Series VPRS 7490
Asylum Records
About this Series Related Series Accessing the records in this Series
Date Range: Series 1905 - 1949
  Series in Custody 1905 - 1949
  Contents 1905 - 1949
Public Access: Part Open
Location: North Melbourne
Format of Records: Physical
 
Agency which created this SeriesAgency which created this Series
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Date Range Agency Title Agency Number
? 1916 - ? 1949 St Helens/Pleasant View (St Helens Licensed House 1916-1928; Pleasant View Licensed House 1928-1953; Pleasant View Receiving House 1953-1962; Pleasant View Psychiatric Hospital 1962-1973; Plesant View Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation Centre 1973-1995) VA 2848
1905 - ? 1916 Sunnyside Licensed House VA 2860
Agency currently responsible for this SeriesAgency currently responsible for this Series
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Date Range Agency Title Agency Number
2009 - cont Department of Health III VA 4921
Description of this SeriesDescription of this Series
  • How to use the Records
    This series has been digitised and is available online. Access to the digitised records is available via the physical records details pages.

    Consult the Consignment Details List and order in the volumes covering the time period of interest.

    Case Books

    Where an index exists, consult the index and turn to the page indicated.

    When no index is available, it is necessary to determine the date of admission by consulting other records such as Registers of Patients, most of which have alphabetical indexes by patient name. Dates of admission can also be obtained from Nominal Registers, which are arranged alphabetically by patient name. Annual Examination Registers can be used to ascertain dates of admission if other records are not extant and centrally created Alphabetical Lists of Patients in Asylums (VPRS 7446) which cover the period 1849 to 1885 can also be used.

    Discharge Register

    Where an index exists, consult the index and turn to the page indicated.

    Where no index exists, researchers should determine the possible date of discharge and leaf through the volume to locate the entry concerning the patient of interest.

  • Function / Content
    This series consists of a collection of records from the Sunnyside Licensed House (VA 2860), Camberwell (for the records dated 1916 onwards it is assumed these were maintained by the St Helens / Pleasant View Licensed House (VA 2848) as Sunnyside ceased to exist in 1916). These records were created and maintained separately, however the records have been placed together to form one series to reflect a record keeping system in operation and for ease of reference. These are the only records recovered to date.

    The following records are included in the series.

    Units 1 - 2 Case Books

    From at least 1845 and the proclamation of An Act for the Regulation of the Care and Treatment of Lunatics (8 & 9 Vic c.100), each asylum was required to maintain a Casebook of patients. The book was to be kept in such form as the Governor in Council was from time to time to direct. As soon as possible after the admission of any patient and periodically thereafter, the following details were to be entered into the Casebook:

    the mental state and bodily condition of every patient on admission
    the history of his/her case recorded from time to time while he/she continued to be a patient in the asylum
    a correct description of the medicine and other remedies prescribed for the treatment of his/her disorder
    and in the case of death an exact account of the autopsy (if any) of the patient.

    Information recorded in the case histories included:

    Personal Details

    - date of admission
    - admission number
    - name and address of nearest relative
    - by whom brought to the asylum
    - previous residence
    - age and sex of patient
    - whether married, widowed or single
    - if any family
    - occupation
    - habits of life

    Medical Details

    - form of insanity
    - duration of present attack
    - if disordered before/if disorder hereditary
    - specific signs of insanity
    - if suicidal
    - if dangerous and destructive
    - a brief description of bodily condition
    - the history of his/her case recorded from time to time while he/she continued to be a patient in the asylum
    - a description of the medicine and other remedies prescribed for the treatment of his/her disorder.

    The casebooks usually record whether a patient was transferred elsewhere, discharged or died in custody. A copy of the post-mortem report was sometimes included in cases of death.

    These books were to be regularly inspected by an Inspector or other officer appointed under the provisions of the prevailing legislation. It was expected that a full account of the mental and physical condition of the patient would be entered in the casebook on admission of the patient with a further note to be made at the end of each month at least for the first six months and subsequently a full note every six months. However such thorough and accurate notes were not always maintained.

    In later years the format of the casebooks was altered slightly. Reference was made to the admission number of the patient and a photograph of the patient on admission was often included. Additional information such as extracts from the required medical certificates and a copy of the Medical Superintendent's report on the mental and physical condition of the patient were often incorporated and additional space was provided for recording the history of each patient.

    In 1912 the format of case histories was changed from bound casebooks to looseleaf folio format. The new format facilitated the transfer of case histories with the patients when they were sent to other institutions.

    Unit 3 Discharge Register

    This volume registers all discharges from Sunnyside in chronological order of discharge. Although Sunnyside ceased to exist from around 1916, the volume continued to be maintained as a discharge register until 1949. It is presumed it was maintained by the St Helens / Pleasant View Licensed House (VA 2848) which commenced in 1916. Each entry in register is allocated a sequential number. Details recorded include :

    date of discharge
    date of last reception
    number in Register of Patients
    name
    sex
    discharged (recovered, relieved, not improved)
    removed and to what Hospital or Licensed House
    died
    cause of death
    age at death
    those present at death

    The register is signed by the Inspector-General for the Insane.

  • Recordkeeping System
    Case histories were recorded chronologically by date of admission of the patient. Some casebooks include an alphabetical index to patients which gives the page number on which the entry is found. In some institutions, a separate Index to Casebooks was maintained. Consignment P1 units 1 and 2 contain an index by patient surname at the front of both volumes.

    Discharge registers were recorded chronologically by date of discharge of the patient.

More research resourcesMore research resources
    PROVguide059 Mental Health Records
Indexes and RegistersIndexes and Registers
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Consignment Number Contents Date Range Public Access No. of Units
P0001 1905 - 1949 Part Open 3
Indexes and RegistersIndexes and Registers
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More research resourcesMore research resources
    PROVguide059 Mental Health Records