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Proformat News
No: 102
August 2014
August Seminars
3: SAGHS Scottish Interest Group 2:00–4:00pm
: WW1 Military ancestors: Mt Barker Library 1:00–4:00pm
17: Family History on the Web WEA Centre Adelaide 10:00–1:00pm
19: Researching military ancestors Noarlunga Library 10:30–12:30pm

September Seminars
6: North Adelaide heritage walk WEA Centre Adelaide 2:00–4:00pm
14: Semaphore heritage walk WEA Centre Adelaide 2:00–4:00pm

See the seminar program for more details and bookings.

Staffordshire Parish Registers
Staffordshire registers—baptism, marriage, banns and burial records from 1538–1900—1.2M entries have been placed online by FindMyPast.

Archive changes in Adelaide

State Records of SA and the National Archives Adelaide Office are relocating. The following changes will come into effect as outlined:
1. There will be no access to records until 4 August.
2. The new reading room for both organisations will be in the State Library of SA and open on 4 August.
3. Fragile and heavy items can only be viewed at Gepps Cross and by appointment.

Hospital and Asylum records in South Australia

Using records generated by institutions can prove fruitful in revealing the lives of people. Not only is a knowledge of the reasons for admission useful in building up a picture but the records will reveal personal information as well. Because of a lack of census material these records also act as useful census substitutes.

Before embarking on this avenue of research it is useful to have some background knowledge about the institutions of interest.

In this issue:
August Seminars
September Seminars
Staffordshire Parish Registers
Archive changes in Adelaide

Feature article
Hospital and Asylum records


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The Adelaide Hospital was the first permanent hospital in the colony when the foundation stone was laid by Governor Gawler on 15 July 1840 and remained as such until 1869 meaning that every person requiring hospital treatment from 1840 until 1869 were patients in this institution. Even when the second hospital was established in Mount Gambier and for much of the nineteenth century the Adelaide Hospital was the only facility available to the bulk of the population in metropolitan Adelaide. It was relocated to the present site on the corner of Frome Road in 1856. This makes it a very useful resource. Moreover a number of inmates in other Adelaide institutions may have found themselves in this hospital.

You need to be aware that for many people, hospitalisation was an absolute last resort and many preferred to be nursed at home and especially if they had the funds to pay for such a service.

The hospitals with the dates of their earliest records at State Records of SA are:
    • Adelaide Hospital 1841
        GRG78/46 Patient Registers 1876–81, 1890–1960
        GRG78/49 Admission registers 1841-1922, 1924-61
        GRG78/50 Discharge Registers 1869–81, 1913–15, 1921–23
        GRG78/57 Case Books 1868–1924
        GRG78/46 Patient Registers 1876–81, 1890–1960
    • Hindmarsh Hospital 1865
        GRS 3827Patient Registers 1865–6
    • Naracoorte Hospital 1880
        GRG78/125 Salespersons 1882–1895
    • Port Adelaide Casualty Hospital 1896
        GRG78/31 Admission registers 1896–1960
    • Upper Wakefield Maternity Hospital 1933
        MRG8/54 Patient registers 1926–47
        MRG8/55 Admission registers 1933–47

There were a multitude of other establishments in Adelaide but often their early nineteenth century records have not survived. These include:

• Colonial Infirmary (North Terrace nr Trinity Church) established 1837–9 (no known records)
• Emigration Square Infirmary (west parklands) established 1839–40 (GRG87/11)
• Hindley Street Infirmary established 1850 (no known records)
• Port Adelaide Casualty Hospital established 1862 (records start 1896 GRG78/31)
• Childrens Hospital (North Adelaide) established 1878 (various records start 1920s)

Admission Registers of the Adelaide Hospital for the period 1840–1959 will provide such information about patients as age, birthplace and name of ship arrived on. A card index to these records of the Adelaide Hospital has been partly completed by the SA Genealogy & Heraldry Society (GenealogySA), which also holds indexes to patients in several other hospitals and asylums for the years 1851–57 and 1870–73.

The hospitals with the dates of their earliest records at GenealogySA are:
    • Aldinga Maternity Hospital 1922
        Patient Registers 1922–40
    • Clare Hospital 1902
        Lying-in Home 1902–1920
    • Elliston Hospital 1920
        Patient Registers 1920–57
    • Kapunda Hospital 1877
        Patient Registers 1877–1922
    • Mount Gambier Hospital 1869
        Admission registers 1869–91
    • Mrs Knight's Nursing Home Mount Gambier 1916
        Admission registers 1916–29
    • Port Augusta Hospital 1875
        Admission registers 1875–1904, 1917
    • Port Augusta Maternity Hospital 1926
       Admission registers 1926–33
    • Wallaroo Hospital 1876
        Patient Registers 1876–1955
    • Mrs Pethick's Maternity Home Willunga 1922
        Patient Registers 1922–40

Some of the large collection of asylum records held by State Records of SA include:
    • Adelaide Asylum 1846
        GRG 34/18 Admission Register 1879–84
        GRG34/86 Discharge on Trial 1898–1909
        GRG 34/90 Patient Index 1846–1901
        GRG 34/97 Visitor Registers1847–1902
        GRG34/140 Patient Registers 1850–96
        GRG34/94 Quarterly Returns 1861–64
    • Destitute Asylum
        GRG 28/5 Admission Register 1870–73, 1881–1924
    • Parkside Asylum 1870
        GRG34/40 Patient Registers 1913–30
        GRG34/42 Admission Register 1935–38
        GRG34/48 Bodies to Anatomical School 1885–99
        GRG34/86 Discharge on Trial 1898–1909
        GRG34/119 Death Registers 1891–1909 (inc patients removed to Adelaide Hospital)
        GRG34/120 Death Registers 1894–1919
        GRG34/122 Patient Registers 1870–1913
        GRG34/123 Discharge Registers 1873–1933
        GRG34/141 Patient Registers 1850–1980 (part open)

State Records of South Australia holds a number of series for the above institutions that may be of interest to family historians but not listed in this article.

For the Adelaide Hospital enter GRG78 in the agency ID field of Direct Search, within ArchivesSearch at the State Records website.

This will reveal a detailed description of the agency—in this case the Hospitals Department and a full listing of all the record series held by the archive for that group.

Where hospitals or nursing homes were attached to local councils, their records are classed as government records, so may be held by State Records, but decisions on retention may rest with the Council concerned and so it is appropriate to contact the managers or the local council with enquiries about access.

Some records of church and society-operated institutions may be found in the State Library's collection. For example the Anglican Church records (SRG 94) includes material from the Walkerville Babies' Home, 1941-1944 (SRG 94/134) while the records of the Angorichina Hostel are held in the collection of the Tubercular Soldiers' Aid Society at SRG 488.

No records of privately operated hospitals in South Australia are held by the State Library. They usually only retain records for 7 years. The State Library has a comprehensive run of directories online covering 1864 to 1973. See Almanacs and directories.

Directories can be useful for establishing the address of private hospitals and nursing homes (up to 1973) and may also give the names of staff, such as the matron. Published local histories often include information about community hospitals.

The National Archives of Australia holds records pertaining to the health of new arrivals:
    • Torrens Island Quarantine Station 1918
        D2303 Burial Register 1887–1945
        D2304 Admission Register 1918–22
        D2305 Admission Register 1923–1970
        D3187 Admission Register 1923–1939
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