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Chelmsford – The Endless Sleep

Chelmsford is a name that Australian members of CCHR will probably never forget. For many, it was their first contact with unmitigated evil. And for all of them, it tested both their courage and their ability to persist in the face of derision, disbelief and an uncaring bureaucracy.

For Australians as a whole, the name of Chelmsford is today synonymous with madness, barbarism and horror; of psychiatry run amok, of bizarre experiments that, one magazine claimed, “rival those performed by Dr. Josef Mengele in Nazi Germany.” New South Wales Health Minister, Peter Collins, called it “the darkest episode of the history of psychiatry in this country.” And in mute witness, at least forty-nine crematoriums and cemeteries around Sydney hold Chelmsford’s victims.

The Chelmsford Private Hospital in Sydney’s northwest Pennant Hills was headed by Dr. Harry Bailey who by 1963 had started to administer what is called deep sedation therapy, or more commonly, deep sleep therapy. As a later story by the Sydney Morning Herald described it, the title was a misnomer.

“First of all it isn’t a therapy,” having shown no therapeutic benefits. “Nor is it sleep. It is a coma induced by large doses of barbiturates.”


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