|Description of this AgencyDescription of this Agency|
The Chief Secretary was responsible for the administration of the Hospitals and Charitable Institutions Acts until 1923 when, following the proclamation of the Hospitals and Charities Act 1922 (No.3260) the Charities Board of Victoria was established and the Treasurer became responsible for its administration
From 1864 the Hospitals and Charitable Institutions Acts had provided for the incorporation of any institution, society or association which had been established with the object of saving human life, promoting health, temperance or morality, preventing cruelty or vice or for other philanthropic or humane purposes and which was funded entirely or in part by voluntary contributions. Such institutions were governed by trustees and committees or boards of directors elected by contributors.
Many of these institutions received financial assistance from the Government and by 1882 an Inspector of Industrial and Reformatory Schools and Public Charities had been appointed within the Chief Secretary's Department (VA 475). In 1895 the Inspector of Charities was transferred to the Department of the Treasurer (VA 2886).
Establishment of Charities Board of Victoria 1922
The Charities Board of Victoria (VA 2707) was established under the provisions of the Hospitals and Charities Act 1922 (No.3260). The Board comprised fourteen members representing the Metropolitan Hospitals Association, the Country Hospitals Association and the committees of metropolitan and country subsidized institutions and benevolent societies. The Board was responsible for benevolent societies and institutions which were supported in whole or in part by voluntary contributions and which had as one of their objects the provision of "charitable relief to diseased, infirm, incurable, poor or destitute persons (including children and convalescent patients)".
Many institutions, including those wholly maintained by the State; institutions established under the provisions of the Lunacy Acts, Mental Treatment Act 1915 and Inebriates Act 1915; hospitals i.e. those receiving no aid from the State; municipal hospitals and institutions; institutions established by the Commonwealth Government; the Queen's Memorial Infectious Diseases Hospital at Fairfield and the Sanatorium at Heatherton for patients suffering from tuberculosis were to be exempt from the provisions of the Act.
The Act further provided for the appointment of an Inspector of Charities who was to be the ex officio secretary of the Board and whose appointment was not subject to the provisions of the Public Service Act. The Inspector of Charities was responsible both to the Charities Board and to the Treasurer (VA 623) who was the Minister responsible for the administration of the Hospitals and Charities Acts from 1923 until 1944 when responsibility was assumed by the Minister of Health (VRG 39).
Powers and Responsibilities of the Charities Board
The Board was responsible for determining what charitable relief was required to meet the needs of diseased, infirm, incurable, poor or destitute persons resident in Victoria and which institutions or benevolent societies should be subsidized. The Board was also responsible for the allocation of funds from the Hospitals and Charities Fund which was to be established and kept in the Treasury in accordance with section 42 of the Act. The Board could recommend to the Minister that subsidized institutions be closed or amalgamated and that subsidized benevolent societies cease to exist, if they believed them to be mismanaged or to be failing to effectively provide the services for which they were responsible. The Board could also recommend for what purposes a subsidized institution should be used.
From the commencement of the Act no institution or benevolent society could be established without the prior consent of the Board and all existing institutions and societies were to apply to be registered with the Board. Unregistered institutions and societies were not eligible to receive funds from the Hospitals and Charities Fund, consolidated revenue or municipalities and were prevented from making appeals for voluntary contributions. The Board was empowered to refuse or cancel the registration of an institution.
The Act further provided for the incorporation and government of hospitals and philanthropic institutions other than those run by religious denominations; the regulation of fund raising; the liability of patients for the cost of their care and treatment; the resumption of land for the benefit of institutions and the making and publication of regulations. The second and third schedules to the Act listed the names of existing incorporated institutions and separate institutions (i.e. those established by religious denominations).
In 1948 following the proclamation of the Hospitals and Charities Act 1948 (No.5300) the powers and responsibilities of the Charities Board were assumed by the newly established Hospitals and Charities Commission (VA 693).
Note: For further information about the administration of health from 1836 to 1989 see VRG 39 Health.
Location of Records
For records of the Charities Board of Victoria and its successor see List of Holdings 2nd edition 1985, section 3.11.4. For records of individual health and welfare agencies see VRG 8 and the List of Holdings section 8.0.0.