Wendy's cover image

Wendy WEIR PSM

Year of Award: 1989 Award State: New South Wales Health And Medicine > General
Training > General
To investigate the education and training programmes conducted for those working in comprehensive, community based mental health services and to adapt these to meet the training needs of staff in New South Wales and Australia - USA, Canada
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Over the years, professionals in the field of mental health were regularly awarded Churchill Fellowships, travelling abroad to observe the best treatments and most effective methods available at the time, and to analyse their potential efficacy for Australian conditions. One such example is the late Wendy Weir PSM.

In her report Wendy tells the story of a Sydney woman whose husband had committed her to a mental asylum in the 1920s for what was very probably what we now know as post-natal depression. Then her husband died, without having told anyone about what he had done. That woman was trapped in Sydney’s Broughton Hall (later known as Callan Park). It took her son over 60 years to find her again.

The late Wendy Weir PSM wanted to improve the terrible conditions that thousands of mental patients, locked away from society in asylums, endured. In 1989 Wendy travelled to the United States and Canada on a Churchill Fellowship to investigate education and training programs for workers in community-based mental health services. She put much of her formidable energy into consumer-focused services that improved the lot of people in mental institutions. She fought passionately to improve their conditions.

Wendy states in her report:

During my career, I have witnessed powerless people who have been locked into institutions, stripped of their independence, autonomy and self-esteem, and denied control over their choices or control over their lives, become “alive” again and find their voice. They are now challenging current service delivery and demanding change.

Excerpt from “Inspiring Australians” written by Penny Hanley (2015)

Awards and Honours

  • 1995 awarded a Public Service Medal 
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