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New South Wales - Organisation

The Salvation Army Australia Eastern Territory (1882 - )

Adoption Agency, Care Provider, Foster Care, Non Government Organisation, Receiving Agency, Records Access Service, Records Holder and Salvation Army

The Salvation Army is an international religious and humanitarian organisation. The work of the Salvation Army officially began in Australia in September 1880 in Adelaide, and in Sydney in December 1882. From 1894 to the 1970s The Salvation Army operated children's homes around Australia and conducted adoption, probation, child migrant settlement and fostering schemes. In New South Wales it is part of the Salvation Army Australia Eastern Territory. It operates the Family Tracing Service (Special Search Service).


The Salvation Army works with the poor, the homeless and the underprivileged. The blueprint for much of its social work was Commandant Herbert Booth's study of poverty In Darkest England and the Way Out, first published in 1890. The publication of Booth's book coincided with the Depression of the 1890s in the Australian colonies, and led to the development of a series of strategies and programs to combat poverty. This, and the arrival in Australia in 1896 of Booth, saw the real commencement of the Army's social work in Australia. This included, among other things, the establishment of maternity and rescue homes, which later evolved into maternity hospitals, and the children's homes.

The Salvation Army conducted a number of institutions. In 1921, it was granted 5 shillings per week for every orphan in its care by the NSW Government. This allowance was extended to a range of private institutions that cared for children.

Via its website, the Salvation Army acknowledges the hurt caused to many children who lived in some its homes and issues an unreserved apology. It urges people who have grievances about their treatment in Salvation Army children's homes and orphanages to contact its Professional Standards Office.

The Salvation Army Eastern Territory holds records of the children's homes and programmes that operated in New South Wales and Queensland.


Provided 'Care' At

Related Archival Series

Related Concepts

  • Children's Court (1905 - )

    The Salvation Army ran several institutions for children committed to care or detention by Children's Courts.

  • Probation

    The Salvation Army ran several probation homes for boys.

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Sources used to compile this entry: 'The Salvation Army. Maternity Home at Burwood.', 5 October 1898,; 'Orphans', The Sydney Morning Herald, 19 February 1921,; 'Survey of Social Agencies', Australian Women's Weekly, 15 July 1933. Also available at; 'Children's Homes - Apology', in The Salvation Army, The Salvation Army, 2013,; The Salvation Army Australia Eastern Territory, 'Submission 46: EASTERN TERRITORY SOCIAL CENTRES: A list of openings, closings, and function', in Inquiry into Children in Institutional Care - Submissions received by the committee as at 17/3/05, Senate Community Affairs Committee, Commonwealth of Australia, June 2003,; Thinee, Kristy and Bradford, Tracy, Connecting Kin: Guide to Records, A guide to help people separated from their families search for their records [completed in 1998], New South Wales Department of Community Services, Sydney, New South Wales, 1998,

Prepared by: Naomi Parry