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In conversation with Sandy Jeffs and Margaret Leggatt: on madness

9 September 2021 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm EST



In conversation with Sandy Jeffs and Margaret Leggatt: on madness

Hosted by the University of Newcastle

Sandy Jeffs and Dr Margaret Leggatt have known each other for over 40 years – Jeffs as someone with a lived experience of schizophrenia and Margie as an advocate for carers.

Their collaboration was, in Jeff’s words ‘a chance to integrate our two perspectives on mental health and construct a balanced and engaging narrative’ about their experiences and the experiences of nearly 80 patients, carers and health professionals who were inmates or staff at Larundel Psychiatric Hospital in Bundoora, Victoria.

This conversation between Catharine Coleborne, Sandy Jeffs and Dr Leggatt will not only highlight the importance of histories of mental health but also integrate lived experience, which is often absent from such histories.


Thursday 9 September 2021 at 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Free event. Registrations are important.

Out of the Madhouse – Sandy Jeffs

Sandy Jeffs, a former inmate of Larundel, who became an advocate for her ‘mad’ comrades and is now a poet of distinction; and Margaret Leggatt, sociologist, occupational therapist and activist for the friends and families of mentally ill people.

Larundel Psychiatric Hospital was ‘the madhouse on the edge of town’ – until the 1990s, a Melbourne cultural icon shrouded in mystery in the outer suburb of Bundoora. What was it really like inside this madhouse?

This story takes us into the heart of Larundel through the voices of former inmates and staff, exposing the best and worst aspects of the mental institutions of the times. It shows the shifts in psychiatric treatments, the social forces at play, and changes driving mental health policy. It explores what de-institutionalisation and ‘care in the community’ actually meant for those suffering mental illness, as well as for those treating, and caring for them.

What did we lose with Larundel’s closure in 1999 and the move to acute psychiatric wards in general hospitals? The notion of asylum? Is the more recent notion of ‘recovery’ a hopeful signpost towards a brave new world for mental health?


Credit: Pictured above – Sandy Jeffs.

From the Ground Up


History Week 2021

From the Ground Up
4th – 12th September 2021

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