Series VPRS 17822
De Facto Adoption Register
About this Series Related Series Accessing the records in this Series
Date Range: Series ? 1906 - 1980
  Series in Custody 1906 - 1980
  Contents 1906 - 1980
Public Access: Closed
Location: North Melbourne
Format of Records: Physical
 
Agency which created this SeriesAgency which created this Series
Display entries per page
Date Range Agency Title Agency Number
1906 - 1961 Children's Welfare Department 1924-1961 (previously known as Department for Neglected Children 1887-1924), Chief Secretary's Department VA 1467
1961 - 1971 Social Welfare Branch, Chief Secretary's Department VA 2784
1971 - 1980 Social Welfare Department VA 946
Agency currently responsible for this SeriesAgency currently responsible for this Series
Display entries per page
Date Range Agency Title Agency Number
2015 - cont Department of Health and Human Services VA 5037
Description of this SeriesDescription of this Series
  • How to use the Records
    Consult the list of records in this series to retrieve the volume for the required period. An index in the front cover of each volume provides access to the content of the Register. Separate indexes were also maintained for the period 1949 to 1955 (see VPRS 17842).

  • Function / Content
    This series comprises of the De Facto Adoption Register which was created by the Children's Welfare Department (VA 1467) and its successor Departments.

    De facto adoption is the term used to describe the unofficial adoptions which were arranged by both Government and non-government organisations, as well as by individuals, prior to the commencement of the Adoption of Children Act 1928. This Act, which became law in July 1929, regulated adoptions for the first time in Victoria. It required adoptions to be sanctioned by a court and parental rights, duties, obligations and liabilities were legally transferred to the adoptive parents.

    Prior to 1929, adoptions were more informal arrangements. The details of these unofficial de facto adoptions however were still required to be disclosed to the Department who recorded them in the De Facto Adoption Register (this series).

    The Register includes some or all of the following information about an adoption:
    - name of child
    - date of adoption registration, which is often cross-referenced with an infant life protection (ilp) register page/application number
    - child's date of birth
    - parents' names, including residential location where known
    - names, address and occupation of persons by whom adopted
    - remarks, including adoptive person's relationship to child
    - by whom/which agency the adoption was arranged
    - whether any payment was received
    - death of the child.

    Despite the introduction of the Adoption of Children Act 1928, this Register continued to be maintained by the Department up until 1980. It was used to record legal adoptions that were sanctioned by a court in accordance with the Act. It does not however contain a comprehensive listing of these legal adoptions. This Register also contains entries of informal adoptions that continued to be arranged post 1929.

    Background to de facto adoptions
    With the introduction of boarding out from the 1870s, 'quasi adoption' became more desirable for the Victorian Government as it provided 'free homes for children who would otherwise be long-term costs'.

    In 1890, under the provisions of the Infant Life Protection Act 1890, the Chief Commissioner of Police assumed responsibility for the registration of homes used for the purpose of nursing or maintaining infants, that is, taking charge of a child under two years of age 'for the purpose of maintaining such infant for a longer period than three consecutive days' or 'for the purpose of adopting such infant'.

    The clause referring to adoption was intended to regulate the work of people who brokered adoptions by taking charge of surrendered infants and matching them with adoptive parents for a fee. At this time, there was no law providing for an adoption to be recognised in law and it was not unusual for informal adoptions to be negotiated through 'baby farmers'.

    Adoptions arranged by charitable organisations and private citizens came under more scrutiny with the passage of the Infant Life Protection Act 1907. This Act was introduced due to increased Departmental concern regarding the way in which adoptions were brokered, such as through daily newspaper advertisements where, in many cases, no care was taken by those arranging the adoption as to the adoptive person's circumstances.

    The Adoption Act 1964 banned all private adoptions. From this time, organisations had to be registered as approved adoption agencies under Victorian Legislation.

  • Recordkeeping System
    Entries in the Register are chronological.

    Each register has an alphabetical index of the `Name of [Adoptee] Child' as well as the `Person by Whom Adopted' with corresponding folio numbers (date of adoption registration number) located at the front of the volume. Subsequent entries are arranged numerically by date of adoption registration number.

    A separate index to the register was maintained for the period 1949 to 1955 are extant (refer to VPRS 17842).

More research resourcesMore research resources
Indexes and RegistersIndexes and Registers
Display entries per page
Date Range Series Title Series Number
1949 - 1955 Index to VPRS 17822 Defacto Adoption Register VPRS 17842
Controlled SeriesControlled Series
Display entries per page
Date Range Series Title Series Number
Previous SeriesPrevious Series
Display entries per page
Transfer Date Series Title Series Number
Subsequent SeriesSubsequent Series
Display entries per page
Transfer Date Series Title Series Number
List/s of records in this seriesList/s of records in this series
Display entries per page
Consignment Number Contents Date Range Public Access No. of Units
P0001 1906 - 1980 Closed 12
Indexes and RegistersIndexes and Registers
Display entries per page
Date Range Series Title Series Number
1949 - 1955 Index to VPRS 17822 Defacto Adoption Register VPRS 17842
More research resourcesMore research resources