NORTH Stradbroke Island Museum researcher Elisabeth Gondwe has dismissed claims her educational game, based on the island's asylum and cemetery, denigrates war veterans.
Gold Coast woman 82-year-old Agnes Rudd, whose father was committed to the asylum in 1938, took offence with the proposed game and complained to a Gold Coast newspaper. She said it trivialised the lives of inpatients and said many asylum residents, including her dad Harold Lapworth, were traumatised people whose misfortune should not be part of a "game", in which the winner is the last inmate to die.
However, the museum's Ms Gondwe said the game, played on a 2sq m map of Dunwich, was intended to be an engaging way to learn about the island's past and its "nationally significant" Benevolent Asylum Collection.
The collection includes original buildings from the Dunwich Benevolent Asylum for the Aged and Infirm, which opened in 1864 in the township, once a quarantine station for early settlers.
The museum, which opened in 1987, is in the asylum's historic buildings in Welsby Street.
A typical question in the game, a cross between Monopoly and Snakes and Ladders, would be, "your health is good, get a job cutting firewood and find the remains of an old cart inside the museum", Ms Gondwe said.
"There is no direct reference to those who lived in the asylum and there are no questions to do with World War I veterans.
"The map is a mixture of photographs of contemporary Dunwich and pictures of 1906 Dunwich so children can see how the town has changed as they play the game."
Ms Gondwe said it took her more than a year to design and create the educational activity, which she had planned to call "Rattle Your Bones" after an old British poem of the same name.
"In the light of this misunderstanding, I will withhold the working title at this stage," she said.
"I think it is unethical for a newspaper to fuel this woman's anxieties, which are purely unfounded because we are not going to demean World War I veterans.
"This is just a way to direct visitors around our extensive Benevolent Asylum collection, which includes sound recordings, photographs, documents, objects and even two original buildings."
Along with playing the game, visitors to the museum can see mortuary biers, which have held thousands of coffins, and candles made from boiled fat and bones and the bible from the Benevolent Asylum Church.