During the latter half of the nineteenth century the South Australian government established a number of social welfare agencies.
These cared for "Lunatics"* (Adelaide, then Parkside, then Glenside Lunatic Asylums), the aged (Magill Old Folk’s Home), those left destitute (the Destitute Asylum), children requiring custodial control (the Industrial School, the Girls Reformatory and the Boys Reformatory), and orphans (through the Boarding-Out System).
*The word "Lunatic" reflects the term in use at the time of the record creation.
The State Children's Council was established under An Act to amend ‘The Destitute Persons Act, 1881’ of 1886 (No. 387). It assumed control of the Industrial and Reformatory Schools, and the boarding-out (fostering) of children. In the words of the first Secretary of the State Children's Council the objective of the Council was ‘to take control of the “children of the street” and to train them to become virtuous, honest and useful citizens.’ (South Australian Parliamentary Paper No. 39A of 1887).
The Children's Welfare and Public Relief Department, established in 1927, combined the operations of both the State Children's Department and the Destitute Persons' Department. In 1966 it became the Social Welfare Department.
Most records relating to this subject were created by the Destitute Persons’ Department (GRG28), the Social Welfare Department (GRG29) and the State Children’s Department (GRG27).
At the time of the Council's inception, the Industrial School, located at Magill, was used primarily as a reception house for children awaiting placement with foster parents or in apprenticeships. The Girls Reformatory was housed in the southern wing of the Industrial School, Magill and the Boys Reformatory was located on an out-of-service ship, the Hulk Fitzjames, moored off Largs Bay.
Records relating to Industrial School
|Series ID||Title and date range||Access|
|GRG 27/9||Register of admissions to the Industrial School, Magill and Edwardstown, 1886 - 1929|
Open after 100 years
Name search in ArchivesSearch for the open period
|GRG 27/10||Register of admissions to the Industrial School, Magill 1884 - 1893|
See Special List and name search in ArchivesSearch
|GRG 27/11||Register of admissions - Industrial School, Edwardstown, 1903 - 1908||Open|
|GRG 27/12||Register of admissions to the Roman Catholic Boy's Reformatory, Brooklyn Park, 1895 - 1908||Open|
|GRG 27/13||Register of admissions to the Salvation Army Probationary School for Boys, Mount Barker, 1900 - 1928||Open after 100 years|
|GRG 28/9||Register of admissions to the Industrial School, Boys Reformatory School and Girls Reformatory School, 1862 - 1882|
Indexed by GRG28/10 Index to admissions to the Industrial School - Destitute Board, 1863 - 1885
|GRG 28/11||Daily report book of the Industrial School, Magill, 1867 - 1882||Open|
|GRG 28/12||Register of admissions to the Reformatory Hulk 'Fitzjames', 1879 - 1893||Open|
|GRG 29/52||Index to applications for admission - Magill Home, 1923 - 1951||Open after 100 years|
|GRG 29/54||Register of admissions to the Magill Home, 1924 - 1950||Open after 100 years|
Researchers with an interest in the care of children by non-government institutions may find the publication “Finding Your Own Way” useful. It describes in detail various private and religious institutions in South Australia who cared for children and also describes records that may, or may not, be available. “Finding Your Own Way” is available from SA Link-Up.