Series VPRS 7719
Admission Warrants - Voluntary Boarders
About this Series Related Series Accessing the records in this Series
Date Range: Series 1915 - 1967
  Series in Custody 1915 - 1967
  Contents 1915 - 1980
Public Access: Closed
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
1915 - 1967 Kew (Asylum 1871-1905; Hospital for the Insane 1905-1934; Mental Hospital 1934-c.1970's; Mental/Psychiatric Hospital c.1970's-1988) VA 2840
Agency currently responsible for this SeriesAgency currently responsible for this Series
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Date Range Agency Title Agency Number
2015 - cont Department of Health and Human Services VA 5037
Description of this SeriesDescription of this Series
  • How to use the Records
    Admission warrants are generally arranged in admission number order. Admission numbers were allocated in chronological order by date of admission. Dates of admission can be obtained from the Register of Patients, Nominal Register, Index to Case Books and Annual Examination Registers. The centrally created Alphabetical Lists of Patients in Asylums (VPRS 7446) which covers the period 1849 to 1885 can also be used to obtain dates of admission.

  • Function / Content
    Admission Warrants consisted of the official document and accompanying medical certificates which authorized a person's committal to an asylum as a lunatic patient. People could be admitted to an asylum as a lunatic patient by a number of means, as follows:
    Any friend, relative or acquaintance could request a person's admission as a lunatic. The form of the request was initially established in the tenth schedule of the Lunacy Statute 1867. The order was to be accompanied by medical certificates written by two medical practitioners. The Mental Health Act 1959 classified such patients as: Recommended (R) and Approved (A) Patients. A person could be admitted upon the recommendation, set out in a prescribed form, of a medical practitioner who had examined the person. As soon as possible after admission the superintendent of the hospital was required to examine the patient and either approve the recommended admission or discharge the patient.

    Any (lunatic) person found wandering at large or not under proper care and control could be brought before two justices who could order the person's removal to an asylum. The police were usually responsible for bringing the person before the two justices. In these cases a police report will usually be found with the Order written by the two Justices, together with two medical certificates and a statement outlining the personal and medical details of the supposed lunatic. The Mental Health Act 1959 classified this type of patient as a Judicial Admission (J).

    Any prisoner of the Crown thought to be a lunatic could be removed from a gaol to an asylum by order of the Chief Secretary. Such persons were subsequently classified as security patients (S).

    Voluntary Boarders (V) were those who requested that they be admitted for a mutually agreed period of time (from 1915 onwards)

    Any Ward of the State thought to be a lunatic or mentally defective could be sent to an asylum by order of the Chief Secretary.

    The above types of admission had to be approved and certified within three days of a patient's reception at an asylum. Further details regarding these categories of admission are specified in the Lunacy Statute 1915 and the Mental Health Act 1959.

    Responsibility for the admission procedure has changed several times since 1867. The Lunacy Statute 1867 designated the Chief Secretary as the responsible authority. From 1893 to 1934 the Inspector General of the Insane supervised the admission procedure after which time responsibility was transferred to the Director of Mental Hygiene. In 1950 the authorised Medical Officer of the Mental Hygiene Authority was responsible for the admissions procedure. Subsequently, the Authorised Medical Officer of the Mental Health Authority (est 1962), the Mental Health Division of the Health Department (est 1978) and from 1985 the Office of Psychiatric Services have overseen the admissions procedure.

    The format of the admission papers has varied over time. In most cases the papers provide details of: the person's name; age; previous place of abode; occupation; and, in the case of "recommended" patients, details of the person requesting their admission. One or more reports written by medical practitioners are also usually attached. In many cases, papers recording the death, discharge or transfer of the patient or the release of the patient on trial leave are attached to the admission papers.

  • Recordkeeping System
    Records of patients in asylums are well controlled. For the most part patient records are arranged by the date of admission or date of discharge (including death). Indexes of patient surnames usually exist as a means of determing the relevant dates.

    Admissions of patients were recorded in date order in Registers of Patients and patients were allocated an admission number. An index of surnames was often created to provide access to the entries. The Admission Warrants authorising the committal of the patients to the asylum were filed by admission number and hence are also chronological by date of admission.

    Case histories were recorded on each patient. Initially the case histories were entered in bound volumes, known as Case Books, in order of date of admission (admission number order). A separate Index to the Case Books was sometimes maintained. From 1912 looseleaf folios were used. Known as Patient Clinical Notes, the folios were transferred as patients moved between asylums. The notes were ultimately filed alphabetically by surname according to the year of final discharge or death. Patient Files succeeded the Patient Clinical Notes in 1953 and were controlled and arranged in the same manner. Routine examinations of patients were recorded in Annual and Quinquennial Examination Registers. Entries in these registers are usually either by date of examination or by date of admission. The volumes are often self-indexing.

    Records of the discharge, transfer or death of patients was initially recorded in separate Discharge Registers as well as in the Register of Patients and the case histories. From 1962 separate Discharge Registers were phased out, however, some asylums continued to maintain them. Dates of admission and discharge were also recorded in Nominal Registers of Patients, which provide access by patient surname to other patient records.
    This series contains the admission papers of all those admitted to Kew Mental Hospital as voluntary boarders. Under the 1914 Lunacy Act Amendment Act, any person could request admission to a Hospital for the Insane by completing a prescribed form. Usually the voluntary boarder and the Hospital would agree upon a definite period of residence although they could be discharged on their own application at any time. However, if the Inspector General of the Insane or the Medical Superintendent of the Hospital determined that the patient did not require treatment in the Hospital he could order the patient's discharge.

    The first voluntary boarders were admitted to Kew in 1915. Up until 1953 the warrants were not given a registration number but are filed according to the date of admission. From July 1953 onwards a registration number was allocated to each patient on admission and they are filed according to this number. The registration number is recorded in the VPRS 7686 Register of Voluntary Boarders. This series can therefore be used to obtain a date of admission (prior to July 1953) or an admission number (after July 1953).

    In January 1966 the Register of Voluntary Boarders closed and voluntary admissions were recorded in VPRS 7682 Register of Patient Admission and Discharge. At this time the first sequence of voluntary registration numbers closed (at V.1926) and a new sequence commenced at V.1. However in May 1967 the system of recording voluntary admissions separately from other admissions ceased completely, and voluntary boarders received a registration number in either the male or female sequence of general admissions. The corresponding voluntary admission papers for the period 1967 - 1983 are therefore interfiled with all other admission papers in VPRS 7716 Admission Warrants:Male Patients and VPRS 7717 Admission Warrants:Female Patients. From 1983 to 1988, admission papers for voluntary patients can be found in VPRS 7718 Admission Warrants:Male and Female Patients.

    Details recorded include name and date of admission. In many cases discharge papers are attached to the admission warrants.

    The P2 consignment consists of warrants held at the Hospital until the day of closure. Warrants are arranged in admission number order and cover the period 1953-Jan 1966 (V40-V519). Therefore researchers should check the item lists for the P2 consignment first before attempting to retrieve a warrant for the corresponding period in the P1 consignment.

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Indexes and RegistersIndexes and Registers
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Date Range Series Title Series Number
1915 - 1966 Register of Voluntary Boarders VPRS 7686
1966 - 1967 Register of Patient Admission and Discharge VPRS 7682
Controlled SeriesControlled Series
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Date Range Series Title Series Number
Previous SeriesPrevious Series
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Transfer Date Series Title Series Number
Subsequent SeriesSubsequent Series
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Transfer Date Series Title Series Number
- 1967 Admission Warrants, Male Patients VPRS 7716
1967 - 1967 Admission Warrants, Female Patients VPRS 7717
List/s of records in this seriesList/s of records in this series
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Consignment Number Contents Date Range Public Access No. of Units
P0001 1915 - Circa 1980 Closed 6
P0002 1954 - 1958 Closed 1
Indexes and RegistersIndexes and Registers
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Date Range Series Title Series Number
1915 - 1966 Register of Voluntary Boarders VPRS 7686
1966 - 1967 Register of Patient Admission and Discharge VPRS 7682
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