Cover image for Department of Public Health
Department of Public Health
Agency Number:
Start Date:
06 Jan 1904
End Date:
01 Aug 1956
The Department replaced an under-funded Board and was charged with preventing deterioration of public health by controlling sanitary works, preventing the pollution of water courses, the adulteration of food and drugs and the sale of unsound food. It controlled local boards of health until their absorption by local government in 1907 and thereafter provided guidance and supervision to local health officers in municipalities. It was not, however, able to enforce action by municipalities until the Public Health Act was amended in 1929. As so often in public health matters, Parliament legislated a solution but not the funds to pay for it. The staff appointed in 1904 comprised the director, a part-time secretary, 3 clerks and 3 caretakers (for the depots maintained as potential quarantine stations or isolation hospitals). Health inspectors were not appointed until 1906. In 1906 the first Medical Officers were also appointed for schools. They were placed on the estimates of the Education Department but had links to the Public Health Department.
On 1 January 1939 these medical inspectors and the school nurses were formally trransferred to the PHD as the School Medical Service. The Department acted as the Tasmanian agent for the Commonwealth Health Laboratory and administered the Commonwealth Quarantine Act until the end of June 1929. (The State Quarantine Act remained in force but was in abeyance due to the division of powers under the federal constitution.) Maternity and child welfare remained largely the province of voluntary associations with limited assistance from the Department prior to WW2.
The Department had a loose internal structure until late 1945 when the Public Service Commissioner made a number of recommendations for the reorganisation of the Public service to prepare for post-War activity. In the case of the Public Health Department this involved the establishment of a divisional structure to replace the existing amorphous groupings such as "inspectors". The Department's inspectors were also inspectors under the Places of Public Entertainment Act and so from 1917 the Department also included the Picture Censor Board until its abolition (some time after 1924). The inspectors were also responsible for factory legislation from 1910 until the establishment of the Industrial Department in 1916 and again between 1930 and 1940. This latter was apparently one of numerous economy measures introduced during the Depression.
Ministerial control in this health area continued to be exercised by the Chief Secretary until 1934 when the first Ministerial portfolio was established for Health.
Legislation Administered:
Public Health Act 1903
Legislation Creating:
Public Health Act 1903 (3Edw.VII No.37)
Functions Performed:
Health care
Controlled Agencies:
Royal Derwent Hospital (TA465)01 Jan 182730 Nov 2000

Launceston Home for Invalids (TA1911)31 May 191310 Mar 1954

Hobart Public Hospitals District Board (TA959)29 May 191901 Jul 1991

Launceston Public Hospitals District Board (TA961)29 May 191901 Jul 1991

Scottsdale Public Hospitals District Board (TA937)19 Feb 192111 Jun 1929

District Nursing Service (TA1110)01 Jan 192231 Dec 1968

Devon Public Hospitals District Board (TA940)24 Jul 192510 Jan 1958

Nurses Registration Board (TA198)01 Jan 192731 Dec 1987

Spencer Public Hospitals District Board (TA939)11 Apr 192926 Jul 1951

Scottsdale and Ringarooma Public Hospitals District Board (TA938)11 Jun 192901 Jul 1990

Industrial Section (TA18)01 Jan 193031 Dec 1940

Millbrook Home Board (TA154)12 Dec 193301 Jul 1968

Government Analyst's Branch (TA750)01 Jul 193531 Dec 1957

Ouse District Hospital (TA455)01 Jan 193831 Dec 2006

Tuberculosis Division (TA679)01 Aug 194531 Dec 1976

Campbell Town and Ross Public Hospitals District Board (TA947)06 Sep 194519 Jun 1990

Division of Mental Hygiene (TA11)01 Dec 194531 Dec 1956

Hospital and Medical Services Division (TA755)07 Dec 194531 Dec 1990

Public Health Division (TA751)07 Dec 194503 Feb 1993

Queenstown Public Hospitals District Board (TA956)06 Mar 194627 Sep 1983

Zeehan Public Hospitals District Board (TA949)22 Mar 194610 Dec 1970

King Island Public Hospitals District Board (TA950)12 Sep 194619 Jun 1990

Evandale Hospital (TA2187)01 Jan 194731 Dec 1979

St Helens District Nursing Hospital (TA457)01 Jan 1948

Huon Public Hospitals District Board (TA948)21 May 194819 Jun 1990

New Norfolk Public Hospitals District Board (1) (TA946)08 Oct 194825 Jun 1968

Burnie Public Hospitals District Board (TA945)11 Aug 194901 Dec 1965

Beaconsfield Public Hospitals District Board (TA944)16 Dec 194919 Jun 1990

Meercroft Public Hospitals District Board (TA941)16 Dec 194910 Jan 1958

St Marys Public Hospitals District Board (TA942)16 Dec 194919 Jun 1990

Ulverstone Public Hospitals District Board (TA943)16 Dec 194912 Jan 1989

Longford Public Hospitals District Board (TA953)10 May 195019 Jun 1990

Smithton Public Hospitals District Board (TA952)19 Jul 195012 Jan 1989

Wynyard Public Hospitals District Board (TA971)26 Jul 195101 Dec 1965

Rosebery Public Hospital District Board (TA957)14 May 195331 Dec 1998
Previous Agencies:
Medical Department (TA768)12 Sep 180306 Jan 1904

Central Board of Health (TA748)01 Jan 188606 Jan 1904

Mental Diseases Hospital Department (TA876)01 Jan 191531 Dec 1920

Industrial Department (TA20)01 Jan 191631 Dec 1930
Division of Mental Hygiene (TA11)01 Dec 194531 Dec 1956
Subsequent Agencies:
Hospital for the Insane Department (TA875)01 Jan 190731 Dec 1915

Hospital and Medical Services Division (TA755)07 Dec 194531 Dec 1990

Public Health Division (TA751)07 Dec 194503 Feb 1993

Department of Health Services (TA23)01 Aug 195617 Jul 1989

Tasmanian Industrial Boards (TA273)01 Jan 196331 Dec 1984
Series Created By Agency:
AD443 Register of Midwifery Nurses.01 Apr 190231 Oct 1976

HSD273 Selected Reports Prepared by the Department.01 Jan 190431 Dec 1905

HSD20 Annual Reports of Public Hospitals.01 Jul 191830 Jun 1942

HSD12 Correspondence relating to Private Hospitals.01 Jan 192031 Dec 1950

AD444 Register of Midwifery Nurses Annual Certificates.01 Jan 192031 Dec 1927

HSD1 General Correspondence.26 Jan 192001 Sep 1956

AF200 Reports relating to Mental Health01 Jan 192431 Dec 1952

HSD2 Registers of Correspondence.01 Jan 192831 Dec 1949

AF45 Inward Correspondence01 Jan 192931 Dec 1935

HSD15 Correspondence and associated Documents relating to Infant Mortality.01 Jan 193131 Dec 1951

AD664 Chest Hospital Original Patient Cards Which have Been Replaced.01 Jan 193231 Dec 1952

HSD18 Miscellaneous Correspondence.01 Jan 193431 Dec 1952

HSD11 Correspondence relating to Public Hospitals.01 Jan 193531 Dec 1953

HSD3 Correspondence relating to the Government Medical Services Scheme.14 Jul 193503 Jul 1956

HSD223 Advance Account Register of Receipts and Payments.01 Jan 193631 Dec 1958

HSD16 Correspondence relating to the Establishment of the Government Medical Services Scheme.01 Jan 193731 Dec 1938

AC808 Patient Index (Tuberculosis).01 Apr 193731 Aug 1956

AC807 Patient Register (Tuberculosis).01 Apr 193731 Aug 1956

HSD42 Estimates.01 Jan 193831 Dec 1939

AC809 Mantoux Test Register.01 Jan 193830 Nov 1955

HSD21 Minute Papers for the Executive Council.01 Jan 193831 Dec 1957

HSD231 Bush Nursing Services - Correspondence and associated Papers relating to May Shaw Memorial Hospital, Swansea.01 Jan 193931 Dec 1945

HSD232 Bush Nursing Services - Record of Foundation of May Shaw Memorial Hospital, Swansea 1939 - 1945 Compiled by K.M. Morris.01 Jan 193930 Jun 1945

HSD8 Register of Correspondence relating to the School Dental Service.01 Jan 193931 Dec 1954

HSD10 Register of Correspondence relating to the School Medical Service.01 Jan 193931 Dec 1954

AA1 Correspondence Files.01 Jan 194031 Dec 1989

HSD224 Daily Journal of Monies received.01 Jan 194031 Dec 1961

AD665 Patient Cards for Active Cases, including Separate Cards for Patients Who Died 1975-1977.01 Jan 194031 Dec 1979

HSD4 Registers of Correspondence relating to Government Medical Services Scheme.01 Jan 194031 Dec 1954

AD663 Chest Hospital Patient Cards for Patients Not Seen for Ten Years or Longer.01 Jan 194231 Dec 1972

AD662 Chest Hospital Patient Cards.01 Jan 194231 Dec 1972

HSD19 Enquiry Into Tandara Private Hospital.01 Jan 194231 Dec 1942

AD666 Patient Cards for Repatriation Hospital Cases.01 Jan 194231 Dec 1963

AC695 Minutes of Meetings of Medical Directorate, Public Health Department.30 Sep 194506 Feb 1951

AD653 Register of Land Held by Public Hospital Boards.01 Jan 194831 Dec 1975

HSD14 Correspondence relating to Pharmaceutical Benefits.01 Jan 194931 Dec 1954

AE820 Minutes of the Oatlands Bush Nursing Hospital Women's Auxiliary04 Mar 194927 Sep 1965

HSD180 Director General of Medical Services' Notes and Correspondence relating to Tours of Hospitals, Bush Nursing Centres and Medical Officers' Residences.01 Jan 195231 Dec 1962

HSD183 Duplicate Receipt Books.24 Nov 195303 Dec 1953

AG86 General Correspondence - North-West01 Jan 195528 Jan 2010