At the State Library, we have seen a dramatic increase in the number of individuals researching the family history of adopted persons and children brought up in orphanages, homes, institutions and foster care. Due to this increased interest, the State Library’s Genealogy Team has published an online guide for researching Adoption and Forgotten Australians.

‘Forgotten Australians’ is a term the Australian Senate has used to describe children who were brought up in orphanages, homes, institutions or foster care in Australia during the 1920-1970 time period. For the purpose of this guide, resources for earlier and later periods are also listed. The guide provides links to agencies that hold adoption, wardship and related records as well as listing resources held at the State Library. The primary focus is Victoria but also includes a selection of resources for other Australian States, New Zealand, United Kingdom and Ireland.

The State Library holds many resources that can be used to research these topics, including material held in the Genealogy, Manuscripts, Pictures, La Trobe and Redmond Barry collections.

Some collection highlights include:
– The Children’s Ward Registers 1864 – 1899 held in the Genealogy Centre.
– The Melbourne Orphan Asylum records held in the Manuscript Collection (Prior permission is required to access this information).
The Annual reports of the Departments who have been in charge of ‘child welfare’ services in Victoria. These are published in the Victorian Parliamentary Papers, held in the La Trobe Reading Room. You can find a report by consulting the Indexes to Victorian Parliamentary Papers.
– Photographs of orphanages, institutions and homes for Victoria, including the the Oz Child collection of photographs, held in the Pictures Collection.

For more detailed information about researching adoption or placement care in Australia, please consult the Library’s Adoption and Forgotten Australians research guide.

[Children , Melbourne Orphanage, Brighton, Vic.]

[Children , Melbourne Orphanage, Brighton, Vic.]
Accession number: H2001.20/5
Date of creation:[ca. 1920- ca. 1950]
Collection: OzChild collection of photographic prints
Location: Pictures Collection, State Library of Victoria

This article has 2 comments

  1. It’s a shame you don’t have a donate button! I’d definitely donate to this outstanding blog!
    I suppose for now i’ll settle for book-marking and adding your
    RSS feed to my Google account. I look forward to brand new updates and will share this website with my Facebook
    group. Talk soon!

    • Hello,
      Thank you for your kind comments! Carmen is on leave but would be very happy you found her post useful.
      There is no donate button specifically for the blog, but you can always help the Library fund its valuable work by making a donation:
      Best of luck with your research!
      Kind regards,

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *