Infirm & destitute asylums guide

This guide provides information on the available inmate records for the Infirm and Destitute Asylums and where to find them.

Historical overview

Records we hold

We hold records of the following State managed infirm and destitute asylums.

Agency No.
Agency name
Lidcombe State Hospital and Home (formerly Rookwood Asylum)
Liverpool State Hospital and Home
George Street Asylum, Parramatta
Macquarie Street Asylum, Parramatta
Newington State Hospital
Rookwood Asylum (later Lidcombe State Hospital and Home)
Hospital for Consumptives, Waterfall

We do not hold any records of inmates at Hyde Park Asylum.

Individual facilities

For further information about our holdings you can consult our catalogue 

Tip: use the Agency links in the table above for quick access.

You can also search for records of asylums for the infirm and destitute for the Function 'Health'. The information provided includes a list of agencies exercising that function.

Government Asylums Branch

As well as records of individual facilities, we also hold records of the Government Asylums Branch (Agency No. 1924).

Admission & discharge registers

Registers may be arranged chronologically or alphabetically and each page may be divided into admissions and discharges. They may show on the admissions side — name, age, date of admission, total, and remarks; and on the discharge side — name, age, date of admission, date of discharge, total, and remarks.

Admission cards

Details recorded on admission cards vary. Some of the details may include: name; religion; occupation; birth place; residence in New South Wales; last address; marital status; age at marriage; to whom married; father's name; birth place; occupation; mother's names and birth place; nationality of patient; details of pension; names; ages; addresses and circumstances of children; names and addresses of spouse, brothers and sisters. Details concerning treatment may also be recorded on the reverse of the admission card.

Tip for researchers

Most surviving records of asylums only provide brief details of the inmate's admission and discharge. It is rare to locate family history information or a case history of a patient.

Many records are incomplete.


Patient-identifying records more than 110 years old are open to public access. You can access the records in the reading room.

Find out how to obtain access to closed records.

Records held elsewhere

Benevolent Society records

Records of the Benevolent Society are held at the Mitchell Library (part of the State Library of NSW). To obtain permission to access these records researchers must contact:

The Benevolent Society
Honorary Archivist
PO Box 171
Paddington NSW 2021
Telephone: (02) 9339 8004

Researchers may also wish to consult the Guide to the Records of the Benevolent Society, 1813-1995, in the Mitchell Library, State Library of NSW; arranged and described by Paul Scifleet.


[1] Report from the Select Committee on the Benevolent Society, Sydney, 7 January 1862, Votes and Proceedings 1861-62, Vol 2, p.910​

Accessing patient-identifying records

Information on how to obtain access to closed records

WSRC Volunteer shoot

Accessing the records guide

State records are open to public access after 20 years unless the record is subject to an early access authorisation or a closed to public access direction

Liverpool State Hospital & Home guide

Patient records in our collection for Liverpool Asylum for the Infirm and Destitute (1862-1933) and Liverpool State Hospital and Home (1933-1961)

Mental health facilities guide

This guide describes the different types of patient records available and where to access them. It also provides a brief history of mental health care administration