Insanity and Immigration Control in New Zealand and Australia, 1860–1930

  • Jennifer S. Kain

Part of the Mental Health in Historical Perspective book series (MHHP)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xiii
  2. Jennifer S. Kain
    Pages 1-11
  3. Jennifer S. Kain
    Pages 13-37
  4. New Zealand

  5. The Commonwealth of Australia

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 127-127
    2. Jennifer S. Kain
      Pages 195-199
  6. Back Matter
    Pages 201-244

About this book


This book examines the policy and practice of the insanity clauses within the immigration controls of New Zealand and the Commonwealth of Australia. It reveals those charged with operating the legislation to be non-psychiatric gatekeepers who struggled to match its intent. Regardless of the evolution in language and the location at which a migrant’s mental suitability was assessed, those with ‘inherent mental defects’ and ‘transient insanity’ gained access to these regions. This book accounts for the increased attempts to medicalise border control in response to the widening scope of terminology used for mental illnesses, disabilities and dysfunctions. Such attempts co-existed with the promotion of these regions as ‘invalids’ paradises’ by governments, shipping companies, and non-asylum doctors. Using a bureaucratic lens, this book exposes these paradoxes, and the failings within these nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Australasian nation-state building exercises.


Border controls Policy makers Customs officers Shipping companies Mental disorder Psychiatry Dysfunctional Tourism Assisted migration

Authors and affiliations

  • Jennifer S. Kain
    • 1
  1. 1.School of History, Classics and ArchaeologyNewcastle UniversityNewcastle upon TyneUK

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2019
  • Publisher Name Palgrave Macmillan, Cham
  • eBook Packages History History (R0)
  • Print ISBN 978-3-030-26329-4
  • Online ISBN 978-3-030-26330-0
  • Buy this book on publisher's site