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New South Wales - Archival Collection

St Joseph's Cowper Records (1912 - 2017)


St Joseph's Cowper Records collection includes records of some description for every child who has been in 'care' there since 1912. This collection includes an admissions register and client file cards dating from 1912, baptismal certificates dating from 1915, assorted photographs, and client case files for the 1980s.


Access Conditions

Conditional Access - Former residents (and their families) can contact the Heritage and Information Service at MacKillop Family Services to gain access to records. The Heritage and Information Service recommends people contact them through the Records Enquiry Form on the website.


St Joseph's Cowper Records collection includes records of some description for every child who has been in 'care' there since 1912. The early records tend to have limited information about each child, and as time went on the records became more detailed. The records contain information including: name, date of birth, place of birth, parents' names, admission date, name of person who placed the child at St Joseph's, departure date, where the child went to after leaving St Joseph's. Additional information, which is more likely to exist for the later years, includes: health and immunisation records, school information, daily reports, photographs, religious records regarding baptisms, first communion and confirmation. Records of children in 'care' at St Joseph's became more comprehensive again from the 1980s onwards, and included: legal information, correspondence with the Department of Community Services, personal correspondence, brief information as to why out-of-home care was required, brief notes on family contact, psychological information, details of assessments, case conference material, family contact, details of host families, aftercare contact, and photographic and video records of time in care.

The St Joseph's Cowper collection includes:

  • Admission and Discharge Records (29/11/1912 - 2013). A single register of admission and discharge information for all clients in 'care' at St Joseph's since 1912. The entries in the register are in order by date of entry, with a unique entry number assigned to each individual. Information in the register includes: name, date of birth, address, parents' names, name of person who brought young person to St Joseph's, when discharged, where young person went to after leaving St Joseph's. Twenty-eight handwritten entries per page.

  • Client File cards (29/11/1912 - 2013). The Client File cards correspond to the Admission register listed above, with individual client numbers repeated on the Client File Cards for cross-matching. The Client File cards contain core information about each child, and some also contain additional information, mainly about immunisations and religious sacraments. Cards are sorted into two groups by date, pre-1960 and post -1960, and filed alphabetically in five drawers.

  • Baptismal Records (1915-1958). These records are made up of baptismal certificates, sorted in alphabetical groupings and stored in archival sleeves and binders. Quantity: 466 documents.

  • Client Case Files (1980-1989). The Client Case files are arranged alphabetically by year (for instance Box 1 1980s A-B, Box 2 1980s C, Box 3 1980s C-J etc). Quantity: eight boxes.

  • Assorted photographs (c.1950s-current; very few pre-1950) The photographs include many early pictures of buildings, farming activities and games undertaken by residents and staff at St Joseph's Cowper. Most of the albums are arranged roughly by years, including 1970s/pre-1970, 1980s, 1990s, and c.2000s. Includes 16 albums labelled with individual client names. Also includes three boxes of assorted negatives, framed and loose photographs. Quantity: 82 albums and three boxes.

  • Other Data Storage Media, including 20 VHS video tapes (14 of which are labelled) and 15 labelled CD-ROMs of photographs.

Prepared by: Naomi Parry and Ann McCarthy