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Adoption, fostering and child welfare in South Australia: Children in institutional care

How to find information about adoption, fostering and children in institutional care, online and at the State Library of South Australia.

This guide covers sources for institutional care of children in South Australia, including hospitals, orphanages and reformatories. Information about history of education, Aboriginal missions and the Stolen generations can be found on other Guides.

Note: State Records is the official repository for State Government records.

Find and connect and Finding your own way both provide guidance for people looking for information about children's homes in South Australia, including the location of their records.

Histories of institutions and systems

Barbalet, Margaret. The Adelaide Children's Hospital: 1876-1976: a history, 1975.

Barbalet, Margaret. Far from a low gutter girl: the forgotten world of State wards, South Australia, 1887-1940, 1983.

Bleby, Elizabeth. Kennion House, a hundred years of children, 1986. Church of England Boys' Home, Walkerville.

Boarding-out Society Adelaide, S. Aust. Report of the Society for the supervision of children placed out from the Magill Institution by the Destitute Board, 1873-1886.

Central Methodist Mission Adelaide, S. Aust. Child Care Services Section. Child care at the Central Mission, 1977.

The Cyclopedia of South Australia in two volumes..., 1907-1909. vol.1, pp.324-325. 'The Children of the State.'

Dickey, Brian. Rations, residence, resources: a history of social welfare in South Australia since 1836, 1986.

George, Karen. Finding your own way, 2005. Also online.

Hardy, Mabel. The first hundred years of the Orphan Home, Adelaide, Inc, 1960.

The history & development of the Seaforth Brighton Community Centre, [1978?]

Legacy Club of Adelaide. Legacy: an outline of the facilities offered to the widows and children under the care of Legacy, 1958.

McNally Training Centre..., [1967?.]

Morley, Charles The Glandore story from hulk to haven: a story built around the history of the site of the Glandore Community Centre, 1995.

O'Reily, John. The Catholic charities of South Australia: what they aim at doing and how they try to realise their aims, 1911. Includes brief history and photographs of Goodwood Orphanage, Largs Bay Orphanage, and the Boys' Reformatory.

O'Reily, John. The Fullarton Refuge and the Girls' Reformatory at Kapunda..., 1909.

O'Reily, John. Some Catholic charities and the Secretary of the State Children's Department..., 1910.

Picton, Cliff and Boss, Peter. Child welfare in Australia: an introduction, 1981. (pp. 33-34 'Community Welfare Act, 1972.')

Scottney-Turbill, Peter. Morialta: fire in the mist, 1994.

South Australia. Dept. of Intelligence. Special intelligence bulletin, 1910. Information pamphlet for intending immigrants to South Australia. pp. 28-30 Education; pp. 31-34 State Children's Council.

South Australia. Public Buildings Dept. Specification for erection of new dormitory block at Vaughan House, 1961.

Spence, Catherine Helen State children in Australia, 1907.

State Children's Council administration / compiled by Jas. Gray, 1911.

Tregenza, Annie. Recollections Reynella, A.E. Weinert, 1991.

Mount Barker Boys' Home

Salvation Army Boys' Home at Mount Barker, 1905. B 60658.


AIATSIS. South Australian legislation brings together child welfare/adoption laws in South Australia, including those applied specifically to Aboriginal children.

Find and connect and Finding your own way both provide guidance for people looking for information about children's homes in South Australia.

Oral Histories

A series of 17 interviews commissioned by the State Library gathering the experiences of children, nuns and priests connected with the St. Vincent de Paul's Orphanage, Goodwood, from 1922 until its closure in December 1975.