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South Australia - Legislation

Destitute Asylum Act 1863 (1863 - 1867)

  • Destitute Asylum Act 1863

    Destitute Asylum Act 1863, courtesy of Australasian Legal Information Institute.

Principal Act
Alternative Names
  • Destitute Poor Act 1863

The Destitute Asylum Act (No 2 of 26 and 27 Vic, 1863) was passed and commenced on 12 November 1863. Its full title was: An Act for the Regulation of the Asylum for the Destitute Poor and other Purposes. The Destitute Asylum Act 1863 established an asylum for the destitute poor. It gave the Government the power to make rules and regulations for the management of the Destitute Asylum. Asylum residents or their relatives were asked for maintenance contributions if their circumstances permitted. The Act was repealed by the Destitute Persons Relief Act 1866-7 on 11 January 1867.


The Destitute Asylum Act 1863 was passed in response to years of concerns and complaints about the management of, and conditions in, the Destitute Asylum. This Act gave the Government the power 'to make rules and regulations for the maintenance of order, discipline, decency, and cleanliness' among residents of the Asylum. It also allowed the Government to find suitable employment for the residents.

Despite the passing of the Act, conditions deteriorated further. The Destitute Asylum was publicly criticised and the Governor was urged to remove the children to a separate facility. The passing of the Destitute Persons Relief Act in 1866 allowed for the establishment of these separate facilities. This new legislation repealed the Destitute Asylum Act 1863.


 1863 - 1867 Destitute Asylum Act 1863
       1867 - 1872 Destitute Persons Relief Act 1866
             1872 - 1881 Destitute Persons Act 1872
                   1881 - 1927 Destitute Persons Act 1881
                         1927 - 1972 Maintenance Act 1926
                               1972 - Community Welfare Act 1972

Related Organisations


Online Resources


Destitute Asylum Act 1863
Destitute Asylum Act 1863
Australasian Legal Information Institute


Sources used to compile this entry: Swain, Shurlee, History of child protection legislation., Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse; Australian Catholic University, Commonwealth of Australia, Sydney, 2014, 91 pp,;

Law Research Service, Melbourne Law School, Law Library, The University of Melbourne. 'Find and Connect Project - South Australia Legislation', 13 December 2013, held in the project files at the University of Melbourne eScholarship Research Centre.

Prepared by: Christine Moje, Karen George and Gary George