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New South Wales - Archival Collection

United Aborigines Mission, records deposited with State Library of South Australia

United Aborigines Mission, records deposited with State Library of South Australia is an archival collection that came into the custody of the State Library of South Australia in late 2022. It comprises some records from the United Aborigines Mission archives, relating to Homes in South Australia, and the Bomaderry Aboriginal Children's Home in New South Wales.


Access Conditions

The State Library of South Australia is in consultation with former residents and their families regarding access, the consultation process is expected to be concluded by the end of 2023, to be included in this consultation please contact the State Library.


In December 2022, a representative of the defunct organisation, United Aborigines Mission, transferred records to the custody of the State Library of South Australia. Details of the records are provided below.

The records deposited with the State Library of South Australia relate to Colebrook Home, Tanderra Girls' Home, Oodnadatta Children's Home (all located in South Australia) and Bomaderry Aboriginal Children's Home (located in New South Wales).


Minute Book, Bomaderry Home Children, 1908-1952
Foolscap sized ledger, green cloth covers, red cloth spine. An admission register Bomaderry Aboriginal Children's Home, from its foundation in 1908. Originally a single child to a page, containing details of "name, caste, age, age admitted, place of birth, religion, transferred to home from, reasons for transfer, father's name, occupation and address, ditto mother, other relation, further particulars, in whose care; date of discharge and to where." At p. 41, the format and arrangement changes from one page per child, to one line per child, divided into columns, giving detail of "Number; Name, Admitted, Birth; Previous Address; Date of Leaving; Where Sent; Further Particulars." The final entry is "No. 246", dated 1951.

Admission Register Bomaderry, 1920-1939
Foolscap sized ledger, half leather binding (brown), over brown boards, marble endpapers. No cover or spine title, but a printed inset on the front pastedown from the Secretary A. P. Board [Aborigines Protection Board] dated 8-9-1920, has a pencil annotation "Bomaderry". The register begins at p. 16. dated 1921. The format and details given are the same as the above item. A later printed inset "Index", typescript, in 3 columns, gives the names of 127 children, for whom there is a corresponding entry in the register. Early entries layed out following the same pattern with more or less detail; later entries are very sparse, some only a name and date of admission. At the end of the register appear lists of "Ages of Girls, 1921", "Ages of Boys, 1921", "Children's Birthdays" etc.


Children's Records, 1940s - 1960s
Green metal box holding system cards, in alphabetical order, containing Children's names, DOB, Date of Admission, From where, Parent's details, Date of Discharge and Destination. With a section of "Other Remarks", often full of personal and health information. Paperclipped to the cards are often related documentation, correspondence, notes and information relating to the resident. Some cards were copied from the Oodnadatta Admissions and Discharges register, and continued showing transfer to Colebrook. Filed behind the Admissions systems card, is a series of further smaller cards, being immunisation records for further children, some of these related to the main series. Interspersed through this box are correspondence (carbons) handwritten and tyepscript, reports, proforma, relating to the United Aborigines Mission and correspondence with the Aborigines Protection Board.

Exercise book: Colebrook Home Register, 1941-1948
13 page book containing names of children. Ruled in columns, giving details of Surname, Christian Names, DOB, Date of Admission, Mother, Father. From 1946, the format of recording information changes, the pages are divided into "New Arrivals" Boys and Girls. "Evelyn Mason" name is circled in blue pen. Towards the end of the Register are written some lists and notes, and inserted loosely some pieces of correspondence


Admissions & Discharges Oodnadatta 1948-1964
A loosely bound exercise book "Admissions and Discharges", evidently the Oodnadatta Children's Home Admissions and Discharges register, with details of one page per child, including details of name, birthday, admission, notes, including on medical and health information. Date of discharge. There are details for 46 residents included. There are some loose insets of immunisation cards. There is inset another register, 4pp. Organised by family relations, with columns for Surname, Christian name, Birthday, Place of Birth, Father's and Mother's Name.


Register Tanderra Home, 1964-1976
A full and detailed admissions register, written by multiple hands, for Tanderra Girls' Home. Containing all personal details and often detailed historical notes on the girls' lives, habits, characters, holidays, events, incidents and other happenings in life, round the home, at school, employment, etc. Towards the end of the register is a list of Rules of the House; followed by further names and casual notes on allowances, fees etc.

Missing records of the United Aborigines Mission

In December 2022, the records described here were transferred to the custody of the State Library of South Australia.

Unfortunately, the whereabouts of other records previously held by United Aborigines Mission Archives is unknown as at March 2023. Records relating to UAM Homes in South Australia, New South Wales and Western Australia have been described in publicly available sources, such as the publications Finding your own way (2005) and Connecting Kin (1998).

Research and consultation by the Find & Connect web resource team and other stakeholders has been unable to establish the current whereabouts of the records, which were last known to be located in Williamstown, Victoria.

This is a distressing situation for former residents of UAM institutions and for their family members. Support is available from organisations such as Link Up and the Find & Connect support services.

If you can provide any further information please contact the Find & Connect web resource. We will update this website should any new information come to light.

Prepared by: Cate O'Neill