Wrist shackle used at Yarra Bend Lunatic Asylum for chaining patients to the wall. Referred to in Yarra Bend Casebook (1848-54) as "handcuffs on the wall".

Physical restraint was an acceptable and routine technique in the management of lunatics in colonial Victoria. Having been certified insane and admitted to the asylum, lunatics were regarded as merely one of a number of forms of deviants from which Victorian society should be protected by their segregation. In the early days of the colony, the concept of offering therapy for those afflicted with a mental illness did not exist, and physical restraint was employed as a custodial measure, consistent with the penal origins of the colony.

Physical Description

Wrist shackle is a broad, wrap-around brown leather bracelet with a flat piece of steel with a slot in it, rivetted on one end and on the other a hollow, oblong-shaped steel handle protruding at right angles, which fits through the slot and would be locked in place with a padlock. Chains would also be attached to this handle. Scallops are cut along the edge of the bracelet, probably to ease chafing of the wearer's wrist. Shackle displayed on a pink, plaster-cast of a hand and wrist.

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