• Archival Series

Ward Registers, Board for the Protection of Aborigines

To access these records

Please contact the Family Records Unit, Department of Aboriginal Affairs:

Postal Address: PO Box 207, Mascot NSW 1460

Phone: 1800 019 998

Email: familyhistory@aboriginalaffairs.nsw.gov.au

Website: https://www.aboriginalaffairs.nsw.gov.au/healing-and-reparations/family-records-service/

Reference Number

Quote this number to access your records: State Records Authority of New South Wales Series Number, 26


The Ward Registers are short documents compiled by the Board for the Protection of Aborigines between 1916 and the 1940s, that record details of Aboriginal wards in the foster care into placements with employers once they were too old to attend school.">apprenticeship system and institutions. The Registers record date of birth, place of removal, parents’, siblings and other relatives’ names, and the names of employers, institutions the children attended and the date and circumstances of their discharge.

Access Conditions

These records are restricted. Written permission is required from the Department of Aboriginal Affairs to access these records.

A microfilm copy of these records exists, with the reference number 4/8553-54; microfilm copy SR Reel 2793


The Ward Registers were compiled from 1916 until 1923, but the records contain information from 1905 into the 1940s. These records were also referred to by the Board as ‘movement forms’.

According to the State Records of NSW catalogue, the Board could assume full control and custody of the child of any Aboriginal person if after due inquiry the Board was satisfied that it was in the interest of the moral or physical welfare of the child.

These registers comprise consecutively numbered forms which were filled in when the child was made a ward. Each form records the date; name of child; date and place of birth; religion; reason for assuming control; father’s name, occupation and address; mother’s name and address; particulars of other relatives (including brothers and sisters); other situations; further particulars (where living during childhood and in whose care); to what Home sent; certificate of admission; disposal (ie. The late history of the child); and signature and office (although the forms are usually unsigned, some are signed by either police, or managers of stations or reserves). There are usually some later annotations giving further details.

Occasionally correspondence is attached to the form.

The Series titled ‘Indexes to Ward Registers’ provide an index to people listed in these Ward Registers.

Children who were not wards of the state will not be mentioned in the Ward Registers series, but many instead appear in the Series

‘Histories of Girls and Boys Unattached and for whom forms have not been prepared’

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