The Ward Registers document information about children committed to state 'care' in Victoria, from 1864 to 1965 (from number 1 through to 84,818). They include the child's: name, sex, date of birth, native place, religion, ability to read or write, date of commitment, committing bench, date of admission, term, cause of commitment, whether parents are living, vaccination details, previous history, where stationed, licensing out details, details re discharge and half yearly report information. The Ward Registers were used to allocate a unique number to each child committed into state 'care'. The registers were maintained by the Chief Secretary's Department.
Records more than 99 years old are open to the public at Public Record Office Victoria. For access to other records contact Care Leaver Records Service, Freedom of Information Unit, within the Department of Health and Human Services.
Digital copies of the Registers within the 'open period' are available online through the PROV website.
The Ward Registers are arranged by the ward number assigned to the particular individual. Sometimes a code indicated more information about a child, for example, R was reformatory school, C/I/S was Catholic industrial school.
There are a number of 'sequences' within this series. For example, the system began registering 'neglected' and 'criminal' children in the same volume. Later, separate volumes were kept for convicted and 'neglected' children, or for different reformatories. From 1897, all children in 'care' were again registered in the same volume.
All of the Ward Registers were 'imaged' during the 1990s.
Microfiche copies of the Ward Registers dated from 1864-1897 are available to the public and can be consulted at the State Library of Victoria, and at the Public Record Office Victoria, Victorian Archives Centre. These include information about 'neglected' children admitted up to 23 April 1895 and convicted children admitted up to 1897. There is also an index to the Ward Registers, covering 'neglected' children admitted up to 1894 and convicted children admitted up to 1897.
From 1898, the Registers had an internal index at the beginning of each volume.
Prepared by: Rosemary Francis
Created: 21 October 2011, Last modified: 10 August 2021