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Western Australia - Glossary Term

Imbecile (1920s - 1940s)

Term commonly found on child welfare records
Alternative Names
  • Imbecility (also known as)

Imbecile was a term used in the twentieth century to describe people who had intellectual disabilities. The Minister for Public Health in Western Australia defined five classes of 'defectives' in 1929. The second class was imbeciles, who were 'persons in whose case there exists permanent mental defectiveness not amounting to idiocy, yet so pronounced that they are incapable of managing themselves or their affairs, or in the case of children of being taught to do so' (Hansard, 17 September 1929, p.742).

Related Glossary Terms


Online Resources

Sources used to compile this entry: 'Bill - Mental Deficiency. Second Reading [Hansard p739-747]', in Hansard Archive 1870 to 1995, Parliament of Western Australia, 17 September 1929,$File/19290917_Assembly.pdf. p.742..

Prepared by: Debra Rosser