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City of Sydney

Bedlam at Botany Bay

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When

Wednesday 27 October 2021 from 1pm to 2pm

Join historian James Dunk as he speaks about his award-winning book Bedlam at Botany Bay.

In the fledgling colony, social differences and legal distinctions faded as delusion and disorder took root. Ex-convicts and small settlers were exiled from their homes and living under the weight of imperial justice. They grappled with the country they were taking from its Indigenous inhabitants. Government officers and wealthy colonists sought to guide the course of European history in Australia.

Madness struck indiscriminately – and how did the strange colonial community respond? How did madness shape what was happening here, at what felt like the edge of the world?

This is a story about freedom and possibilities, unravelling and collapse – and about what we can learn in the present from past experiences of mental illness.

Bedlam and Botany Bay has been shortlisted for numerous awards and was the winner of the Australian History Prize in the NSW Premier's History Awards 2020.

Dr James Dunk is a historian of medicine and psychology, and a Research Fellow in the School of Philosophical and Historical Inquiry at the University of Sydney. His current research explores how the physical environment has figured in mental health and psychology. His writing has been published in the New England Journal of MedicineRethinking History and History Australia as well as Australian Book Review and Griffith Review

This event will be Auslan interpreted.

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