In 1905, Dr (William) Ernest Jones was appointed Victorian ‘Inspector General of the Insane’. He set out to change the overcrowding and inadequate staffing in all of Victoria’s mental hospitals. He was responsible for the construction of much of the institution at Mont Park, emphasising the benefits for the hospital, staff and patients of open grounds, fresh air and productive activities. Ernest Jones (1867-1957) was an English psychiatrist whose father was a surgeon. Jones graduated as a doctor in London in 1889. Between 1883 and 1904 he worked at several English asylums. When he came to Melbourne he met Kathleen Mary Mahony. They were married in November 1905. They first lived in St Kilda Road and had a son Esmonde and a daughter Kay. As Inspector General he had a very comfortable annual salary of £1500 and enjoyed his membership of the Melbourne Club and the Royal Melbourne Golf Club. He was a founding member of the Eugenics Education Society of Melbourne in 1914. He publically used terms such as ‘feeble mindedness’ and ‘mental defectives’ and held to some of the common racial prejudices of the day. During WWI Jones held the honorary rank of Lieutenant-Colonel and was involved with many of the returning veterans who were mentally ill. In 1918, at Mont Park, Ernest Jones introduced Occupational Therapy for the returned servicemen. He sought to assist their rehabilitation by training them as carpenters, saddlers, tailors to name a few. The distinctive white Spanish Mission style Ernest Jones Hall at Mont Park was named in recognition of the administrative and management contribution Dr W. Ernest Jones made to Victoria’s mental health system and facilities from 1905 to 1937.
By Kathy Andrewartha 2018
REFERENCES: Bircanin, I. and Short, A. (1995) Glimpses of the past: Mont Park, Larundel, Plenty. The Authors, Melbourne Wright, B. (2013) Doc Jones’s War: the management of military mental cases in Victoria under William Ernest Jones, Honours thesis. University of Melbourne, Parkville Biography http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/jones-william-ernest-6882