WESTERN Australian Governor Kerry Sanderson suggested CY O’Connor’s legacy should be to encourage kindness and support those with mental illness.
Speaking at a lecture last night at The Constitutional Centre of WA about the engineer, organised by the National Trust of Australia, Ms Sanderson detailed O’Connor’s career and impact on WA before his death in 1902.
The theme of the lecture was “do we celebrate our scientists, engineers and innovators enough?”
Ms Sanderson said the unfair treatment of O’Connor in the press at the time may have played a part in his suicide and it should encourage people to be kinder and to have an open dialogue about mental illness.
“It is fair to say that CY O’Connor received much criticism in the press over a period of time before his death,” she said.
Ms Sanderson read some unfavourable reports from the press at the time.
“Instead of praising him, the press accused him of corruption and incompetence,” she said.
“He took his own life after 11 years of incredible work.
“He took no leave during this period.”
She said his legacy should be to encourage people to be kinder and support those that may be criticised.