Posted on Feb 06, 2018

It was a delight to have Neil Cole as guest speaker.    Over his allotted 20 minutes we had a smorgasbord of fascinating insights, facts and topics covered.  These touched on his personal experiences, revelations of the drivers of historical WW1 figures, aspects of creativity, characteristics of and differences between various mental illness conditions all interwoven into Neil’s own story of his highly successful career whilst living with a bipolar condition.  As a former State politician in 1980-0’s his observations on the increased focus in the community on mental illness and the interplay of various interested parties was refreshing (“Its become an industry”)

His ongoing studies of the schizophrenic condition conducted with interviews and case work with sufferers are significant.  He is an Associate Professor at Monash (Medical School), and member of the National Advisory Council on Mental Health.  

He is an Albert Park Rotarian also.

Today Neil is an active author/ playwright too.  Since leaving politics, he has written over twelve plays, most of them performed by La Mama Theatre. His first play, Alive at Williamstown Pier, won the Griffin Award for New Australian Playwriting in 1999. In 2001, he was awarded the Centenary Medal for service to Australian society and literature.

Cole's debut novel, Colonel Surry's Insanity, was published in 2010. The novel, about a fictional soldier (John Surry) who pleads not guilty to a charge of theft on the grounds of insanity, was based on interviews with twenty sufferers of manic depression, as well as his own perspective.

A wonderful and interesting address. 

His memoirs “Stability in Mind” doubtless would be a very interesting read.