Child and Youth Migrants: 1924 – 1976

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Accessing State Records

Many Tasmanian State records about Child Migrants and their care are restricted access, most commonly for 75 years calculated from the most recent date recorded. This is to ensure that sensitive personal information remains private.

For example, the Tasmanian Archives holds the following series of Welfare files in our collection that contains information about individual child migrants:

  • Record cards of ‘non-citizen’ children (Series number AD256), covering the period from 1950-1989. These cards have a summary on the welfare of Child Migrants including name and address of the person with whom they are living.
  • This series is classified as ‘Agency access only 75 years (D75)’, which means that records less than 75 years old are ‘closed’ and can only be accessed through the responsible government agency. As with all Welfare records, this agency is the Department of Communities Tasmania. You will need to apply for access to these records (see below).

How can I access my State records?

Searching the Tasmanian Archives and The Tasmanian Names Index

First, we would recommend that you search the Tasmanian Archives and The Tasmanian Names Index as many open social welfare files and migration files have been digitised and are available in our catalogue. You can search for these records using the individual’s name.

For further tips and information on searching our catalogue, please consult our information page. You can also view a video.

Closed Records

If you do not find any records after searching using an individual’s name in the Tasmanian Archive catalogue and Tasmanian Names Index, then it is highly likely that the record is closed.

While the Tasmanian Archives is a starting point to finding out about your childhood story, we will need to refer you to the Department of Communities Tasmania or Adoption Information Service to access closed State records. That agency will assess your application to see closed records, search for items on your behalf, and may then provide access to these records to you.

Accessing Welfare and Ward of the State files

To access Welfare and Ward of the State files you will need to contact the Department of Communities Tasmania, and complete a Personal Information Protection (PIP) form. The online PIP form is available here. The department will assess your application, and may then provide access.

Department of Communities Tasmania
Phone: 1300 737 639

Accessing State Immigration Office files

Files created by the State Immigration office are now the responsibility of Premier and Cabinet, so you will need to contact the Department of Premier and Cabinet and complete a PIP form. The Department of Premier and Cabinet took over the responsibilities of the State Immigration office when it ceased in 1982 and immigration responsibilities were fully taken on by the Commonwealth government.

Department of Premier and Cabinet
Phone: 1300 135 513

Accessing adoption and fostering records

It is important to note that records about adoption and fostering are permanently closed to the public. Child Migrants who were adopted or in foster care as a child will need to contact the Adoption Information Service to discuss the process, and to find out if they are eligible. Only certain people under the Adoption Act (1988) can access information from the record.

Adoption Information Service
Phone: (03) 6166 0422

Find & Connect has a useful overview explaining your rights to information and the privacy laws that govern what records can be accessed, how they can be accessed, and what can be amended. See Applying for Records: Your Rights and the Law, which provides links to the original legislation.

State Records on Child and Youth Migrants

Multiple Tasmanian state departments were involved in child migration and the children’s care. The records of the State Immigration Office document the nomination and arrival of the Child Migrant. The State Immigration Office also approved and frequently communicated with Child Migrant out-of-home care providers.

There were four approved care providers for migrant children in Tasmania: Clarendon Children’s Home in Kingston (1922 – 2004), St John Bosco Boy’s Town in Glenorchy (1945 – 1956), Hadley Farm School (1936 – 1976?), and Tresca at Exeter (c. 1958 – 1976).

The Tasmanian Archives holds various correspondence files and fact finding mission files that accessed State Immigration Office’s assessment of out-of-home care providers. Records created after the children’s arrival in Tasmania are in the case files of the Department of Social Welfare.

The main open record series created by Government agencies for Child and Youth Migrants are:

State Immigration Office (TA168)

1955-56 M3793 Fact Finding Mission on Child Migration (AA59/1/3034)

1946-1981 Index to personal nominations (AA60)

1953-1962 M1283 [1] St John Bosco Boys Town (AA59/1/1126)

1948-1958 M1283 [2] St John Bosco Boys Town (AA59/1/1127)

1946-1962 M135 Hagley Area Farm School (AA59/1/109)

1946-1957 M82 Mr J.S. Maslin, Hagley Area School (AA59/1/68)

1952-1960 M903 [2] Big Brother Movement of Tasmania (AA59/1/821)

Department of Education: Hagley Farm School (TA1456)

1879-1979 Admission Register (AD304)

1909-1972 Record Book (AD305)

Department of Agriculture (TA370)

1912-1924 Immigration and Intelligence Branch – Forms of Nomination of Persons to Migrate to Tasmania on Assisted Passages Nos 1-297 (SWD15)

1959-1962 19/1D1 No.1 – Agricultural Matters and Extension Work – Intending Settlers – “Big Brother Movement of Tasmania” (AD9/1/16958)

Department of Social Welfare (TA88)

1920-1943 Correspondence of the Immigration Office Concerning the Nomination Arrival and Settlement of Migrants (SWD4)

1945-1951 M133 Legal Guardianship Migrant Children (AA59/1/108)

The main closed record series for Child and Youth Migrants, for which you have to contact the relevant government agency are:

State Immigration Office (TA168)

Please note that access to these files are through the Department of Premier and Cabinet.

1946-1981 Migrant files case files of all nominated migrants (AA59)

1973 M6505 Clarendon Children’s Home [nominator] (AA59/1/5499)

1947-1971 M903 [1] Big Brother Movement of Tasmania (AA59/1/820)

Department of Social Welfare (TA88)

1950-1989 Record cards of ‘non-citizen’ children (AD256)

1915-1994 General welfare case files (AA226)

1939-1972 Case files of the child welfare division (SWD66)

1949-1954 6/15/1(B)-St John Bosco Boys’ Town, Glenorchy-Child Migration (AD203/1/1587)

1976-1987 6/18/1-Tresca-Fairbridge Home-Exeter (AD203/1/1595)

1956-1976 6/18/1 Tresca Fairbridge Home-Exeter-Child Migration (AD203/1/1594)

1956-1968 14/7/1-Big Brother Movement-Child Migration (AD203/1/2153)

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