Some people may find content on this website distressing. Read more
New South Wales - Glossary Term

Unmarried Mothers

Single pregnant women (and their children who were born out of wedlock) were the targets of various charitable endeavours in Australia from the earliest days of white settlement. Until at least the 1970s, to be an 'unmarried mother' carried significant stigma and the approach taken by institutions was usually to hide the unfortunate woman away from society. Single pregnant women were generally regarded as a disgrace, and institutions often took a punitive approach to their 'care'.


Online Resources

  • O'Brien, Anne, Poverty's Prison: the poor in New South Wales 1880-1918, Melbourne University Press, Carlton, 1988, 256 pp. Details

Prepared by: Naomi Parry