State Records Home
Personal tools
You are here :: Home The State Archives Guides and finding aids Archives In Brief Archives In Brief 72 - Records of the NSW Medical Board

Archives In Brief 72 - Records of the NSW Medical Board

Filed under: ,
Lists some of the key records of the NSW Medical Board. Researchers should consult Archives Investigator as well as Short Guide 10: Professions and Occupations for more detailed information. Details about later transfers of records from the NSW Medical Board may be obtained from the staff in the reading room. Records more than 30 years old are open to public access.


The first NSW Medical Board was constituted in 1838 (2 Victoria, Act No. 22) 'An Act to define the qualifications of Medical Witnesses at Coroner's Inquests and Inquiries held before Justices of the Peace in the Colony of New South Wales'. The Board was responsible for examining and approving the qualifications of those wishing to be declared 'legally qualified medical practitioners'. It was also required to maintain a register of such persons and publish the names in the Government Gazette each year.

Doctors photos, AIB 72The 1838 Act was amended in various ways throughout the nineteenth and twentieth century. The first significant legislative change was the Medical Witnesses at Inquests Act 1844 (8 Victoria, Act No. 8) which established a Medical Board for the district of Port Phillip. The Medical Practitioners (Amendment) Act 1900 (Act No. 33, 1900) imposed penalties on persons using titles including Surgeon or Physician if they were not appropriately registered. This amending Act also provided for any member who ceased to be qualified or any practitioner who had committed a felony or misdemeanour to be removed from the Register. In 1938 a disciplinary tribunal was established (Medical Practitioners Act 1938). The tribunal sat in open court and both the defendant and the complainant were eligible for legal representation. If found guilty the registered person could be reprimanded, suspended from practice for up to one year or removed from the register.

Further amendments to the 1838 Act included: the Medical Practitioners (Amendment) Act 1939, which permitted the regional registration of medical practitioners to ensure the availability of medical services in areas 'otherwise deficient' and the Medical Practitioners (Amendment) Act 1972, which established a separate register of specialists. In 1992 the 1838 Act, and its amendments, were repealed by the Medical Practice Act 1992. This act established the Medical Tribunal and a number of other disciplinary and review bodies.

The Australian Medical Pioneers Index

The Australian Medical Pioneers Index (AMPI), is a database of over 3,000 pioneer doctors, from the 1700s through to 1875. The site covers Australian medical history, with a database of medical pioneers and educational background material. You will find doctors who were registered or qualified in Australia, were resident in Australia, or visited here in a professional capacity, before 1875. Ships' surgeons, convict doctors, general practitioners and medical specialists are included.

The AMPI website was developed and funded by the State Library of Victoria through Vicnet and Victoria's Virtual Library.

NSW Medical Board

NRS 9871, Minutes of proceedings and registers, 1838-1972 *ARK [Fiche only]
Reel 2668, Fiche 840-843, Reels 2656, 2658
The first volume, which covers the years December 1838-February 1901, was used as both a minute book and register for the period December 1838 to February 1854. From February 1854 it was used only as a register of medical practitioners enrolled by the Board. An index to names of medical practitioners, giving page and number, is on Fiche 843.

NRS 9872, Albums of doctors' signatures, 29 Jan 1870-5 Dec 1917
The registration forms record the nature and dates of the qualifications of the applicant and the place and dates of the applicant's practice, and are signed by the medical practitioner.

NRS 9873, Photographs of doctors, c.1890-1927
Photographs of doctors applying for registration as medical practitioners in New South Wales. The photographs were required by the Medical Board of New South Wales from the beginning of 1889 to assist in the future identification of those issued with a licence by the Board. The photographs are listed by doctors name in Archives Investigator. A sample selection of photographs can be viewed online in Photo Investigator.

NRS 9874, Lists of registered medical practitioners for New South Wales, 1906-73
These lists are published annually in the Government Gazette under the terms of the Medical Practitioners Act, for the information of Coroners, Magistrates and the public.

NRS 9875, Registration files of medical practitioners registered under Section 21c of the Medical Practitioners Act, 1938 (as amended), c.1955-70
These files contain correspondence from applicants with overseas medical training who wish to practise in Australia. The applicants were registered to practise under Section 21c of the Medical Practitioners Act, 1938, which licensed them to practise under supervision.

NRS 9877, Subsidised doctors' files, c.1941-67
These files consist of correspondence concerning subsidised doctors in country areas, including subsidising of doctors' incomes, and purchase of practices.

*ARK signifies that a copy of the record or guide is part of the Archives Resources Kit and is held by the community access points.

© State of New South Wales through the State Records Authority, 2003.
This work may be freely reproduced and distributed for most purposes, however some restrictions apply. See our copyright notice or contact us.