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
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.
Industrial School – series held
|Series ID||Title and date range||Access||Indexes|
|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||Open||Name search in ArchivesSearch|
|GRG 27/11||Register of admissions - Industrial School, Edwardstown, 1903 - 1908||Open||None available|
|GRG 27/12||Register of admissions to the Roman Catholic Boy's Reformatory, Brooklyn Park, 1895 - 1908||Open||None available|
|GRG 27/13||Register of admissions to the Salvation Army Probationary School for Boys, Mount Barker, 1900 - 1928||Open after 100 years||None available|
|GRG 28/9||Register of admissions to the Industrial School, Boys Reformatory School and Girls Reformatory School, 1862 - 1882||Open||Indexed by GRG 28/10|
|GRG 28/10||Index to admissions to the Inidustrial School - Destitute Board, 1863 - 1885||Open||Indexes GRG 28/9|
|GRG 28/11||Daily report book of the Industrial School, Magill, 1867 - 1882||Open||None available|
|GRG 28/12||Register of admissions to the Reformatory Hulk 'Fitzjames', 1879 - 1893||Open||None available|
|GRG 29/52||Index to applications for admission - Magill Home, 1923 - 1951||Open after 100 years||Not applicable|
|GRG 29/54||Register of admissions to the Magill Home, 1924 - 1950||Open after 100 years||None available|
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 Link-Up SA.
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:
- visiting the State Records’ Research Centre
- completing our online enquiry form
- calling us on +61 8 8343 6800.
This Fact Sheet can also be downloaded in PDF format - Industrial Schools