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Hospitals, nursing homes and public health in South Australia: Admission records

Sources for historical information about South Australian health services. Includes information about where to find hospital records.

Public Hospitals

No admission records are held by the State Library of South Australia. Admission and discharge records for Public Hospitals could be with the Hospital itself or may have been deposited with State Records of South Australia, the official repository for records of South Australian Government departments and agencies.

State Records has made some of the indexes to early records available on microfiche at the State Library; Adelaide Hospital admissions 1840-1853 and the index to the Destitute Asylum Admissions registers 1851-1896 (these may contain information about the health, birth, and death detail of inmates.)

For more details of records held at State Records see Ancestors in archives: a guide to family history sources in the official records of South Australia, 2000, or search their online catalogue, ArchivesSearch.

District Council institutions

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

Church or Society Institutions

Some records of church and society-operated institutions may be found in the State Library's collection, for example:
  • the archival collection of the Anglican Church in Australia (SRG 94) contains records of The Babies' Home, Walkerville, 1941-1944 (SRG 94/134). (See the catalogue for details of any access restrictions).
  • the records of the Angorichina Hostel are held in the collection of the Tubercular Soldiers' Aid Society at SRG 488.
Some churches and society groups maintain their own archives. The websites Find and connect and Finding your own way provide guidance for people looking for information about children's homes in South Australia.  Some of this information will be relevant to people wishing to access the records of hospitals and nursing homes run by church or society groups.

Private Institutions

No records of privately operated hospitals or nursing homes in South Australia are held by the Library. The Private Hospitals Association stated in 1996 that active records for the past seven years are required to be kept by the Hospital itself; and inactive files may be preserved - but no central repository for such records exists.

Sands & MacDougall directories are useful for establishing the address of private hospitals and nursing homes (up to 1973) and may also give the name of staff, such as the matron.

Published local histories, and local history collections, may also have information regarding home locations.