Update: See the January issue of The Whistle honouring Jean. http://www.bmartin.cc/dissent/contacts/au_wba/whistle201501.pdf
Hall Greenland, October 2014
Dr Jean Lennane (on the left in photo in hi-vis vest) was one of the founders of the Friends of Callan Park and our first president. She died in Canberra on Thursday, 18 September.
A memorial meeting to honour her and celebrate her life will be held on Friday, October 17, at Balmain Town Hall, at 3 pm where she graced many a public meeting.
The family has requested that in lieu of flowers, donations to Alzheimer’s Australia or to the Mind & Brain Research Institute of the University of Sydney would be appreciated.
An activist in Balmain from the early 1980s, Jean was specially committed to saving Callan Park – and its use for mental health. It wasn’t that she undervalued its wonderful open space and heritage features, but for Jean they were inseparable from its value as a mental health site.She considered that Callan Park was just the therapeutic environment that would help people suffering from a mental illness to recover.
Jean, who as a psychiatrist had worked at Callan Park, was firmly of the view that when people became badly ill they needed to go to hospital. This was as true of people with a mental illness as a physical illness. This is why she campaigned so hard for the retention of Rozelle Psychiatric Hospital at Callan Park. She was, of course, just as insistent on adequate support in the community for people transitioning out of hospital. Her view that ‘de-institutionalisation’ had gone too far, and that as a result too many people with a mental illness were being warehoused in jails or committing suicide, was not popular in government circles but nonetheless true for all that.
Her advocacy for mental health uses at Callan Park was her special contribution to the Friends and earned her the respect and admiration of the surrounding community who endorsed her views on this subject.