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New South Wales - Archival Series

Private adoption agency contact files [Dependent Children and Adoptions Branch, Department of Community Services] (1950 - 1975)

Reference No
Legal Status
State Records Authority of New South Wales Series Number

This series, Private adoption agency contact files [Dependent Children and Adoptions Branch, Department of Community Services], held by the State Records Authority of New South Wales, contains records relating to private agency adoptions between 1950 and 1975 in New South Wales. Many of the records in this series are from the Queen Victoria Hospital for Women. The series includes medical records, interviews, correspondence and social work files.


Access Conditions

Access to this series is restricted to protect personal privacy. People wishing to access the records in this series will need to contact the Adoption Information Unit.


This series can be described as containing three groups of records, records relating to adoptive parents, records relating to birth mothers of adopted children, and records relating to information about past adoptions.

Records relating to adoptive parents include: transcripts of interviews with prospective adoption parents, applications, reports and other correspondence before and after the adoption of children takes place.

Records relating to birth mothers whose children were adopted in this series were mostly created by hospital social workers. These files, almost exclusively from the Queen Victoria Hospital for Women, include the mother's social history and information on the father, medical reports on the child and signed forms for the adoption. These files were often created by social workers when the birth mother "decided" to "relinquish" her child. It should be noted that the content of these records varies in detail and some information may be missing.

Records relating to enquiries include correspondence in answer to recent enquiries from the child, birth or adoptive parents about the adoption or child's background.

The records in this series cover the period 1950 to 1975. During this period there were significant changes in the titles and roles of many New South Wales state government departments. The Child Welfare Department was the name of the department responsible for adoptions between 1923 and 1970 until it was replaced by the Department of Child Welfare and Social Welfare which was active from 1970 to 1973. In 1973 the Department of Youth and Community Services took responsibility for adoptions until 1988. There was also a brief period between 1975 and 1976 where the Department of Youth, Ethnic and Community Affairs was responsible for adoptions. This means records in this series may have been written by one or more of these government departments and might hold information about people who had contact with one or more of these departments.

Quantity: 136 boxes


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,

Prepared by: Naomi Parry