A New South Wales Act of 1838 (1 Vic. no. 3) provided "for the attendance of medical witnesses at Coroners' Inquests and Inquiries by Justices of the Peace." Prior to separation from New South Wales in 1859, until the enactment of "The Inquests of Death Act of 1866", medical practitioners were appointed as coroners in some districts in Queensland.
Coroners were assisted in their inquiries by a Coroner's Jury, and, in 1861, the first Queensland act relating to Coroners' Courts enabled juries, which had delivered a verdict of manslaughter to accept bail. The "Inquests on Fires Act of 1863" empowered coroners to hold inquests on fires. "The Inquests of Death Act of 1866", however, stated that juries were no longer to be summoned for inquests and that depositions, together with a certificate of the supposed cause of death, be forwarded to the Attorney-General, and a duplicate-certificate be sent to the Commissioner of Police. Medical practitioners could be called to provide testimony if there was any reasonable doubt as to the cause of death.
A note in the Queensland Blue Book 1867 states that "the duties of coroner are performed by the Police Magistrates and Justices of the Peace in the several districts of the colony without juries." No further entries appear for coroners outside Brisbane.
No major change to the discharge of coroners' duties was enacted until The Coroner's Act of 1930.
"The Coroners Act of 1930" consolidated inquest legislation and established Coroner's jurisdiction within each petty sessions district constituted under the "Justices Acts 1886 to 1929". Under this legislation, a Coroner's Court could be constituted by a police magistrate, or in petty sessions districts where no police magistrate had been appointed, by a clerk of petty sessions.
The Coroners Court had jurisdiction to inquire into the manner and cause of death of any persons killed, drowned, who died of unknown causes, who died under suspicious circumstances, who had not been granted certificates of death by medical practitioners, who died in prisons, asylums or other institutions and who were unattended by medical practitioners three months prior to death. Coroners were also granted jurisdiction to inquire into the circumstances of fires and the circumstances surrounding missing persons.