Dr Champion’s Histories of the Newcastle Hospital
Dr Ben Champion’s typescript manuscript works Newcastle Hospital 1817-1915 (a.k.a. Newcastle Hospital Register) in four volumes and The History of Newcastle Hospital 1891-1915 stand as important works on the Newcastle hospital’s history.
Their importance lies in the fact that Dr Champion, in compiling his histories, had access to original records that he states were later destroyed. So, his work is an important life raft for the early records that are probably no longer with us.
The Arrangement of the Works
Having said that, his work’s arrangement is a little confusing. His history begins in 1815, and not 1817, as stated in the title and spine. The first of the four volumes has a title page which reads “1815-1891”. The material he has compiled also appears to date to December 1964.
So perhaps, it is right to assume to both works were to be seen as a five volume set compiled beginning in 1815 and concluding in 1915 and spanning the first 100 years of the Newcastle Hospital’s existence.
Dr Champion undertook the work in 1950, and, from the inclusion of records, appears to have completed it around December 1964.
Were the Original Records Destroyed?
Despite the author’s claim that all the records were destroyed since the register was compiled (which we surmise from the dates of the records included to be sometime after December 1964 to 1965), in his words:
“Minute books and records since this register was written have unfortunately been destroyed. The author is very pleased to have been given the privilege of recording this work for posterity. Ben. W. Champion”
It appears that this was probably true for the hospital records prior to 1866, and not for those up until the mid 1960s, as some appear to have survived. See the listing below.
The Digitisation of the Works
Many thanks to the late Dr. Ben Champion in preparing these massive works, and also to Auchmuty Library staff member and volunteer Karen Moller for undertaking the task of digitising the thousands of pages of text.
Newcastle Hospital Register (On spine: Newcastle Hospital 1817-1915) Newcastle Hospital 1815-1891. Compiled by Ben W. Champion B.D.S., D.D.Sc., F.I.C.D., F.R.A.C.D.S. Newcastle. 1 March 1950. In Four Volumes. Shelf Location: Q362.11099442/1-4 RBC Champion Collection:
- Newcastle Hospital 1817-1915 – Vol. 1 (Pages 1-200) (113.7 MB PDF) – DOWNLOAD HERE
- Newcastle Hospital 1817-1915 – Vol. 2 (Pages 201-400) (94.4MB PDF) – DOWNLOAD HERE
- Newcastle Hospital 1817-1915 – Vol. 3 (Pages 401-600) (90.7MB PDF) – DOWNLOAD HERE
- Newcastle Hospital 1817-1915 – Vol. 4 (Pages 601-725 with extras) (104.7MB PDF) – DOWNLOAD HERE
The History of Newcastle Hospital 1891-1915 by B. W. Champion B.D.S. D.D. Sc.
Shelf Location: Q362.11099442/6 RBC Champion Collection. 294MB PDF File. – DOWNLOAD HERE
What Did Survive?
A listing of the early archives of the Royal Newcastle Hospital that survived and entered the custody of the University of Newcastle’s archives are here:
Please note: Access to the Hunter Area Health Service records is restricted for the following periods, from the date of their creation.
- Patient identifying medical records: 110 years (Access Direction 7)
- Staff and personnel related records: 50 years (Access Direction 162)
- Other records: 30 years
- Publications and Annual Reports: nil
Royal Newcastle Hospital
- B10734-93a – Hospital Board and Committees minutes, 1866 -1959
- A6058 – Hospital Board minutes, 1972 – 1981
- B10830a-36 – Annual reports, 1887 – 1982
- B10793b – Annual General Meetings minutes and reports, 1934 – 1963
- B11887 – Committee of Management minute book, 1899 – 1905
- B10793c – Building Sub-Committee minutes, 1946 – 1958
- B10794 – Agenda Book, 1932 – 1936
- B10795-802 – Letter books (out), 1869 – 1911
- B10803-12 – Patient registers, 1875 – 1916, 1944 – 1951
- B10813-30 – Operations registers, 1892 – 1949
- B13647 – Press clipping books, 1934 – 1965
- A6523(v) – Medical officers rosters, 1937, 1938
- B11888 – Cash book, 1939 – 1940
- B11889-91 – Salaries books, 1919 – 1928
- B11892-93 – Matrons’ salaries books, 1919 – 1930
- B11894-95 – Nursing salaries books, 1930 – 1940
When Did “The Newcastle Hospital” become the “Royal Newcastle Hospital”?
It was reported on the 7 April 1948, that the Hospital Board had decided to ask the King to bestow the title of “Royal” to the Newcastle Hospital when he was scheduled to visit Australia later that year. Their request appears to have been successful with the King granting the title, and the Hospitals Commission advising the Newcastle Hospital Board on the 19th January 1949 that the new title of Royal Newcastle Hospital would be gazetted soon. The title “Royal Newcastle Hospital” was gazetted on the 9th February 1949. See: http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article224787120
Gionni Di Gravio, OAM
University Archivist & Chair, Hunter Living Histories