Some people may find content on this website distressing. Read more
Northern Territory - Glossary Term

Unmarried Mothers

Alternative Names
  • Single Mothers (1965 - )

Single pregnant women (and their children who were born out of wedlock) were the targets of various charitable endeavours in Victoria from the earliest days of white settlement. Until perhaps the 1970s, to be an 'unmarried mother' carried significant stigma and the approach taken by institutions was usually to hide the unfortunate woman away from society. There were several maternity homes, rescue homes and lying-in hospitals in Victoria. Single pregnant women were generally regarded as a disgrace, and institutions often took a punitive approach to their 'care'.

Prepared by: Karen George and Gary George