The significance of World War One, and the role this event plays in the history of the institutional 'care' of Australian children is an emerging area of research. Clearly, the departure of thousands of Australian men to fight with Britain had a great impact on society, families, and children.
Many households had to adjust to the absence of male breadwinners (be it temporary or permanent). In the post-war period, the profound impacts of battle on many former servicemen flowed on to affect their wives and children.
Many residents of orphanages enlisted to fight in the War. Annual reports from institutions during the War years often carried lists of those who were serving, and news of those who had 'made the supreme sacrifice'.
The military records of the Australian Infantry Forces from World War One can be a rich source of information about orphanage 'old boys' who served. Some Forgotten Australians have found vital information about fathers, uncles and grandfathers in these records, which are available online from the National Archives of Australia.
Prepared by: Cate O'Neill
Created: 16 November 2012, Last modified: 26 February 2016