I found this item in the Morning Bulletin, Rockhampton, Queensland.
The date: 21 August 1925.
Professor Scott-FIetcher, from the University of Queensland, delivered a public lecture in tho Mount Morgan Technical College on Wednesday night on “Recent Developments of Psychology.” The chair was occupied by the Mayor of Mt. Morgan (Alderman A, P. Bedsor).
Mount Morgan is a town located in central Queensland, Australia. It is situated on the Dee River, 38 kilometres south of the city of Rockhampton, and is 680 kilometres north of the state capital, Brisbane. It is far enough away, one presumes – from a twenty-first century perspective – for the newly emerging disciplines of psychology and psychoanalysis to be of little interest to people. Yet the National Library’s digitized newspaper collection, enabling an easy and closer look at the material at hand, reveals quite the opposite. From the 1920s Rockhampton’s Morning Bulletin frequently published items about psychoanalysis – in favour and not. Along with the Barrier Hill Miner in Broken Hill, Kalgoorlie‘s daily newspaper along with those of the state capital cities, it is possible to see that there was widespread and lively interest in this ‘New Psychology’ as it was called, from the early decades of the twentieth century.
Let us listen to the reporter’s account of Professor Scott-Fletcher’s address. He clearly enjoyed it.
“In the course of a very fine address, the lecturer said that psychology was the science which investigated all mental states, normal end abnormal Some years ago the subject was mainly studied as an introduction to philosophy but during this century psychology had made great advances as an independent science. Moat universities had a laboratory, in which, by means of experiments, it was possible to test general intelligence, memory, and perceptual ability. The study of the mental equipment of animals had shown that instinct in human beings was one of the main factors in behaviour. The professor then described how the discovery of the unconscious mental processes in man had opened up an immense field of research. The application of these results to education, mental disorders, and even business efficiency had been attended with great success.”
“The use of psychoanalysis by Freud was next described. The lecturer explained that the undue prominence given to sex in this method had led to several new developments, in which Jung, Adler, and Bjerre had by other methods, successfully treated pathological cases due to mental maladaptation to environment. Psychology, while deterministic in theory, yet aimed in its practical applications nt securing freedom for the individual by making his actions self-determined.”
“At the close of the lecture the professor very lucidly answered a number of questions; asked by members of the audience. The lecture, was greatly appreciated by a good audience, and a hearty vote of thanks was accorded the lecturer”.
Professor Scott-Fletcher was New Zealand born and. according to his obituary published in Brisbane’s Courier-Mail on 7 November 1947, took his Master of Arts degree at Sydney University in 1902. He won the University Medal for Philosophy. He became the Master of King’s College at the University of Queensland in 1912 and, in 1916 was appointed to Wesley College at the University of Sydney where he also tutored on philosophy. He was appointed as Professor of Philosophy at the University of Queensland in 1922 and resigned in 1938. At the time of his death he was 79 years of age.
There may be, of course, more to learn about the Professor. You can contact me via freudinoceania[at]gmail[dot]com if you would like to add to this.
By the early 1920s public interest in psychoanalysis in Australia was broad, and certainly not restricted to medical circles. The president of the Victorian branch of the British Medical Association, Dr L.S. Latham used his retiring speech to warn that psychoanalysis should not be utilised indiscriminately. At the very least, he argued, psychoanalysis should be practised ‘under skilled medical direction’. It is clear that there was sufficient interest for the editor of the Sydney Morning Herald to publish Latham’s speech in the edition of 1 January 1924. Here is the text:
“The widespread and general interest in psycho-analysis is to be viewed with some concern. I am anxious not to indulge in cheap criticism, but it may be pointed out (what should be clear to anyone who has practised with any concentration psycho- logical method of introspection) that there are many pitfalls to be avoided in a logical tracing out of psychological associations. Follow a train of thought in your own mind and the associations are frequently most difficult to connect. The ideas would appear to be associated in time, but in little else.
Psycho-analysis affords by the “word association tests” a valuable means of examination of mind and determining the lines along which association tends to occur, but recognition of the occasional value of this method is consistent with the view that it should be but rarely applied, and that the Freudian symbolic interpretation of many phenomena thus observed need not be endorsed. The efforts of ancient philologists In derivations such as faba, fabaricus (fab-aricot-us) (h) aricot, and mus muris (mu-rat-us) rat, are ingenuous and simple in comparison with some of the psycho-analytic symbolisms.
Probably the whole profession makes use from time to time of suggestion, and many of our patients need above all things inspiration or, it may be, comfort, and these constitute a form of psycho-therapy.
It should be strongly emphasised that In cases of nervous disease psycho-analytic methods should not be employed by non-medical exponents alone, even though they may be expert psychologists, for it is necessary before application of such methods that the presence of organic disease liable to be aggravated by the employment of such methods be first excluded. Such conditions aro encephalitis and other inflam- matory states. Of course, the ideal method would be that persons suitable for this method of investigation should be handled by an expert psychologist in association with skilled medical direction”.