In 1902 the Legitimation Act was passed. This allowed the birth of an illegitimate child to be reregistered if the parents had legally married. The new registration included the details of the father and the parents' marriage. This could only be done if there had been no legal impediment to the marriage of the parents at the time the child was born - that is, if both parents were unmarried and of age. In 1913 parents who had been unable to marry at the time of a child's birth were able to record their marriage details by way of a declaration, but these rules were not actually changed until the 1961 Commonwealth Marriage Act.
Attitudes to children born from ex-nuptial pregnancies started to shift from around the 1960s in Australia. This shift was later accompanied in more social security and childcare options for single mothers. The Children (Equality of Status) Act 1976 removed all legal disabilities suffered by ex-nuptial children and established that their rights regarding paternity and maternity are the same as children born within wedlock.
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The Find & Connect Support Service can help people who lived in orphanages and children's institutions look for their records.
08 October 2018
Cite this: https://www.findandconnect.gov.au/guide/nsw/NE00981
First published by the Find & Connect Web Resource Project for the Commonwealth of Australia, 2011
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