If you are interested in hearing more about Callan Park or my other areas of research, please get in contact to book a presentation for your local historical society or club.

HSC Extension History Workshop

Roseville College

September 2019

Private event. If you are interested in booking a similar presentation at your school please get in touch.

Society of Women Writers

State Library of New South Wales

Wednesday 13 November 2019

For bookings see the SWW website

In this workshop Sarah will take participants through her process of piecing together the daily routine and lives of the mentally-ill patients of Callan Park and the staff who cared for them. Some archival sources from the 1800s will be provided for a writing workshop focusing on developing observational skills.


AIS Extension History Symposium Workshop

New Horizons: Constructing the ‘Sensitive’ History of the Ordinary

Association of Independent Schools

June 2020 (exact date TBA)

Constructing histories of the insane and delinquent in nineteenth-century NSW is a difficult task. How can a historian make use of sources which are overlaid with issues of bias and suspicion? How can such macabre topics be treated sensitively for a popular audience already permeated by an unacknowledged prejudice? New opportunities for historians, including online searchable databases, are making such histories of ordinary people possible like never before, and are giving rise to a new generation of histories which are forced to grapple with these questions and confront audiences.



Archive of Past Events

Sarah Luke in conversation with Roslyn Burge

Berkelouw’s Leichhardt
6pm, Friday 5 October 2018
Please RSVP by 1 October 2018 by emailing Australian Scholarly Publishing:
Join Roslyn Burge (Friends of Callan Park) as she chats with Sarah Luke about her newly-published book, Callan Park, Hospital for the Insane at Berkelouw’s at Leichhardt.


Friends of Callan Park meeting: presentation by Sarah Luke

Writing NSW (Garryowen House, Callan Park)
6.30pm, Monday 8 October 2018
No RSVP necessary
Sarah Luke’s Callan Park, Hospital for the Insane has been published to celebrate the 140th anniversary of the official opening of Garryowen House as the Callan Park Lunatic Asylum. On the evening of Monday 8th October at the Friends of Callan Park meeting at Writing NSW, she will be speaking about the early patients and staff of the Callan Park Hospital. Come along to hear about the history of the early madhouse, and the process of piecing its unique story together using the patients’ original medical files.


History Talk: Sarah Luke

Leichhardt Library
Tuesday 6 November 2018
Book via Eventbrite
To celebrate the 140th anniversary of the founding of the Callan Park Lunatic Asylum, Sarah Luke has published Callan Park, Hospital for the Insane (Australian Scholarly Publishing).
Sarah’s book explores the early history of the old Callan Park Lunatic Asylum, using Victorian-era medical files to explore the lives of its patients and staff. Discover the workings of the madhouse ­– from the tiny mansion originally used to house Sydney’s insane – to the magnum opus asylum that was the Kirkbride Complex.
Sarah will present a lecture at Leichhardt Library exploring the lives of the first patients of Callan Park.

Blue Mountains Historical Society Presentation

Hobby’s Reach Research Centre, Wentworth Falls
Saturday 6 July 2019
For bookings, see the BMHS website
Come along to hear about the daily life of staff and patients at Callan Park Hospital for the Insane in the 1870s and 1880s.