The records made available through our website are found in the archives of the Social Welfare Department (SWD).
The basic register record includes the child's name, age at
admission and dates of admission and discharge; along with the name of the
child's mother and father (if known) and the name of the ship on which they
arrived in the colony. Records catalogued SWD 26 for the period 1859 - 1879
include applications for admission, along with supporting letters and
subsequent correspondence about the child.
In many cases details included in the official register are incomplete or incorrect. Sometimes the spelling of surnames for both parents and children varies within the register and between convict and marriage records. For example: the surname of the mother of Catherine Sharkett (Orphan 4879) is recorded as Shooket in the register index, Elizabeth Shukey inside the register, Eleanor Sharkett on the convict record and Ellen Sharkett on the Permission to Marry Form.
Variations and discrepancies also occurred because mothers were convicted under their maiden name or because married women who arrived without their husbands re-married shortly after arrival.
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