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New South Wales - Legislation

Family Endowment Act 1927 (1927 - 1941)

Principal Act

The Family Endowment Act 1927, passed by the Lang Labor government, introduced a new payment to families in New South Wales. Family endowment was a flat rate paid to all non-Aboriginal families, irrespective of circumstances and is considered the first universal welfare payment made in Australia. It made a significant difference to the wellbeing of families, and immediately reduced the numbers of children being taken into state care. In 1941, family endowment was replaced by the Commonwealth child endowment system.


Aboriginal families in New South Wales did not always receive the family endowment payment. The Aborigines Protection Board received family endowment on behalf of Aboriginal families, and it was given to local authorities, such as station managers and the police, to allocate at their own discretion, or spend on station properties.

Family endowment was replaced by Commonwealth Child Endowment in 1941.


Online Resources

Sources used to compile this entry: Parry, Naomi, 'Such a longing': black and white children in welfare in New South Wales and Tasmania, 1880-1940, Department of History, University of New South Wales, 2007, 361 pp,

Prepared by: Naomi Parry and Cate O'Neill