Medical practitioners guide

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'.

Historical Overview

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.

The 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 In 1992 the 1838 Act, and its amendments, were repealed by the Medical Practice Act 1992.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.

List of main record series

NSW Medical Board

Register of medical practitioners for New South Wales
The Register of medical practitioners recorded the name and qualifications of doctors registered in New South Wales by the Medical Board.
The first volume of the Register also contains the Minutes of the Medical Board between 31 December 1838 and 7 February 1854. After this date, the Minutes were kept separately (see NRS-9871 below) and the volume continued to be used as a Register of medical practitioners until 13 February 1901.An index to names of medical practitioners for December 1838 to February 1901 is located on State Records Fiche 843.
Albums of doctors' signatures 
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.
29 Jan 1870-5 Dec 1917
NRS 9873 (photos)(see samples above)
Photographs of doctors
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 our catalogue.
Names of doctors can be searched in the series link to the left. Where a photo has already been digitised it will be visible in the item list. If a photo is not available you may purchase a high res version and the low res version will be placed on the website. 
Lists of registered medical practitioners for New South Wales
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.
Registration files of medical practitioners registered under Section 21c of the Medical Practitioners Act, 1938 (as amended)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.
Deceased practitioners' files 
These include applications for registration, re-registration, statutory declarations as to the applicant's good character, and correspondence relating to any complaint, discipline or investigation which took place while the deceased was in professional practice. The files contain signed photographs. 
Subsidised doctors' files
These files consist of correspondence concerning subsidised doctors in country areas, including subsidising of doctors' incomes, and purchase of practices.
  • NRS 9871 Minutes of proceedings and registers, 1838-1972

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.

Item List:

31 Dec 1838-3 Jan 1848
Fiche 840; Reel 2668
3 Apr 1848-14 Feb 1883
Fiche 841; Reel 2668
14 Feb 1883-10 Oct 1900
Fiche 842; Reel 2668
10 Oct 1900-13 Feb 1901
Fiche 843; Reel 2668
Index to name, page and no.
Reel 2668
3 Jan 1854-9 Mar 1892
Reel 2656
?13 Apr 1892-11 Feb 1903
Reel 2656
11 Mar 1903-15 Dec 1916
Reel 2656
10 Jan 1917-10 Dec 1924
Reel 2656
14 Jan 1925-10 Aug 1932
Reel 2658
14 Sep 1932-7 Aug 1946
Reel 2658
4 Sep 1946-2 Aug 1961
6 Sep 1961-3 Mar 1965
7 Apr 1965-7 Feb 1968
6 Mar 1968-May 1970
Jun 1970-Sep 1972