In March 1913 the Office of the Director- General of was reorganised and assumed responsibility for the Government Asylums for the infirm and the Bureau of Microbiology. Dr R. T. Paton became the new Director General of Public Health, Chief Medical Officer to the Government and Board of Health. (1)
The function of charitable institutions was transferred to the Office of the Director-General of Public Health in 1913. (2)
In 1938 the Department of Public Health was established as a separate ministerial department. (3) The Master in Lunacy (later the Master of the Protective Division of the Supreme Court) and Mental hospitals, together with general hospitals all of which had previously been sections of the Colonial Secretary's Department, were transferred to the control of the Department of Public Health. (4) The Department therefore comprised the Ministerial Office; the Dental Board; Hospitals Commission; Master in Lunacy's Office; Office of the Director of Public Health which included the Microbiological Laboratory, Analytical Laboratory, Dairy Branch, Pure Food Branch, Sanitary Branch, Medical Officers; Baby Health Centre, General and Mental Hospitals; and administrative staff. (5)
In 1965 the Bureau of Maternal and Child Health was established under the control of a Director by the amalgamation of the School of Medical Service and the Division of Maternal and Baby Welfare. The first Baby Health Centre was opened at Alexandria in Sydney on 24 August 1914. The School Medical Service began with the appointment of two part-time medical officers in 1907 to undertake the medical inspection of school children. In 1913 the service was expanded with the appointment of a principal medical officer and seven full time medical officers. The service, which was further extended over a period with the appointment of additional medical officers, oculists, nurses and dentists, remained under the control of the Department of Education until 1946 when it was transferred to the Department of Public Health. (6)
By 1967 the state was divided into eight health districts each under the control of a Medical Officer of Health to facilitate the effective administration in the Department's various fields of responsibility. (7)
It would appear that in the years immediately prior to its abolition the Department was also known as the Department of Health. This would appear to reflect the title of its Minister whose portfolio was 'Health' from 1930. However the Departmental title was never officially changed and its chief executive officer maintained the title of Director-General of Public Health until the Department was abolished.
In April 1973, under the terms of the Health Commission Act (No. 63, 1972), the Department of Health was abolished and replaced by the Health Commission. (8)
(1) Annual Report of the Director-General of Public Health, 1913, p.1 in Parliamentary Papers, 1914/1915 Vol.4, p.175.
(3) NSW Public Service List, 1938, p.13.
(4) NSW Government Gazette, 14 January 1938, p.94.
(5) NSW Public Service List, 1938, pp.13-23.
(6) Archives Authority of New South Wales. Concise Guide H-K "Health" p.35.
(7) Department of Public Health, Annual report, 1967 pp.128-163 in Parliamentary Papers 1968-69, Vol.4, pp.256-291.
(8) Health Commission Act, 1972 s.16.
(1) "Concise Guide", 2nd Edition "H - K", "Health", p.34.
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