and her professional was listed on her death certificate as “Licensed Victualler”, or in more modern language, a ‘Publican’ or ‘Bar Manager’.
I’ve been thinking about my Dad a lot lately and his dark sense of humour and how he engaged humour to soften the blow of difficult times as the best medicine. Interesting for a man born on the 1st of April 1923 and who resented that date for the rest of his life. CW: low level discussions of end of life conversations.
Exploring how I first came across my ancestor John Brady’s death in 1888 and his erasure from history. Was this mental health stigma in action? Do we as a culture just erase uncomfortable mental health history?