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Timeline of Significant Events and Legislation in the History of Child Welfare in Australia

On this page, you will find links to entries in Find & Connect about some of the major events in the history of child welfare in Australia.

Colony of New South Wales passes child welfare legislation, 1826

Colony of Victoria passes child welfare legislation, 1864

Crown Colony Western Australia passes Industrial Schools Act, 1874

Australia’s first adoption legislation passed in Western Australia, 1896

State Children Act, State of Western Australia, 1907

World War One, 1914-1918

The Great Depression, c.1929-1932

World War Two, 1939-1945

Commonwealth passes Child Endowment Act, 1941
First post-war child migrants arrive in Australia, 1947

Senate releases the report: ‘Children in Institutional and Other Forms of Care: a national perspective’, 1985

‘Bringing them home’ report handed down, 1997
The United Kingdom Parliament commences an inquiry into the welfare of former British child migrants, 1997
Queensland’s ‘Forde Inquiry’ into abuse of children in institutions commences, 1998

The Senate releases its ‘Lost Innocents’ report into child migration, 2001
Tasmanian Ombudsman begins the ‘Listen to the Children’ review, 2003
The Senate releases its ‘Forgotten Australians’ report, 2004
South Australia’s Mullighan inquiry into children in state care commences, 2004
Redress WA scheme commences, 2008
The Senate releases its ‘Lost Innocents and Forgotten Australians Revisited’ report, 2009
The Australian Parliament apologises to the Stolen Generations, 2008
The Australian Parliament apologises to Forgotten Australians and Former Child Migrants, 2009

National Apology for Forced Adoptions, 2013
Royal Commission into Child Sexual Abuse announced, 2013