Benevolent asylums were places that housed anyone who could not support themselves; these were usually the aged, infirm, disabled and destitute. Benevolent Asylums also served as immigrants' homes, blind asylums, orphanages, lying-in hospitals and lunatic asylums. Benevolent asylums were often associated with hospitals in rural towns; they have evolved into aged care homes and hospitals in the larger towns.
The following is a list of historical asylums and their dates of operation in Melbourne and suburbs:
The following is a list of some historical asylums and their dates of operation in the rest of Victoria:
STATE LIBRARY OF VICTORIA - MELBOURNE BENEVOLENT ASYLUM RECORDS 1849-1999 (MS8366)
These are not online. They include general registers of applicants and inmates, 1852-1936; deaths and departures, 1882-1917; books of bequests, 1871-1898; medical officer's report book, 1896-1923; clothing book, 1886-1902; diet ledgers, rations book, minutes and financial records. Access is restricted. Due to the size, fragility and complexity of the volumes, staff will undertake to do limited deferred inquiries. The name and date of death of the inmate must be supplied. This is a finding aid.
TERRY FOENANDER - DEATHS AT THE ALFRED HOSPITAL AND THE MELBOURNE BENEVOLENT ASYLUM (1872 -1879) (INTERNET ARCHIVE WAYBACK MACHINE)
These indexes were compiled from lists published in The Argus newspaper. They include name, age at death, native place, ship of arrival and death details. This website is currently not available; this version dated 19 September 2012 has been sourced from from the Internet Archive - Wayback Machine.
FAMILY SEARCH - MELBOURNE BENEVOLENT ASYLUM HOSPITAL FOR THE AGED AND INFIRM RECORDS 1891-1896, 1913-1926
These have been digitised. Includes Registers 1913-1926 and the Medical Officer's Report Book 1891-1896. Original records in possession of the Kingston Centre, Cheltenham.
STATE LIBRARY OF VICTORIA - OLD COLONISTS' ASSOCIATION OF VICTORIA 1869-1966 (MS 12726)
The records are not online. This collection comprises letter books, 1880-1927; cash book, 1898-1966; members’ register, 1869-1945; biographical register; statements of receipts and disbursements, 1928-1942; statements of receipts and expenditure, 1901-1928; press cuttings books, 1925-1955, including theatrical clippings and Old Colonists’ photographs; donations register, 1911-1912; index of receipts; record book listing Council members, 1869-1872, 1909-1915; and a ledger, 1921-1937. The records also include a history of the Association.
This collection is available apart from the members’ register which is not issued due to its size and fragility. There is an alphabetical card index of the transcription of members’ names which can be consulted for you by Library staff. This is a finding aid.
STATE LIBRARY OF VICTORIA - CARLTON REFUGE 1875-1949
The records are not online. This collection is of an administrative nature, the only personal records are of baptisms 1931-1938 and marriages 1936-1937. All records are available for consultation.
GENEALOGICAL SOCIETY OF VICTORIA - IMMIGRANTS AID SOCIETY'S HOME ROLL BOOK 1881-1924
The Genealogical Society of Victoria has indexes and digitised hospital records online in its Genealogical Index of Names (GIN). Records included:
FAMILYSEARCH - GEELONG HOSPITAL ADMISSION REGISTERS 1861-1865, 1876-1880, 1912-1917
These have been digitised and can be seen online. Geelong Hospital was known as the Geelong Infirmary and Benevolent Asylum until 1923. Original records at the Geelong Historical Centre.
FRED WALTER WEBSITE - INDEX TO THE ADMISSION BOOKS OF THE GEELONG INFIRMARY AND BENEVOLENT ASYLUM
FAMILYSEARCH - GEELONG INFIRMARY AND BENEVOLENT ASYLUM INMATES' REGISTER 1905-1923
Original records at the Geelong Historical Centre.
FAMILYSEARCH - GEELONG HOSPITAL DEATH REGISTERS 1852-1925
These have been digitised and can be seen online. Geelong Hospital was known as the Geelong Infirmary and Benevolent Asylum until 1923. The registers include deaths for the Geelong Benevolent Asylum. Original records at the Geelong Historical Centre.
GEELONG AND DISTRICT WEBSITE - GEELONG INFIRMARY AND BENEVOLENT ASYLUM LIMITED INDEX
This index is included in the Geelong and District Database at:
BALLARAT HISTORICAL SOCIETY - BALLARAT BENEVOLENT ASYLUM CONSOLIDATED REGISTERS 1860-1928
These have been transcribed and can be seen online. They include Register of Inmates 1860-1915 (missing 1912-1913), Registers of Inmates Lying-In Wards 1892-1922 (missing 1917-1920), Registers of Inmates Insane Hospital 1910-1928, Registers of Maternity Wards 1922 -1925 and Registers of Inmates Old Age Pensioners 1911-1921.
FAMILYSEARCH - BENDIGO HOME AND HOSPITAL FOR THE AGED REGISTERS OF INMATES 1865-1905
These have been digitised. This includes children's register 1868-1885 and register of inmates 1865-1905. Original records in possession of the Bendigo Home and Hospital for the Aged, Bendigo.
BENDIGO FAMILY HISTORY GROUP - BENDIGO BENEVOLENT ASYLUM INDEX TO ADMISSIONS 1861-c1940
BENDIGO FAMILY HISTORY GROUP - BENDIGO BENEVOLENT ASYLUM GENERAL RETURN OF CHILDREN IN CARE 1861-1862
This is from a list at Public Record Office Victoria (VPRS 1189 Unit 752)
BENDIGO FAMILY HISTORY GROUP - BENDIGO BENEVOLENT ASYLUM INDEX TO CHILDREN'S REGISTERS 1868-1885
GENEALOGICAL SOCIETY OF VICTORIA - CASTLEMAINE BENEVOLENT ASYLUM PATIENT REGISTER 1860-1938
The Genealogical Society of Victoria has indexes and digitised asylum records online in its Genealogical Index of Names (GIN). Records included:
See Building Records.