Australia Orphans and Orphanages

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Orphans are children who were either parentless or homeless because the parent(s) could not care for the child. Hundreds of orphans were sent to Australia from the British Isles. Details about these orphan immigrants can be found in ship passenger lists. For further information on ship passenger lists, see Australia Emigration and Immigration.

There are several types of Australian records about orphans including orphanage registers, school records, apprenticeship records, and charitable relief office reports. For more information about orphanage school records, see Australia Schools.

Orphanage registers give detailed information about each orphan, including name, age, parent(s), ship of arrival, religion, and remarks (such as death date, discharge information, and whether apprenticed). Many of these records are indexed.

Orphanages in Australia date back to almost the beginning of the British settlement. Orphanage records in Australia can be found in national archives, state archives, and other local repositories and libraries. See the following for a list of orphan and orphanage records in Australia and where they are deposited:

Vine Hall, Nick. Tracing Your Family History in Australia: a guide to sources. 2nd ed. Albert Park, Victoria, Australia: North Vine Hall, 1994. (Family History Library Call Number 994 D23v.)

The Family History Library has collected some records relating to orphans and orphanages. These records are listed in the Place Search of the Family History Library Catalog under: