An Everyone Story

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An Everyone Story: Finding our way back to compassion, hope and humanity

by Duncan McKellar

'It was a disaster from the word go,' Barb Spriggs said when telling the story of her husband Bob's admission to the Oakden Older Persons' Mental Health Service in Adelaide.

Barb had no idea that her story would launch a landmark inquiry, The Oakden Report, trigger a Royal Commission, and place her at the centre of a national scandal. Barb's story also changed Duncan McKellar's life, a psychiatrist in the review team delving into the circumstances surrounding Bob's death. Duncan went on to lead a transformation in culture and care.

An Everyone Story explores what we might learn from Barb's story, from the stories of people who lived and worked at the Oakden Campus, and the reimagined services that followed it. It places these stories into context - of Duncan's life and learning, of our health and social care systems, and our communities. It asks why cultures of care and service go wrong and what we might do to achieve a kinder and more compassionate world. Ultimately, An Everyone Story considers what it means to be human.

‘A must-read for people in all caring professions, for politicians, those in the media, people touched by dementia and all causes of human struggle. It is a story for everyone.’ – Professor Sue Kurrle AO, ABC TV’s Old People’s Home for 4-Year-Olds

About the author


Duncan McKellar is a psychiatrist who specialises in the care of older people. In 2017 he was a co-author of Australia’s landmark Oakden Report, which triggered the Australian Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety. For the past two years Duncan has been living in Edinburgh, working as part of HammondCare’s international team and exploring his Scottish heritage, before returning home to Australia in 2024. He is the co-creator of A Box of Memories, a musical written with his daughter Erin, a composer, about a family dealing with dementia. A Box of Memories was a breakout hit at the 2022 Adelaide Fringe Festival.

Product details 

  • Publisher: Wakefield Press
  • ISBN: 9781923042179
  • Pages: 290
  • Publication year: 2024