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South Australia - Archival Collection

Records of Kate Cocks Memorial Babies Home (1930s - 1970s)


The collection of records relating to Kate Cocks Memorial Babies Home held by Uniting Communities covers the date range 1930s to the 1970s. The collection includes administrative records such as minutes of meetings, matron's reports and miscellaneous documents about the running of the home. Unfortunately the collection does not include admission records or personal files about residents.


Access Conditions

All personal information held by Uniting Communities is accessible upon request and is only limited in special circumstances. Proof of identity is required. Information affecting the privacy of others will be deleted from copies of documents made accessible. Contact Uniting Communities for further information.


The collection includes Minutes of the Board of Management and the Women's Welfare Department, Superintendent's and Matron's reports, miscellaneous documents and photographs. The majority of photographs of children are unidentified.

Unfortunately no admission records or personal files of children have survived. For some years it was understood that some of these records had been destroyed in a fire. Recent research has revealed that a fire occurred at the Kate Cocks Home on Tuesday 8 July 1975. Media articles and photographs show that the fire, which started in a dormitory bedroom, destroyed the room and its contents. The rest of the building suffered smoke and water damage. There is no evidence to confirm the loss of records in this fire.

Correspondence dating from 1988 and 1999, shared with the Find & Connect web resource by Uniting Communities, shows that at the closure of the Home in the late 1970s personal records of all children were handed over to the Department of Community Welfare and dealt with under Government policies of the time. A response from the Adelaide Central Mission to an inquiry about records in July 1988 stated that:

We have recently discovered that the more personal background information was destroyed at that time and so is now unavailable. This was no doubt done to ensure confidentiality, however I wish to say that I am very sorry that it is not possible for you to get this information on your early life.

This fact was confirmed again in correspondence from the Department of Human Services to the Adelaide Central Mission in August 1999:

Unfortunately during the 1970s and 1980s some records were destroyed as the policy then was that it was improper for the Government to retain information for extended periods about former clients. It is therefore a possibility that there may be some records which are unable to be provided. This policy has since been reversed and all records are valued and carefully preserved.

Uniting Communities expresses its deep regret that client records have been destroyed.


Kate Cocks Memorial Babies' Home - Fire damage
Kate Cocks Memorial Babies' Home - Fire damage
Uniting Communities


Sources used to compile this entry: Email to Find & Connect web resource from Uniting Communities, dated 22 July 2014.

Prepared by: Karen George and Gary George