Are you looking for Victorian records that are less than 99 years old, about yourself or a family member? Read our Guide to accessing Victorian Child Welfare and Adoption Records.
Are you looking for Victorian historic records that are more than 99 years old? Public Record Office Victoria could help you. Please see next steps below.
The records that are open to view are over 99 years old and contain details of children who were adopted or made wards of the state in Victoria (the Find and Connect glossary entry for the term 'State Ward', states that this term was used to describe individuals who experienced institutional or out-of-home ‘care’ as children whilst under the guardianship of a State child welfare authority).
Note that not all children who were adopted were made wards of the state, and not all wards were later adopted.
What do I need to know before I start?
Adoption and ward of the state record keeping practices have been inconsistent over time – sometimes few records or no records were created, and some records were destroyed, and the reasons for this have been explained in an article published in our Provenance journal, 'Convicted and Neglected'. This means the type and quantity of records available for each adoptee or ward of the state may be different.
The language used in these records can be distressing or offensive. It reflect the attitudes of the time and we do not endorse these attitudes.
View online or at the Reading Room?
Look for the symbols below to identify if records are viewable online (mouse over globe) or need to be ordered online and then viewed at our Reading Rooms (open book):
Look for these icons to:
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples should be aware the collection and website may contain images, voices and names of deceased persons.
Material in the Public Record Office Victoria archival collection contains words and descriptions that reflect attitudes and government policies at different times which may be insensitive and upsetting.
PROV provides advice to researchers wishing to access, publish or re-use records about Aboriginal Peoples.