No corrections yet
SOCIAL WORKERS -- = Recent Conference In Sydney Since the Australian Association of Social Workers was formed last year, it has established branches in every State of Australia. This was reported at the first Australian con ference on social work, held in Sydney early this month. Miss B. Bate, of the Commonwealth Social Service Department, represented this State, although the president (Miss Norma Parker) is a West Austra lian. Now senior lecturer in case work training at the Department of Social Studies, University of Syd ney, Miss Parker trained in America. An interesting feature of the con ference was the number of men present, there now being 50 men in training in Sydney who, when quali fied social workers, will take up administrative, industrial or religious positions. In one session social workers from other countries, now stationed in Australia, joined the discussion.
These included 12 from Britain and several from America. Dealing with the problem of the mental defective from the social worker's viewpoint, Miss Nancy Hillas, a member of the West Aus tralian branch of the association. in a recent article declared that mental deficiency in Western Aus tralia required much thought and immediate action. There was a growing feeling that it was a Gov ernment department's responsi bility, and that suitable provision for the. mental defective should not be left to voluntary bodies. "The mental defective differs from the mentally-ill person," she said, "in that the defective may be re garded as being born without sufficient intelligence to carry out a normal mode of life, or to have received some irreparable damage to the brain cells, while the mentally-ill can frequently be cured. "In Victoria, the State Mental Hygiene Department runs various clinics, homes and institutions, while the Education Department has three special schools where school life is mapped out in the proportion of one-third academic work, one-third physical training and one-third craft work. In addition, there are cer tain classes called 'opportunity Progressive E -xpedmt "Defective children often come from families where the parents are mentally-handicapped, and such parents are unable to provide good homes materially, psychologically or socially. Other defective children from highly intelligent families feel inferior and out of place in their homes. To cater for these child. ren there are in Victoria certain institutions which have been de signed to accommodate children of various gradings in intelligence leveL" Outlining. the work done in a number of these homes. Miss Hillas said that she considered Travancore the most progressive. "This has a clinic attached which is staffed by a psychiatrist, psychologist and social worker," she said. "Special school training is usual to the age of 16 years and then, with the help of the social worker, suitable work is found for children capable of doing it. Jobs include weaving, spinning, mending, dyeing and sale work in textile industries, the child rea proving reliable employees. - "Mentally-retarded girls are easily influenced by others and are apt to drift into the lowest strata of society because unscrupulous take advantage of their Some have no -homes, no friends-and no relatives., Moorakyne, where such girls may live in a home-like, happy atmosphere, is the only experiment in hostel life in Australia. Started six years ago it has proved an un qualified success and is entirely self-supporting. "Despite ov nslons in existence, it has been estimated that only one in eight of Victoria's-re. tarded population Is provided for, but it has been proved that, with careful training, defectives can de velop their potentialities, which makes them happier, useful mem bers of society." Mr. and Mrs. H. E. Carey, of White Peak station, Geraldton, who will leave shortly to live in Perth, were the principal guests at a cock tail party given by Dr. and Mrs. 1. McAleer at the Victoria Hotel on Tuesday. Mrs. McAleer received the guests in a becoming frock of jade green crepe and an off-the-face hat trimmed with pale pink roses. Mrs. Carey chose black accessories to wear with her black and white cocktail suit. Among the guests were Dr. and Mrs. M. Zilko, Mr. and Mrs. A. E. Grant, Mr. and Mrs. A. C. Bogle, Mr. and Mrs. L. J. Wall, Mr. and Mrs. E. V. Kelso, Mr. and Mrs. D. Parry, Mr. and Mrs. L. Moustaka, Mr. and Mrs. C. Orr, Mr. and Mrs. J. F. Crothers, Mesdames Howard Smith, C. Rowan, F. Pearce, B. Leishman, M. Roberts, L James, C. Vantin, J. Derry, Misses E. O'Neill, J. Fer guson, M. Crowley, Messrs. T. P. Prior, A. Carey and R Farmer. Mr. and Mrs. J. A. Clark, of Bunbury, who are on a brief visit to Perth, are staying at the Adelphi HoteL