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Hospital Admission Records

People born in many parts of the world (United Kingdom, Ireland, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, USA, Canada, West Indies, South Africa, India, China etc), including sailors from ships in port, were admitted to hospitals in Queensland, Australia. Hospital admission registers contain superb biographical details, which, if supplied by the patient, are often more accurate than details on certificates. A hospital register is sometimes the only surviving source of information about ship of arrival.

For patients born before civil registration, the age, birthplace and parents' details may break down brick walls in your genealogy (especially if you research ancestors' siblings).

The printed registers have space for these details:

  • name
  • date admitted
  • age
  • birthplace
  • occupation
  • religion
  • ship of arrival
  • how long in the colony (and sometimes other colonies)
  • place of residence
  • marital status
  • place of marriage, at what age, and name of spouse
  • names and ages of children living
  • number and gender of children deceased
  • father's name and occupation
  • father's present residence if living (or 'father dead')
  • mother's maiden name
  • disease or reason for admission
  • date of discharge, or date and cause of death
  • remarks (which sometimes include medical history, social circumstances, property, employment, wages, other sources of income, other wage-earners in the family, membership of clubs or benefit societies, etc).

Note the provision for ship of arrival, place of residence, marital status, and father's present residence - details that you will not find on a Queensland death certificate.

Several series of Queensland hospital records have been deposited at Queensland State Archives. Follow the links below to see patients' names and descriptions of surviving records. Many people were in a hospital far from their home.

  • Brisbane (general hospital + prison hospital)
  • Burketown
  • Cooktown
  • Croydon
  • Ingham
  • Mackay
  • Muttaburra
  • Rockhampton
  • Roma
  • Toowoomba
  • Other towns

For historical context, read rules, costs and conditions for hospital patients.

BRISBANE, Queensland

Some patients lived a long way from Brisbane (including Cairns, Charters Towers, Adavale, Tambo, Goondiwindi, Stanthorpe and Maryborough). For Brisbane Hospital admission registers Jan-Mar 1887, Jan-Feb 1901 and Sep-Nov 1902, and patient charts for 1900, patients' names are on my Web site, and the index (with source references) is also on FindMyPast.

I am currently indexing Brisbane Prison Hospital admission registers.

BURKETOWN, Queensland

I have indexed the only surviving register, 16 Dec 1909 - 29 Dec 1923.

COOKTOWN, Queensland

Cooktown was the port for North Queensland goldfields. Patients include many miners, sailors and people who had been in New Guinea or New Zealand. I have indexed surviving registers between 1884 and 1901. Some registers for later years also exist, and many have a name index at the front.

CROYDON, Queensland

Hospital records cover the time of the local gold rush. In the early years, about 70% of hospital patients were born in Britain or Ireland, and about 15% in Australia's southern states, with significant numbers from mining areas, especially Victorian goldfields. I have indexed Croydon Hospital admissions 25 Mar 1888 to 26 Feb 1920 and 28 Feb 1920 to 4 Apr 1925. Patients' names are on my Web site, and the index (with source references) is also on FindMyPast.

INGHAM, Queensland

I have indexed the register for Aug 1889 - May 1890. Some registers for 1927 and 1928 exist, but they are closed for 100 years.

MACKAY, Queensland

Mackay Hospital records are much less informative than those for other towns. An index has been compiled by Qld State Archives.

MUTTABURRA, Queensland

I have indexed the surviving registers between 1887 to 5 Dec 1928. Some registers for 1929 onwards exist, but they are closed for 100 years.


When a hospital building was being demolished, old patient records were discovered by a staff member. She arranged for them to be stored safely until Queensland Health could take them. The last time I checked, they had not been transferred to Qld State Archives.

ROMA, Queensland

I am indexing Roma Hospital admission registers for part of 1904-1905 and 1911. (Registers for part of 1914-1918 exist, but they will not be accessible until 100 years after the date of the last entry in the register.)

TOOWOOMBA, Queensland

Toowoomba Hospital records are much less informative than those for other towns. One source for 1 Jan 1913 - 31 Dec 1924 [Qld State Archives previous system location A/73219] has annual lists of patients admitted (separate lists for males and females). It gives patient's name and admission/discharge dates, and is alphabetical by first letter of surname.

Within the same source there are also separate lists of old age pensioners admitted to Toowoomba Hospital. Two lists, females 1915-1924 and males 1917-1924, give name, town where pension was payable, and admission/discharge dates.

A register of patients admitted 21 Nov 1936 - 15 Jul 1938 [Qld State Archives B/3079] gives name, age, sex, marital status, religion, address (usually just the town), local authority (or 'travelling'), disease, result, admission and discharge dates, by whom recommended, and transfers to another hospital etc.


Many people were in a hospital far from their home, so search all indexes mentioned above. I have not seen any similar registers for other towns, but check for recent additions to Qld State Archives' catalogue, and contact the hospital itself and the local historical society and genealogical groups.

Indexes to hospital records for other States are listed in Specialist Indexes in Australia: a genealogist's guide.

Rules, costs and conditions for hospital patients in the old days

Rules and Regulations for Burketown Hospital (dated 1903 and still in use in 1911) include:

  • Persons who made annual contributions to the hospital could recommend non-paying or paying patients for admission. A one-pound contribution entitled them to recommend one indoor and one outdoor patient;  two pounds - two indoor and two outdoor patients;  four pounds - four indoor and four outdoor patients;  and six pounds or more - six indoor and six outdoor patients. [My note:  if an admission register says 'admitted by ticket', it means 'admission by contributor's recommendation'.]

  • Paying patients were charged two guineas per week, payable in advance.

  • A patient claiming to be unable to pay, but who actually had the means of paying the hospital charges when admitted, was liable for the sum of ten shillings per day.

  • Emergency cases were accepted, but might be liable for payment later, depending on their means.

  • Prohibited as patients:  pregnant females for the purpose of confinement;  insane, epileptic, or incurable cases;  persons suffering from venereal disease  (but the surgeon had discretionary power to admit prohibited cases subject to the approval of the committee). [My note:  in practice, patients with venereal disease frequently appear in the registers, and some insane or epileptic patients were transferred from the hospital into police custody or to Goodna Mental Asylum; but women almost never appear in the registers at the time of childbirth unless there were complications.]

  • Visitors were permitted only on Sunday and Thursday between 10am and 5pm, with no more than two visitors per patient per day, except on special occasions and with the surgeon's permission. The only male visitors admitted to the female ward were close relatives (subject to the approval of the surgeon), clergymen, or members of the committee.

  • All convalescent patients were required to do light work (unpaid) in the hospital, such as getting wood, clearing up the yard, gardening, and otherwise assisting the wardsman. The medical officer was the sole judge, and he specified the kind and amount of such service. Patients were forbidden to offer any remuneration to the officials!

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