Posted by: Donna Cunningham | December 9, 2010

Controversy Swirls about the Assange Birth Data

Apparently there is quite a controversy about the birth data given yesterday for WikiLeaks’s Julian Assange despite a heavily Plutonian chart that seemed absolutely spot on.  (Chart shown at:  .)  Nita Vasilescu forwarded this from the ADB forum: 

 Dear All,
First, may I say that the informant for Julian Assange’s time of birth is claiming that it came from a Queensland gov’t birth certificate or from the QLD registry (same thing really), not a hospital. Neither the birth certificate nor registry would include a time of birth.
However, I thank Elva and Alice and others for their comments regarding hospitals in Australia, their keeping of birth records, and their release of times of birth to the public. I also understand there have been Queensland-born people who have remarked on mailing lists and blogs that they have accessed their birth times through QLD hospitals, particularly after the 21 year period that I stated was the cut-off point.
This prompted me to double-check the situation. This morning I phoned Townsville General Hospital saying that I was born there in 1971 and would like my time of birth.  After a long wait I was put through to “medical records” who informed me of the following:
(a) Yes, times of birth are currently available for some periods from the 1950s until now. Some of the records in the early 1970s are missing due to floods. The person I spoke to wasn’t sure of which, but said “perhaps 1971 and 1972.” Other periods are not available for various reasons.
(b) Birth times are only available to a person requesting their own time of birth, not to their parents, or the children of the applicant, etc.
(c) Medical records are destroyed after 10 years (“for example, if you were born in 2000 then the record is now destroyed”), BUT the hospital keeps the birth record indefinitely. 
(d) Birth times are not available over the phone, etc.  An applicant must write to the hospital providing their mother’s name at the time of their birth, plus the obvious things like the date, year, etc, of their birth, and proof of identity (“photocopy of your drivers licence signed by a Justice of the Peace”).
(e) Records are then searched at the hospital “by the mother’s surname,” and here is the sticking point: If Julian Assange was born in this hospital (and there are quite a few hospitals in Townsville) and this time of birth of 2.05pm came from someone looking at the hospital medical records then they would need to know not only that his mother’s surname was not Assange, but also they would need to know her actual surname at that time. I do not understand where the informant to TMA would find that information. It is now reported widely that “Assange” is Julian’s step-father’s name, given to him after his mother married Mr Assange senior a year after Julian was born. This information has only been released in the press in the last two days or so, so I don’t think the informant would have had that info, to conduct a search, before making their claim. It seems that his mother’s maiden name has now been released but was that her name at the time of Julian’s birth (??) because she reportedly had a partner at the time, Julian’s biological father. Did she use her maiden name or his name, either way it reportedly wasn’t “Assange,” so it seems that the informant would not know that, and so would not be able to search the hospital records by surname, not that the informant is claiming that the info came from a hospital anyway.
I’m happy to stand corrected on this matter. Indeed it is great news. I was led to believe by my birth hospital in QLD (and by the experiences of other Queensland-born folk) that all such hospital records in this state were destroyed after 21 years, if not before. Clearly this is incorrect. It means that other hospitals in QLD may also keep and release info on times of birth (probably only to the person concerned). But for anyone born at Townsville General since the 1940s you may have a chance to get your time of birth through the hospital, and this may also be the case at other QLD hospitals, but others like my hospital of birth don’t release the info.
For now, TGH is the only QLD hospital I know of that provides this service. I also know of one in Sutherland Shire (Sydney, NSW) and one in Melbourne (Victoria), and reportedly one in Adelaide (SA). I hope to make more enquiries about this and put all the info on my Aussie Stars website, for my readers, when this website is relaunched in the near future.
It’s a long shot but I have started searching for Julian Assange’s birth notice in QLD and Northern NSW newspapers for the month of July 1971. (It is possible that Interpol got confused and he was born 7 March 1971, because I have seen no alternative verification of the date, but that is another matter). Obviously his birth notice would not be listed under “Assange” because that was not his birth name, but I have checked it anyway and what I believe to be his mother’s maiden name, presuming that she could have been an unmarried mother. If anyone can help me with his biological father’s surname then that would be a big help.
Anyway, there is no birth notice for him, or any male called Julian, in “The Townsville Daily Bulletin” and other newspapers I have checked on micro-film at the state library, such as the “(Brisbane) Telegraph” for July 1971.  If his birth notice was placed in a newspaper it would likely be in “The Courier-Mail,” the Brisbane-based state newpaper.  Unfortunately 1971 was perhaps Australia’s largest baby-boomer year, and there are hundreds of birth notices in this newspaper for the month of July 1971. Because it was becoming fashionable by 1971, a minority of these birth notices include the time of birth. I have checked for “Assange” and what I believe was the mother’s maiden name in the C-M for this month but no luck yet. Of course, his birth notice could be listed under his biological father’s surname. Does anyone know what that is??
I could go through these hundreds of birth notices in the C-M looking for any males born in Townsville on 3 July 1971 and then check if they are named Julian and what the parents names are, but as you understand that would be a laborious task, and i’m rather too busy just now.
I have ordered copies of the “Northern Star” (Lismore, NSW) for July-August 1971 to view at the library, but because they have to be brought in from remote storage they will not be there until late tomorrow at the earliest.  I’m going to check these for a birth notice because I understand this is where one of Mr. Assange’s grandfathers lived at the time of his birth. Sometimes grandparents put their grandkids birth notices in the local paper.
Australia has relatively strict privacy laws compared with the USA, UK, etc, and Queensland would have to be one of the strictest places on the planet. The QLD gov’t will not even let me have a copy of my QLD-born grandmother’s birth certificate, even though she has been dead for 22 years and was born nearly 100 years ago. I have to wait until 2014 when she would have reached the age of 100, if not 2015, because of bureaucracy, before I can get her BC, and by then it would be publicly available to anyone anyway. Only parents can access their child’s BC, and vica versa. In other words, if your parents are dead, and you want to get your QLD-born grandfather’s BC (for family history research, for example) then you will have to wait until he would have turned 100 before getting any such official information. You might die yourself before reaching that date! (And the BC wouldn’t have a time of birth anyhow).
In Queensland, and in Australia generally, there are no birth indexes available to the pubic for people born in the last 80-100 years. If you cannot contact a person’s mother or family to make enquiries, and you want to find or confirm a person’s date of birth, let alone get their time of birth, or even their birth name, you have to search through things like birth notices in newspapers.  I have had moderate success with this laborious approach (roll, roll, that microfilm!!), having found birth times in birth notices for people like actor, Julian McMahon, fastest-swimmer-in-the-world, Eamon Sullivan, et al.   
Mr Assange’s birth notice could well be in one of these newspapers, along with his time of birth, but it would be a big search at this stage to find it.
Anyway, I apologise if I misled anyone with my comment that QLD hospitals destroy records after 21 years. I have made the relevant enquiries today and checked the facts and clearly I was wrong. However, considering the above I think it unlikely that the informant’s info on Mr. Assange’s time of birth came from a Townsville hospital record, not that they are claiming that in any case, but if they did i grant that it would not be an impossible source for such information.

Sy Scholfield


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