'The Commission of Inquiry Appointed to Inquire into and Report on Allegations Concerning the Acts or Omissions of Certain Persons Associated with the Herberton District Hospital' was established under the provisions of the Commissions of Inquiry Act 1950 by Order in Council 5 January 1963.
The Commission of Inquiry was to investigate "whether there have been any acts or omissions" by the Medical Superintendent of the Herberton District Hospital or the Matron of the Herberton District Hospital, which constitute a "failure to efficiently and properly" discharge their duties. Also, "without limiting the aforegoing, whether there have been any acts or omissions by the Medical Superintendent of the Herberton District Hospital or the Matron of the Herberton District Hospital or any member of the Atherton Hospitals Board which prevented or tended to prevent the due co-operation and co-ordination of the Medical Services and the Nursing Services Branches of the Herberton District Hospital." Finally, the Commission of Inquiry was to examine "any other matter or thing appertaining to the aforesaid matters which to them shall seem meet and proper in the public interest." The Commission of Inquiry was to report and make any recommendations to the Minister for Health and Home Affairs.
Daniel John Kearney headed the Commission of Inquiry assisted by Glenloth Victor Hickey and Violet Mary Hall.
CONDUCT OF THE INQUIRY:
The Inquiry commenced at Herberton on 8 January 1963, and sat there for 16 days. The Inquiry was adjourned to Cairns, and sat there for one day on 13 February 1963. It was further adjourned to Brisbane, where evidence and address were heard over a period of 5 days, from 26 February to 2 March, 1963, inclusive. In all, 32 witnesses were examined.
The Commission of Inquiry concluded in disagreement between its members. The report consists of two documents: a report by D.J. Kearney and G. Hickey and another report of V.M. Hall. The first report recommended the sacking of the Matron and another person, who also faced allegations, but the second minority report recommended that the Medical Superintendent dismissed be at once.