Index to the Admission Books of the
Geelong Infirmary and Benevolent Asylum

by Fred Walter and Heather Cox


Welcome to our web site which comes to you from the city of Geelong in the state of Victoria in Australia.

After taking two years to build, the two story Geelong Infirmary and Benevolent Asylum was officially opened on 23 April, 1852. The first in-patient was admitted a week later on 30 April, 1852 and during the first eight months of its existence the hospital admitted 140 patients.

The institution was divided into two distinct sections; the Infirmary for treating the sick and the Benevolent Asylum for housing the aged. The hospital section occupied the upper story of the building while the old folk's home was located on the ground floor.

The stated objective of the Infirmary was "to afford medical and surgical aid to the poor persons requiring it and for casualties." Strict rules of acceptance were applied and the following patients were excluded from admission: pregnant females for the purpose of confinement, the insane, those having a contagious or infectious disease, sufferers of epilepsy, the disorderly and homeless from the streets, children under five years of age and those seeking treatment for venereal disease for the second time. As time went by these rules were relaxed.

The Benevolent Asylum was for the "reception of the poor and distressed, with a view to afford them consolation and assistance" in old age. However, the inmates of the Benevolent Asylum were a mixed group; very often the incurables from the Infirmary were transferred there. Overcrowding was such that a new ward was built for the benevolents in 1879. The 1870s also saw the addition of lunacy and fever wards. By 1922 pressure on beds in the Infirmary was so great that it was decided to close the Benevolent Asylum and use the site to build a new hospital. In February, 1923 the last of the benevolents were transferred to the Ballarat Benevolent Asylum.

The admission books for the Geelong Infirmary and Benevolent Asylum that have survived the ravages of time date from 1861. They contain a substantial amount of material of genealogical, social and historical interest, and as such, were deserving of indexing.

These indexes, containing 12,538 entries were first published in 1990 in hard-copy form and over the years several small reprints have been completed. We decided in late 2001 that the time had come where we would withdraw the hard-copy and publish on the world-wide-web.

Please Note: We are unable to look up further data on behalf of users. We can only suggest that users make use of the archives suggested in the "Locating an Entry" page.