Series List and Summary Descriptions


Series 8 Annual Reports - Preservation Series

Annual Reports were usually issued in October at the Annual General Meeting and report on the hospitalís activity in the preceding financial year (normally 1 July to the following 30 June.)

In 1996 the first Annual Report of the newly formed Women's and Children's Health Care Network (Series 44) was presented, in addition to separate reports for both the Royal Women's and Royal Children's Hospitals (Series 45). In 1997 the network report was included as booklet within both the RWH and RCH reports. From 1998 to 2000 only the WCHCN Report was produced.

In 2001 and 2002 the RWH again prepared it's own report, calling it "The Year In Review". This could possibly be regarded as a separate series, but has been included in this series as it performed much the same function as the long standing Annual Report. No publicly distributed Annual Report has since been produced, although the "Quality of Care Report", first produced in 2001, performs a similar function (Series 308).

In 2005 the newly independent Royal Women's Hospital issued its "first" Annual Report. These reports will be included in this series.

This series, created in the Archives, is of the best available copy of as many unbound Annual Reports as can be found. They are not to be used for reference unless no other copy is available. All editions are not yet entered into the database.

Access Conditions: Access severely restricted to preserve in best physical condition possible.

Date Range: 30 June 1932 - 30 November 2005
Provenance: Royal Women's Hospital

 

Series 32 Minutes

This series consists of the Minutes of the Board of Management from the earliest surviving records of the Lying-in Hospital to the last Minutes of the Royal Women's Hospital prior to its absorption into the Women's and Children's Health Care Network in 1995.

The Minutes are in many formats, bound volumes, hand written, typed and computer generated.

Access Conditions: Most recent thirty years subject to Freedom of Information Act provisions; otherwise nil.

Date Range: 10 January 1868 - 13 July 1995
Provenance: Board of Management

 

Series 43 Annual Reports - Bound Master Set

Annual Reports were usually issued in October at the Annual General Meeting and report on the hospitalís activity in the preceding financial year (normally 1 July to the following 30 June.)

This set was kept in the Chief Executive Officer's office until 1995 and is the most complete set from the hospital's foundation in 1856 until 1946. Three additional bound volumes exist for the period 1947-1973, but were located elsewhere. A similar set is held by the RWH Library.

Items are not yet entered in database.

Access Conditions: Nil

Date Range: 1 January 1994 - 31 December 1995
Provenance: Royal Women's Hospital

 

Series 47 Midwifery Books

As the Melbourne Lying-in Hospital and Infirmary for Diseases of Women ans Children was the first public hospital for women in Australia, this is the first set of patient records of their kind in Australia. Indeed they are one of the oldest surviving systematic records of childbirth in the world.

These two volumes are the first midwifery records kept by the Lying-in Hospital. They record every midwifery case from the first admission in August 1856 until the record keeping system changed in March 1889. Drs Richard Tracy and John Maund, the two medical founders of the hospital modelled them on the midwifery books developed by James Young Simpson, the great Scottish obstetrician of the Edinburgh Lying-in Hospital.

These two bound volumes have details of the mother and the delivery entered by hand in a systematic way that enabled Tracy and Maund to analyse their patients and practice. Each patient is recorded chronologically by date of admission, sometimes weeks before the child was born. The patient's name is given, her age, marital status and place of birth. Details of the labour are recorded, often very briefly as most proceeded without cause for special remarks, although the duration of the labour is noted, the presentation of the baby, and if the child was alive or stillborn. Sex, weight and length are noted.

In 1888 the Hospital divided the Midwifery and Infirmary Departments physically and administratively. The Midwifery Department moved into a completely separate new building in Cardigan Street and the honorary staff was increased to eight, four of whom only worked in Midwifery. The record keeping system changed so that Birth Registers (Series 158) and Labour Ward Case Books (Series 156) were maintained. There are also two Midwifery Department Honorary Physicians Case Books (1888-1891) (Series 154), the context of which is not fully understood.

Care must be taken in relying on the details found in records from this period. Spelling is variable and identities were sometimes being concealed. It is necessary to know the date of a birth (or more specifically, date of admission) to find a particular entry.

Both volumes have been microfilmed and Volume 1 is partially available on the Archives website.

Access Conditions: Patient confidentiality

Date Range: 19 August 1856 - 21 March 1889
Provenance: Midwifery Department

 

Series 67 Lecture Notes

Midwifery and Neonatal Paediatric Nursing lectures compiled by midwifery and medical staff of the RWH for use by their pupil/student midwives. Also one set Gynaecological lecture notes.

An artificial series compiled by the Archves Department.

Access Conditions: Nil

Date Range: 1 January 1938 - 31 December 1991
Provenance: Nursing Administration

 

Series 84 Minutes and Correspondence

These two volumes contain a mixture of correspondence (incoming and outgoing) and minutes of the Gentlemen's Committee, the Committee of Management and Annual General Meetings. The volumes may have been compiled by the Honorary Secretary, but a more thorough examination of them is yet required.

Access Conditions: Nil

Date Range: 11 February 1867 - 18 August 1881
Provenance: Gentlemens' Committee

 

Series 101 Reports

Two volumes of manuscript reports of the Visiting Committee.

Access Conditions: Nil

Date Range: 7 April 1881 - 4 May 1923
Provenance: Visiting Committee

 

Series 124 Medical and Clinical Reports - Preservation Copies

A report prepared ususally annually giving statistics and analysis of medical and clinical activity in the Royal Women's Hospital (and its predcessors).

The Report was prepared by
1940 Professor Marshall Allan and Drs R McK Rome and Margaret A Mackie,
1941-46 Professor Marshall Allan and Dr Margaret A Mackie,
1947 not recorded,
1951-76 Prof S L Townsend
1977-87 not produced,
1988 Leslie L Reti, Quality Assurance Co-ordinator (Medical), became the Editor.

Access Conditions: Nil

Date Range: 1 January 1940 - 31 May 2001
Provenance: Royal Women's Hospital

 

Series 154 Honorary Physicians Case Books

There are only two volumes in this series, both commencing in October 1888, one for the patients of Dr Michael Ulick OíSullivan and the other for those of Dr John William Dunbar Hooper, two of the four new Honorary Physicians appointed to the Midwifery Department at that time

Following a complete separation and reorganisation of the Infirmary and Midwifery Departments in 1888 the hospital changed its Midwifery Department record keeping system from one record (Midwifery Books, Series 47) to two by introducing Birth Registers (Series 158) and the more detailed Labour Ward Case Books (Series 156). Unlike the Honorary Physicians Case Books which usually have only the patients of one doctor, these volumes were for all the patients of the department.

There seems to have been a transition stage when individual doctors maintained their own midwifery case books, as was done in the Infirmary Department, as there are two extant Honorary Physicians' Case Books. It is not known if the other Honorary Physicians also had their own Case Books at this time and how complete this series is, or indeed how complete the record in "Labour Ward Book No 2", or the other early Labour Ward Case Books is.

There is considerable duplication of cases between the Honorary Physicians Case Books and the Labour Ward Case Books. Some of the cases recorded in "Labour Book No 2" are duplicates of cases recorded in the two Honorary Physicians' Case Books. There are however many more cases in the Honorary Physicians' Case Books which are not in "Labour Book No 2Ē.

These two volumes are very large leather bound volumes, the same as the Labour Ward Case Books from the same period. They have both been microfilmed (Series 152).

Michael Ulick OíSullivan, L and LMRCS, LRCP, Ed, LM, Coombe Hospital Dublin.
Dr OíSullivan was first elected to the staff of the Lying in Hospital as an Honorary Physician in the Midwifery Department in 1888, a position he held until l891/92 when he moved to the Infirmary Department. He continued in that position until his retirement in 1914 when he was appointed Honorary Consulting Physician. He died in 1917. He was Chairman of the Honorary Infirmary Staff from 1903 to 1910.

John William Dunbar Hooper, LRCS, LRCP, Fellow Obstetrical Society, Edinburgh
Dr Hooper had been a Resident Surgeon in the Infirmary Department in 1885-86. Following the reorganisation of the Hospital he was appointed Honorary Physician to the Midwifery Department in 1888, and like OíSullivan remained there until 1891/92 when he also transferred to the Infirmary Department. He continued there until 1898.

Care must be taken in relying on the details found in records from the 19th and early 20th centuries, as there are many discrepancies between this information and that given in Birth Certificates and other hospital records of the same period - for example, names are spelled differently, mothersí ages vary and even birth dates are inconsistent. In some instances births are recorded in Labour Ward Case Books, but not in the Birth Register.

Patient histories are recorded chronologically and are not indexed. It is necessary to know the date of a birth (or more specifically, date of admission) to find a particular entry.

Access Conditions: Strict patient confidentiality provisions apply. Refer to to the Archivist or the Freedom of Information Officer in Health Information Services.

Microfilm is always to be used for reference in preference to the originals, except to clarify illegible text on the film. Access to the originals will be under supervision of the Archivist.

Date Range: 17 October 1888 - 27 July 1891
Provenance: Midwifery Department

 

Series 156 Labour Ward Case Books

In 1888/89 the hospital changed its Midwifery Department record keeping system from one record (Midwifery Books, Series 47) to two by introducing Birth Registers (Series 158) and the more detailed Labour Ward Case Books (Series 156). The Case Books are a chronological sequence in which the patients of all the Honorary Physicians are recorded.

There seems also to have been a transition stage when individual doctors maintained their own midwifery case books, as was done in the Infirmary Department, as there are two extant Honorary Physicians' Case Books (Dr O'Sullivan, 1888-1889 and Dr Hooper 1888-1891 [Series 154]). There may have been others.

The earliest existing Labour Ward Case Book is "Labour Book No 2", 1888-1892 (A1994/25/01), suggesting an earlier volume has been lost. Other volumes may well have been lost also, as numbering and dates are not consecutive or complete.

"Labour Book No 2" duplicates some of the cases recorded in the two Honorary Physicians' Case Books. There are however many more cases in the doctors' Case Books which are not in "Labour Book No 2". It is not known if the other Honorary Physicians also had their own Case Books at this time and therefore how complete the record in "Labour Ward Book No 2", or the other early Case Books is.

The Labour Ward Case Books from this early period are very large leather bound volumes. They have all been microfilmed (Series 152).

Labour Ward Case Books from 1904-1928 have been destroyed, although there are indexes for the period 1/1/1920 to 29/9/1931 (Series 0318). The Medical Records Department microfilmed a very large quantity of records in 1968 ("nearly 80 years" worth) in order to destroy the originals before moving into the 3AW Block. Itís possible that the Labour Ward Case Books were among them and could be recovered - further research is required to find out if this is so.

The second surviving sequence of Labour Ward Case books commences in 1928. At this time there was one labour ward (Ward 30) situated on the ground floor of the Edward Wilson Wing in Cardigan Street. In 1958 a second labour ward (Ward 19) opened on the 6th floor of the recently constructed Kumm Stephens Block and a new sequence began for that ward. The records were maintained in substantially smaller leather bound volumes until 1969/72 when the Midwifery Department progressively moved into six new labour wards in the newly built 3AW Community Services Block. At that stage they changed to large format (550mm x 340mm) volumes bound with cardboard and linen (essentially oversized exercise books), except for the first volume used in Frances Perry House which was in the previous format. These volumes form a continuous chronological and almost unbroken sequence from 6/5/1928 to 31/12/1972.

As each new Labour Ward opened it began to keep its own records, and so there are sequences from each ward:
Labour Ward 24 1/1/1793-31/12/1982
Labour Ward 34 3/7/1969-26/2/1973
Labour Ward 44 30/3/1971-31/12/1982
Labour Ward 54/Family Birth Unit 3/7/1969-31/12/1982
Labour Ward 64 23/7/1970-18/12/1972
Frances Perry House 5/11/1970-31/3/1972, 26/6/1972-31/12/1982

One volume shows the transition from L.W. 19 to the new L.W. 24 on 7/6/1969. When the Family Birth Centre opened it continued using the same volume as its predecessor, Ward 54.

Further research is needed to show when the Midwifery Department began to create individual patient files. From this stage the Labour Ward Case Books are more of a summary than the principal clinical record. Patient files are managed by RWH Health Information Services and are regarded as permanent records by the hospital.

Care must be taken in relying on the details found in records from the 19th and early 20th centuries, as there are many discrepancies between this information and that given in Birth Certificates and other hospital records of the same period - for example, names are spelled differently, mothersí ages vary and even birth dates are inconsistent. In some instances births are recorded in the L.W. Case Books, but not in the Birth Register.

Patient histories are recorded chronologically and are not indexed. (The three so-called Indexes are chronological as well and do not assist in finding a particular patient.) It is necessary to know the date of a birth (or more specifically, date of admission) to find a particular entry. No details are given regarding fathers, mothersí addresses or where mothers or babies went after discharge.

Home Births conducted by the Womenís Hospital, 1920-1951, are recorded in the Extern Case Books (Series 318).

Access Conditions: Strict patient confidentiality provisions apply. Refer to to the Archivist or the Freedom of Information Officer in Health Information Services.

Microfilm is always to be used for reference in preference to the originals, except to clarify illegible text on the film. Access to the originals will be under supervision of the Archivist.

Date Range: 1 October 1888 - 31 December 1982
Provenance: Midwifery Department

 

Series 158 Birth Registers

The hospital's first Birth Register was opened on 1/4/1889 and there is an unbroken series, in various formats, to the present day. Birth Registers succeeded the Midwifery Books which were primarily a clinical record, but also served as a Register. The Birth Registers were introduced at much the same time as the Labour Ward Case Books, when there was considerable reorganisation of the Midwifery and Infirmary Departments.

The Registers provide virtually the same information as an official birth certificate, and were at times the source of information for formal birth registration. They give brief details relating to the mother, father and baby but neither current addresses nor where the mother or baby went after discharge are given. The births are entered chronologically and are not indexed.

Care must be taken in relying on the details found in these records, especially those from the 19th and early 20th centuries, as there are many discrepancies between this information and that given in Birth Certificates and other hospital records of the same period - for example, names are spelled differently, mothersí ages vary and even birth dates are inconsistent. There are instances where a birth is recorded in a Labour Ward Case Book, but not in the Birth Register.

Access Conditions: Strict patient confidentiality provisions apply. Refer to to the Archivist or the Freedom of Information Officer in Health Information Services.

Microfilm is always to be used for reference in preference to the originals, except to clarify illegible text on the film. Access to the originals will be under supervision of the Archivist.

Date Range: 1 April 1889 - 21 November 1989
Provenance: Midwifery Department

 

Series 159 Labour Ward Indexes

Registers of patients admitted to Labour Ward. These were maintained in addition to Labour Ward Case Books and Birth Registers. The information recorded in them is also to be found in either the Labour Ward Case Books or Birth Registers. Only three volumes are extant and it is unknown for what overall period they were maintained.

Access Conditions: Strict patient confidentiality

Date Range: 1 October 1920 - 29 September 1931
Provenance: Midwifery Department

 

Series 183 Tracy Maund Memorial Lectures

The Tracy Maund Memorial Lecture (see below for variations of name) has been presented every year except 1972 at the Royal Women's Hospital from 1964 to the present.
This series is made up of authors notes, transcripts and publications of the lectures.

The lecture has been known by several names:
1964-1967 Tracy Memorial Lecture
1968 Tracy Maund Memorial Lecture
2003 Tracy Maund Address

Lecturers and subjects:
1964, March 10 Dr Frank Forster "Richard Thomas Tracy and his Part in the History of Oviarotomy"
1965, March 9 Dr J W Johnstone "John Maund - the Contribution of the Chromosome"
1966, April 19 Dr Kate Campbell "Babes and Sucklings"
1977, April 4 Dr Colin Macdonald "X-Rays and the Changing Years"
1968, April 2 Prof Kenneth F Russell "Obstetrics and the Artist"
1969, April 29 Dr John Nattrass "As it was in the Beginning"
1970, March 10 Jessica McB Place "The Avenue of Years"
1971, April 6 Prof Frans Geldenhuys "The Blue Canary - the Spice of Medicine"
1972 No lecture
1973, April 3 Dr Ronald McKenzie Rome "Vintage Years"
1974, April 2 Prof Sir Lance Townsend "The Obstetrical Chair Lift"
1975, April 8 Dr Kevin McCaul "How Far that Litle Candle Throws His Beams"
1976, March 29 Dr Kelvin C Churches "Out of the Shadows"
1977, June 22 Sir Oliver Gillard "The Legal Quality of Life in the Womb"
1978, March 14 Dr Noel de Garis "Whither? or Wither Away"
1979, March 2 Billy Sneddon "National Objectives Reflect Individual Aspirations"
1980, April 15 Prof E C Wood "The Beginnings of Life"
1981, April 7 Prof Harold D Attwood
1982 Myles Wright "The New Revolution"
1983, March 22 Prof Derek Denton "Appetites, Instincts and Pregnancy"
1984 Rev Canon Peter Hollingworth "Wholeness in the Eighties"
1985, March 21 Dr James Smibert "Change and Decay"
1986, May 27 Prof Louis Waller "Any Reasonable Creature in Being"
1987, March 23 Dr Davis McCaughey "Medical Ethics - who decides what and how?"
1988, May 24 Sir Gustav Nossel "Science and Society: Who is the Master and who the Servant?"
1989, April 18 Dr Malcolm Potts "With Sex in Mind"
1990, May 29 Prof Kincaid-Smith "A National and International Perspective on the Problem of Aids"
1991, April 30 Prof Pennington "A Helath Care System Between Scylla and Charyebdis"
1992, March 31 Prof Margaret Manion "Women Art and Education in Medieval Society - an Enlivening
Tradition
1993, May 18 Prof Roger Short "The Fruits of our Loins"
1994, May Prof Ian Gust "Long Night's Journey into Day - towards the Contol of Hepatitis
B"
1995
1996, April 16 Richard Divall "Birth of the Modern Hospital in the Byzantine Empire and the
Vital Role of the Hospital Order of St John"
1997
1998
1999, Aug 17 Simone Young "Australia, an Island in the Musical World"
2000, Aug 30 Prof Bob Williamson "The Human Genome Project and its Impact on Women's Health
for Better and Worse"
2001, Aug 27 Emeritus Prof Louis Waller
2002
2003, Aug 26 Peter Ellyard "Women, Healing and Wellbeing: the Next 20 Years"

Not all items from this series are yet described in the database.

Access Conditions: Nil

Date Range: 1 January 1967 - 26 August 2003
Provenance: Royal Women's Hospital

 

Series 242 Personal Property

Items donated to the Royal Women's Hospital by descendents of Dr Richard Tracy, such as his oviarotomy instruments, diary and letters of recommendation. Included is the illuminated address presented to his wife after his death.

Photographs of other items still held by his ddescendents will be added to this series shortly.

Access Conditions: Nil

Date Range: - 28 January 1874
Provenance: Tracy, Dr Richard Thomas

 

Series 319 Admision Books - Labour Ward

This group of leather bound volumes covers the period 1926 to 1946. They contain the following information: Date, Name, Age, Preg. (ie number of pregnancies), Time, Religion, State, (ie married or single), Birth (ie patient's place of birth), Recommended by, Husband's or own Occupation, Permanent Address, Telephone.

Access Conditions: Patient confidentiality provisions apply. Refer to the Archivist or Freedom of Information Officer in Health Information Services.

Date Range: 12 August 1926 - 2 February 1946
Provenance: Midwifery Department

 

Series 434 Lying-in Hospital Subscriber's tickets

Tickets issued by subscribers to the Melbourne Lying-in Hospital and Infirmary for Diseases of Women and Children to patients in order to allow them to visist the Outpatients Department.

Access Conditions: Nil

Date Range: 13 June 1882 - 17 May 1883
Provenance: Royal Women's Hospital

 

Series 436 Correspondence

Incoming and outgoing correspondence maintained by the Honorary Secretary of the Committee/Board of Management of the Lying-in Hospital and its successors. Many topics relating to the administration of the hospital are addressed, including admission of patients, building works, purchase of supplies, complaints, staffing, etc.

The letters from 1856-1858 are meticulouly maintained, with good copies of the outgoing correspondence in Elizabeth Tripp's handwriting.

Access Conditions: Nil

Date Range: 1 January 1856 - 19 December 1884
Provenance: Honorary Secretary

 


Published by the The Royal Women's Hospital Archives Department, November 2006
Listed by Robyn Waymouth
HTML edition Robyn Waymouth
Updated 28 November 2006
http://www.thewomenshistory.org.au/history/guides/general/hdms.htmserieslist.htm

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