Inquests and Police Reports to the Coroner

Inquests in South Australia

Historically, in South Australia the investigation into a reportable death usually started with a police report. This report was forwarded to the State Coroner who then decided whether or not to proceed with a coronial inquest.

Most of the records relating to this topic were created by the Attorney General’s Department (GRG1), the Colonial Secretary’s Office (GRG24), and the Police Department (GRG5).

Inquests were held into deaths deemed to be either unnatural or criminally suspicious. Inquests were also held into the cause of fires, even where no deaths or injuries were reported. For between 1852 and 1856 abstracts of inquests can be found among the correspondence of the Colonial Secretary, and for between 1857 and 1869 files relating to inquests can be found among the correspondence of the Attorney-General’s Office.

Within GRG 1/27, records of inquests dating between 1877 and 1930 were authorised for destruction during World War II. For these years, the police reports to the Coroner are often useful.

Inquest files and related records – series held

Series ID

Series title and date range

Access

Indexes

GRG 24/11

Depositions taken during inquests 1839-1851

Restricted, contact Coroner’s Court

Available in the Research Centre (Jill Statton, Inquests SA Record Series No.3)

GRG 1/27

Inquest files – City Coroner and successors 1867, 1869-1876, 1931-1976

Open after 60 years

See Special List (also available in the Research Centre (Jill Statton, Inquests SA Record Series No.3))

GRG 1/91

Burial orders 1926-1971

Open after 50 years

Available in the Research Centre. See GRG 1/92,  See also Jill Statton, Burial Orders, SA Records Series 5 & 6

GRG 1/2

Correspondence files (‘AGO’ or ‘AGD’ files) – Attorney-General’s Department 1856-1980

Open after 50 years

See Special List (also available in the Research Centre)

GRG 24/6

Correspondence files (‘CSO’ files) – Colonial, later Chief Secretary’s Office 1836-1856

Open, pre-1970

See Special List (also available in the Research Centre)

GRG 1/95

Inquest findings 1937-1942

Open

Index at the front of the volume

GRG 1/94

Index to inquest files 1917-1932

Open

N/A

GRG 1/106

Fire reports 1956-1984

Open after 50 years

None available

Police Reports to the Coroner

Until the 1960s, Police reports to the Coroner series only related to deaths in the Adelaide metropolitan area. The series include reports on deaths of patients at Parkside Lunatic Asylum and Adelaide Lunatic Asylum.

Police reports to the Coroner – series held

Series ID

Series title and date range

Access

Indexes

GRG 1/44

Police reports to the Coroner 1879-1982

50 years

See Special List (also available in the Research Centre. See also Jill Statton, Coroner’s Reports, SA Record Series No. 1 & 2)

GRG 1/39

Police Reports to the Coroner 1884-1891

Open

Listing available via ArchivesSearch online

GRG 1/28

Notices of deaths to Coroner 1875-1876

Open

None available

GRG 1/43

Index to Police Reports to the Coroner 1910-1922

Open

N/A

Police station inquest records

Records of inquests into deaths outside the Adelaide metropolitan area may have been created at local police stations. To identify whether State Records holds inquest records for a particular police station, search ArchivesSearch.

ArchivesSearch

The above is a limited selection of the most useful series only.  Descriptions and access conditions for these and other series held, as well as agency descriptions and agency inventories, are available via ArchivesSearch.

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This Fact Sheet can also be downloaded in pdf format - Inquests and Police Reports to the Coroner Fact Sheet

 

 

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