The index is a joint venture between the RMH, the Public Record Office of Victoria and the Genealogical Society of Victoria. It covers 1856 to 1905, when RMH, now at Parkville, stood at the corner of Swanston and Lonsdale streets.
Sixteen years ago, hospital archivist Gabriele Haveaux discovered 2000 ward books in a warehouse in Wreckyn Street, North Melbourne. They were a researcher's nightmare, stacked in boxes in no particular order. Each book is embossed with the name and ward number of a particular doctor, who took patient notes in it each time he visited the hospital.
While 451 ward biooks have now been transcribed, the remaining 1,500 ward books are still awaiting transcription.
You can read more in an article by Carolyn Webb in The Age web site at http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/hospital-records-paint-bleak-picture-of-1800s-melbourne-20100606-xna1.html