The Public Record Office of Victoria (PROV) and the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing has made records from 1864-1923 available online for the first time.
These records relate to children under care of the state in Victoria, (Wards of the State). Ward records are “a central departmental record detailing each child committed to State ‘care’, why and for how long a child was made a ward of the state and where they were placed during that term“. They remain closed for 99 years from their creation, at which point they are opened to the public. These records are the only substantial record that still exists about each child, case records having been destroyed prior to 1973 and the creation of PROV.
For a child who was put in care due to concerns for their welfare or because they had committed an offence, Ward records are singularly important – providing a starting point on their journey to answer questions about their identity and their history, and containing otherwise disparate information about the places they lived and records that may have been created about them. “For many people institutionalised as children, the bureaucratic information in the Ward Register has to ‘stand in’ for the web of information contained in memories, personal and family memorabilia that most of us take for granted.“
The records have recently been digitised and include the children’s:
- Ward Number
- Date of Birth
- Native place
- Ability to Read or Write
- Date of Commitment
- Commiting Bench
- Date of Admission
- Cause of Commitment
- Whether Parents are living
- Vaccination details
- Previous history
- Where stationed
- Licensing out details
- Discharge details
- Half yearly report information.
You can find the records here: https://prov.vic.gov.au/archive/VPRS4527
This weekend is your last chance to give the website a test-run!!! The survey will only take about five minutes, and will close on Monday morning (the 30th). Thanks everyone who has participated so far!