Monday, 2 July 2012

D is for Dunwich Benevolent Asylum

Continuing to the next letter, 'D', in the 'Family History Through the Alphabet' challenge... D is for Dunwich Benevolent Asylum.

Dunwich was established on North Stradbroke Island, Moreton Bay, Queensland, in 1865. When it closed in 1946, inmates were gradually transferred to Eventide at Sandgate. The function of Dunwich (as defined by the Benevolent Asylum Wards Act of 1861) was to provide for poor people who because of age, accident, infirmity or otherwise were unable to care for themselves. The inmates thus included not only the elderly but also younger people.

Sources (many of which are held at Qld State Archives) include:
  1. Index to Colonial/Home Secretary's Office applications for admission to Dunwich with associated correspondence, 1890-1922.

  2. Typed index to many Dunwich sources for various dates between 1859 and 1971.

  3. Card index to Dunwich records.

  4. Immigration Department register of applications for admission to Dunwich 1902-1904.

  5. Index to Dunwich weekly returns from Qld Government Gazette notices, 1885-1907.

  6. Index to Eventide (Sandgate, Qld) registers of deaths 1954-1959.

  7. Index to selected names from 1860s/1870s Colonial Secretary's Office in-letters.

  8. Home Secretary's Office: registers of letters received.

  9. Indexes to various series of mental asylum records.

  10. Index to old age pension records.

  11. Police Station watchhouse charge books.

  12. Books:  Brisbane: Moreton Bay Matters and Moreton Bay People, vols. 1-3.

  13. Brisbane Courier, 25 Oct 1927, p.9: detailed article that includes photographs of the matron, nurses and other staff, Private WILKINSON aged 99, Mrs ROWE aged over 90, and other elderly residents.
Some of the Archives sources give excellent biographical details. These may include address, age, country of birth, religion, occupation, length of time in Qld; married or single; names, addresses and circumstances of applicant's sons and daughters; names, addresses and circumstances of other relatives; names and addresses of employers during the past 2 years, and length of time with each; real or personal property; aid received from hospitals or other charitable institutions during the past 2 years; reasons for desiring admission; through whom applying; and applicant's signature.

For a detailed explanation of the sources available (with Archives location numbers where applicable) and access restrictions that apply to some records, see the most recent edition of my book, Tips for Queensland Research. It is described on my Web site.

You will find more tips for family history in my other articles in this series. If the information and advice is useful, have a look at this page.


  1. I really love that you a using the Alphabet Challenge to highlight various records - wht fabulous idea. And I know I'm going to learn from every one of your posts.

  2. Thanks for the compliment. I will try to highlight unusual or neglected sources, and also sources in Archives. If I can persuade more family historians to venture beyond libraries and the Internet and into an Archives search room, I will be happy. :-)

  3. Judy I wanted to let you know that I've nominated your Queensland Genealogy blog for an Illuminating Blogger Award

    1. Alona, thank you very much for the nomination. I will follow up on this ASAP, but after a dreadful week with two deaths in the family and two lesser tragedies, I am really struggling. Social media will be taking a back seat for a while. Luckily I wrote my next post for the alphabet series ('J is for...') ahead of time. Now where did I file it...?? :-)

  4. Hi Judy,
    I've just nominated your blog for the illuminated blogger award: Cheers!

    1. Thanks very much, Fiona. When Real Life settles down a bit, I will write a blog post in response to the nominations. I had already decided on two of the five blogs that I will nominate - and one is yours.


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