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New South Wales - Archival Collection

United Protestant Association of New South Wales Records (1932 - )

From
1932

United Protestant Association of New South Wales Records include a variety of records of the children's Homes managed by the 12 district councils of the United Protestant Association of New South Wales (UPA). This includes admission and discharge registers, children's holiday applications, photographs, state and district minutes and issues of the Protestant World Magazine.

Details

Access Conditions

If you wish to enquire about your time in a UPA Home or request copies of personal records, please write, telephone or email the United Protestant Association at Hornsby. Research, access and copying of all records/files is done by the UPA Archivist. UPA will make records available to people who have been in their care, although records are often limited in content. Proof of identification is required prior to research and the UPA After Care Support Officer meets with Care Leavers to go through their files with them and provide support and counselling if required. Information will only be made available directly to the person concerned. If deceased, then direct family may apply to obtain copies of a family member's records.

There is no cost to a Care Leaver for research or preparation of their files. UPA returns some original, personal items to the possession of the Care Leaver, such as certificates, letters, school reports and photographs. UPA allows Care Leavers and Former Child Migrants to add to or amend their records. UPA will provide support by way of a qualified counsellor with ongoing support available through Wattle Place (Relationships Australia).

Records

The UPA Archive holds records of children's Homes managed by the 12 district councils of the United Protestant Association of New South Wales. Over 3,600 children passed through the UPA Homes. UPA are committed to providing as much assistance as possible in tracing/locating any information for and on behalf of Care Leavers and Former Child Migrants.

Since 2002, the United Protestant Association has been developing an electronic database of information about the children who have spent time in care at a UPA Home. The information in the database is sourced from records held in the UPA Archives, including some of the records listed above. The database includes core information about each child, including name, date of birth, parents' names, admission and discharge dates; and a cross reference to the child's personal file. The database also includes images and photographs and is updated when new information is found. This database is called 'UPA Connect'.

The UPA Archive includes records from UPA Homes, including:

Admission and Discharge Registers

The Department of Child Welfare required each institution/organisation/Home to complete a Notification of Admission or Discharge upon admission or removal of any child from a Home. The forms supplied the child's/children's names, dates when they were admitted/removed from a Home, by whom, where they would be residing (another UPA Home or private address) occupation of parents (if known) and in the case of Admission Registers, the agreed amount to be paid to UPA by the parent/parents.

Matrons Reports

Matrons (House Mothers) were required to submit a Monthly Report to the District Manager. The monthly reports were dated, included the number of boys or girls in the Home, and the name of each Home. The Matron was required to supply written details of children who received medical/dental or hospital treatment, children still receiving treatment, behavioural concerns etc. The report also requested updates on the condition of the interior/exterior of the Home. Some entries also contain further information regarding the children in the Home. Some Matrons/House Mothers were poorly educated and often reports were incomplete, blank or not submitted at all. Unfortunately for quite a number of the children's Homes, Matrons Reports were not kept or were destroyed when the Home/s closed.

Minutes of District and State Council meetings

These consist of bound volumes of minutes of the meetings of the 12 District Councils of UPA and State Council Meetings, dating back to the early 1950s. Contained within these Minutes was information regarding UPA Homes and the children who lived in them (with names supplied). Council minutes include information in relation to admissions, discharges, parents, relocating children, court appearances, health issues, Child Welfare Department issues and many other items relating to UPA Homes and children.

Slides and Photographs

Includes a wide collection of images (colour, and black and white) relating to the UPA children's' Homes which have been indexed on an electronic database.

Holiday Application Records

All children who stayed in UPA Homes were billeted out during the holidays. In some cases children spent the holidays with their own families but in most instances children were sent out to other families, often as companionship to single child families. It was necessary for written applications to be received by the UPA when a request was made for a child to stay with a particular family. From this information a roster was completed with details of the child, the family concerned, address etc. In some cases the records also include comments recorded when the child returned to the UPA Home after the holidays, for instance about the child's experiences during the holidays. These records are often incomplete.

Additional Records

For some people, the UPA also have birth certificates, child welfare forms, court orders, social security forms, punishment books, visitor books, infant registers (under seven years old), correspondence to and from parents, school reports, sporting certificates, medical treatment books. However, sadly, some files contain only the barest of information.

Issues of Protestant World Magazine, 1932-1987

The Protestant World Magazine included information about, or relevant to, the children in the care of the UPA. These records were digitised and indexed as part of the Records Access Documentation Grants in 2017.

The information includes which Homes children were in, dates when children left the UPA or were transferred to another Home, achievements in sporting events, birthday messages to children in the Homes, and letters from Homes to the editor, 'Aunty Rose'. It includes short articles about careers, marriages, sickness of UPA children and death notices. The magazine was the voice of the UPA at that time, and its role included raising funds for the children's Homes. Throughout the magazine are black and white photographs of the Homes and the children.

Each issue contains 32-35 pages of articles, a District Managers Reports, photographs and:

  • 'Our Protestant Boys and Girls Everywhere' conducted by Aunty Rose. (Aunty Rose as she was known to the children was the PA to the General Manager). This page contained letters to Aunty Rose mostly from children in UPA homes telling her about their holidays, school, pets etc.
  • The 'Birthday Band' listed all the children's birthdays for that month. Children named in the Birthday Band were mostly UPA children and the list was compiled from records and copies of admission forms received from each of the UPA Homes and recorded at Head Office. The 'Birthday Band' has been extremely valuable in confirming and correcting dates of birth. For a number of years the Birthday Band named alongside the child, the name of the UPA Home.
  • 'About Ourselves' provided information about UPA Districts and Homes including names of Matrons, Supervisors, how many children were in each Home for the month, excursions that children went on, along with a selection of photos. Children have been identified in the photographs and notes made in their files.
  • 'Last Minute Odds and Ends' provided further information about the children's Homes including admissions, discharges and the work being undertaken by the Association. In many cases first names of children are mentioned regarding operations, what's going on in the Homes they live in, how they are progressing at school, letters requesting pen pals and other bits of news.
  • 'Competition Corner' - Each month competitions were published (including text finding competitions and art competitions) and each month published the names of the winners for the previous month. Alongside the full names were also the names of the UPA Homes the children lived in and how old they were at the time of the competition.

From articles contained in the Journal, UPA has been able to confirm the names of Homes children were in, children's age, competitions they won, sometimes operations they had and many other small bits of information.

Publications

Online Resources

Sources used to compile this entry: 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, http://nma.gov.au/blogs/inside/files/2011/02/connectkin_guide1.pdf; This entry has been updated with information received from the record holders as part of the Records Access Documentation grants. The source documents are held in the eScholarship Research Centre files at the University of Melbourne.

Prepared by: Ann McCarthy, Naomi Parry and Nicola Laurent