Destitute Asylum

Destitution in South Australia

The first Ordinance relating to the maintenance of the destitute was passed in 1843. The Destitute Board was appointed in 1849 and was responsible for overseeing and relieving those who had no means, or relatives, to support themselves.  Two forms of relief were available:

  • “Outdoor” – consisting of rations of food and firewood to those with a roof over their head; and

  • “Indoor” – available to the sick, homeless, widowed and elderly residing in the Destitute Asylum.

The Destitute Asylum also operated the Lying-In Home for destitute expectant mothers.

Most records relating to this subject were created by the Destitute Board (GRG28).

Records relating to destitution – series held

Series IDSeries title and date rangeAccessIndexes Available           
GRG 27/19Reports by inspectress of licensed foster mothers and wet-nurses, 1881 - 1909OpenSee Special List            
GRG 28/4Register of cases of destitution, 1849 - 1857OpenSee Special List           
GRG 28/5Register of admissions to the Destitute Asylum,  1870 – 1873, 1881 - 1924Open after 100 yearsSee Special List for 1870 to 1909.  For later period contact a Reference Officer           
GRG 28/13Register of admissions to the Lying-In home, 1886 - 1896OpenSelf-indexed           
GRG 28/14Reports on applicants for admission to the Lying-In home, 1900 - 1922Open after 100 yearsNone available           
GRG 28/32Quarterly record of recipients of relief in the Wallaroo, Moonta and Kadina districts, 1910 – 1922Open after 100 yearsNone available           
GRG 28/33List of children forwarded from the Destitute Asylum to the Roman Catholic Orphanage, 1867 - 1869OpenNone available           
GRG 28/34Register of admissions to Destitute Lying-In Home, Flinders Street, 1865 - 1868OpenSee Special List           
GRG 29/15Register of infants born in the Destitute Asylum, 1880 – 1932Open after 100 yearsNone available           
GRG 29/16Ledgers of maintenance payments by relatives of destitute persons, 1893 –1928Open after 100 yearsNone available           
GRS 14431/1Register of relief applications - Burra (Redruth)
district, 1906 – 1917, 1935 - 1953
Open after 100 yearsNone available           


The above is a limited selection of the most useful series only. Descriptions and access conditions for these and other series held, as well as agency descriptions and agency inventories, are available via our online catalogue, ArchivesSearch.

Need further assistance?

If you require any assistance with your research, please contact a Reference Officer by:

This Fact Sheet can also be downloaded in PDF format - Destitute Asylum pdf 59.45kb


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