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Government Records and the Family Historian: Hospital Records

As a family historian, consider what information may be found in the Police, Education or Government Gazettes or hospital, electoral, probate, naturalisation or other government held records. This guide focuses mainly on South Australian resources.

What could I find?

Though not so good for the ancestor, for the family history researcher discovering that an ancestor was hospitalised is great, as hospital records can provide a lot of information.  Early records of the Adelaide Hospital (later the Royal Adelaide Hospital) include many of the following details:

  • name
  • admission and discharge dates
  • medical officer in attendance
  • ailment
  • address
  • marital status
  • occupation
  • place of origin
  • age
  • length of residence in the colony
  • name of ship arrived on
  • rates charged for treatment
  • occasionally there are even comments about the patient's background, treatment or death

The public health system included not only the sick but also the destitute and the mentally disabled. The early destitute and asylum records are full of interesting information, such as:

  • name
  • address
  • number of children
  • occupation
  • marital status
  • nationality
  • religion
  • age
  • details of arrival in South Australia
  • personal circumstances and reason for admission or relief
  • treatments
  • date of discharge or end date for relief

Available at State Records of South Australia

Records for Government run hospitals and institutions are kept at State Records of South Australia; these include:

  • Adelaide Lunatic Asylum
  • Blyth District Hospital
  • Estcourt House
  • Hindmarsh Hospital
  • Parkside Lunatic Asylum (Glenside Hospital)
  • Port Adelaide Casualty Hospital
  • Port Augusta Hospital
  • Royal Adelaide Hospital


SLSA: PRG 280/1/26/181

Wounded soldiers photographed in their hospital beds, 1919.  To learn more about this photograph click here.