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Victoria - Legislation

An Act for Hospitals and Charitable Institutions 1864 (1864 - 1890)

Principal Act

The Hospitals and Charitable Institutions Act 1864 (Act no. 220) set out certain requirements for Victorian institutions, societies and associations, funded entirely or in part by voluntary contributions, and which had been established with the object of saving human life, promoting health, temperance or morality, preventing cruelty or vice or for other philanthropic or humane purposes. The institutions for 'neglected' and 'criminal' children which came into being in the 1860s, like the Ballarat District Orphan Asylum, were thus required to be incorporated under the Hospitals and Charitable Institutions Act.


Under the Hospitals and Charitable Institutions Act 1864, charitable institutions like orphanages were required to be governed by trustees and committees or boards of directors elected by contributors. Institutions that complied with the legislation could receive grants from the Victorian government, subject to the condition that they submit statements of accounts and returns of contributions to the Treasurer.

By 1880, the Victorian government had appointed an Inspector of Public Charities, probably as a response to recommendations made by the 1870 Royal Commission into Charitable Institutions. The Inspector undertook the investigation of the management, and audit of the accounts, of institutions receiving assistance from the Government.

This Act was repealed by the Hospitals and Charities Act 1890.


 1864 - 1890 An Act for Hospitals and Charitable Institutions 1864
       1890 - 1915 Hospitals and Charities Act 1890
             1915 - 1923 Hospitals and Charities Act 1915
                   1923 - 1928 Hospitals and Charities Act 1922
                         1929 - 1948 Hospitals and Charities Act 1928
                               1948 - 1958 Hospitals and Charities Act 1948
                                     1958 - 1987 Hospitals and Charities Act 1958


Online Resources

Sources used to compile this entry: 'VF 67 - Hospitals and Charities', in Public Record Office Victoria Online Catalogue, Function details, catalogue entry, Public Record Office Victoria,; Law Research Service, Melbourne Law School, Law Library, The University of Melbourne. 'Find and Connect Project - Victorian Legislation', 1 February 2013, held in the project files at the University of Melbourne eScholarship Research Centre.

Prepared by: Cate O'Neill