Hospital and Medical Benefits Brochure

Mutual Hospital Association Limited

Source: Migration Museum, Adelaide, South Australia

In 1965 John and Janet Sutton from Bristol were preparing to emigrate to Adelaide in South Australia with their children. As well as completing the medical checks and providing evidence of John’s qualifications as an engineer, they made enquiries about health insurance.They were sent this brochure by Realty Development Corporation, a housing development company that was sponsoring their passage. The company had offices in London where they provided information about ‘Sunny South Australia’ and their new housing developments in suburban Adelaide.

In the UK, general taxation and national insurance contributions funded a public health service that was free at the point of delivery. But in Australia, individuals had to pay for doctors’ consultations and time in hospital.

In order to receive a cash benefit from the Commonwealth Government if sick or injured, individuals and families had to insure with a registered organisation. The organisation would then reimburse them with a combination of a fund benefit, and the Commonwealth benefit. This brochure reminds us that migrants had to navigate a complex health system in Australia.