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Life of Martha Entwistle: Australia’s first convict mental health nurse


Raeburn, T and Liston, C and Hickmott, J and Cleary, M, Life of Martha Entwistle: Australia's first convict mental health nurse, International Journal of Mental Health Nursing, 27, (1) pp. 455-463. ISSN 1445-8330 (2018) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

© 2017 Australian College of Mental Health Nurses Inc.

DOI: doi:10.1111/inm.12356


The present position paper provides an account of the life of Martha Entwistle, the earliest recorded convict nurse who worked within the Castle Hill Asylum. In our review of primary historical sources, Australia's first convict mental health nurse was found to be a resilient woman who endured several traumatic life experiences. Her nursing within Australia's first mental health asylum was highly valued by the superintendent of the service. She nursed in a harsh colonial environment, short of adequate resources, during an era of fast-paced industrial and technological a change. Martha Entwistle's experiences provide a historical account of the role of the early convict mental health nurse. Her life story enables modern-day nurses to reflect on the advances made in mental health nursing and contexts of care for nurses today.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:asylum, convict, history, mental health, nurse
Research Division:Health Sciences
Research Group:Nursing
Research Field:Mental health nursing
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Provision of health and support services
Objective Field:Nursing
UTAS Author:Cleary, M (Professor Michelle Cleary)
ID Code:123532
Year Published:2018
Web of Science® Times Cited:2
Deposited By:Health Sciences
Deposited On:2018-01-10
Last Modified:2019-08-20

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