Series VPRS 17830
State Ward and Non Ward Adoption Register
About this Series Related Series Accessing the records in this Series
Date Range: Series 1929 - 1976
  Series in Custody 1929 - 1976
  Contents 1929 - 1976
Public Access: Closed
Location: North Melbourne
Format of Records: Physical
 
Agency which created this SeriesAgency which created this Series
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Date Range Agency Title Agency Number
1929 - 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 - 1976 Social Welfare Department VA 946
Agency currently responsible for this SeriesAgency currently responsible for this Series
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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.

    Researchers should note volume 4 provides access to VPRS 17791 Non Ward Adoption Files, Annual Single Number System.

  • Function / Content
    This series comprises of registers detailing adoptions which were formalised through the Courts after the introduction of the Adoption of Children Act 1928 (No. 3606).

    The registers are in two categories; three registers record adoptions legally granted for children who were under the guardianship of the Department as State Wards, and one volume records adoptions relating to children for whom the Department was not the legal guardian.

    The first volume has been re-used from its original purpose. The first ten folio pages of the volume appear to have originally been used as a boarding out register for children under the care of the Department of Industrial and Reformatory Schools. The pages record the names of children who were State Wards and residents of industrial schools, and their placement with foster carers, during the period of the 1870s and 1880s. The entries are arranged by local government area, and titled with the name of the local government area recorded, eg: St Kilda, Heathcote, Emerald Hill, Chilwell and Newtown.

    Each entry is identified by an application number, and a separate registration number is also recorded for each entry. Neither of these numbers appears to correspond with a ward number allocated for the child. The numbers appear to have been controlled by separate registers, however the location of these registers is not known.

    Information recorded in the three ward adoptions registers includes:
    - ward registration number
    - surname of child
    - applicant
    - condition under which child is placed (eg: Boarded Out or Probation)
    - name of Departmental visiting officer
    - assessment of applications made and result of assessment by department Secretary
    - completion of affidavits by applicants obtaining of consents, and
    - court date information and result.

    Other information recorded for each child includes:
    - name of the foster parent or person responsible for maintenance of the child
    - date of birth of the child
    - school where the child was originally located or their location at the time of coming into the care of the foster parent, eg: Boarded out, Alfred Hospital, - Royal Park
    - additional comments are also recorded where applicable, e.g. adopted, Under Police Supervision, discharged
    - date of leaving the foster placement
    - date of expiration of term of foster care
    - entries regarding date and reasons for the child returning to the care of the industrial schools, if applicable.

    Volume 1:
    State Ward Adoption Register entries 15/8/1929 - 14/12/1937. Entries under the heading of the first adoption under the Act was made by the Court on 15/7/29 and registered at Government Statist in October 1929. The registers appears to have been used to record all aspects of management of each case by staff of the Department, as well as recording the finalised cases.

    Entries are numbered 1 through to 159 for the period 1929 to 1931. After this date, the entries commence at 1 at the beginning of each new calendar year, through to the end of 1937.

    Volume 2:
    State Ward Adoption Register 11/3/1938 - 11/12/1968
    Entries commence at number 1 on hearing date 11/3/1938, and recommence at number one at the start of each new calendar year through to the end of 1968.

    Volume 3: State Ward Adoption Register 1/1/1968 - 7/8/1975
    Entries commence at number 1 from January 1969 through to June 1976.

    Volume 4: Non-ward adoptions register: July 1966 - June 1975
    Information recorded includes: registration or file number [comprising the year of registration and sequential number, eg: 66/30], child's sex and date of birth, child's original names and new names after adoption, name of applicants adopting child, date and court details of the granting of the adoption order. This extant register provides access to VPRS 17791 Non Ward Adoption Files, Annual Single Number System.

    The adoption of children was first regulated by the Adoption of Children Act 1928 (No.3605). This Act established adoption as a legal transfer of custody and of parental responsibility, and gave responsibility for making adoption orders to the courts. Prior to this time, adoptions were informal arrangements often made by infant homes, non government organisations and by private arrangement.

    Prior to the commencement of the Act in July 1929, defacto adoptions arranged by government, non government organisations, or by private arrangement were not formally legalised. Defacto adoption details were required to be disclosed to the department, who recorded them in the De Facto Adoption Register (refer VPRS 17822). The Children's Welfare Department became responsible for the adoption of State wards after the passing of the Adoption Act 1928 (No.3605).

    The Adoption Act 1964 banned all private adoptions. From this time, organisations had to be registered as approved adoption agencies under Victorian legislation. It is not known why the volume for non-ward adoptions only includes entries for a short period of time, from July 1966 to June 1975. It is not known whether any other registers for non ward adoptions exist.

  • Recordkeeping System
    The volumes are arranged chronologically by the date range covered.

    Recordkeeping system is subject to further research.

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Consignment Number Contents Date Range Public Access No. of Units
P0001 1929 - 1976 Closed 4
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