Matilda Cutler – Died aged 69 in 1903
When Matilda Cutler was released from a period of incarceration at Ararat Asylum in 1883, she returned to her home and husband in Ballarat with horrific stories of abuse.
Beatings, whippings, force feedings resulting in death; the removal of teeth from inmates who bit warders or other inmates; patients being placed in bags and hung on hooks for days; high rates of sickness and death; inmates being used for sex by doctors and warders, or being pimped out into the community; having their medication and brandy stolen; murdering each other. She had been held at the Western Victorian Institution for being ‘excitable’ a catch-all condition that was as easily used against the reputation of a woman as it was about her mental condition. On probation release, she told her husband Joseph Cutler of the devilish and squalid practices and conditions at the already sprawling asylum.