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South Australia - Archival Series

Mandates committing children to the custody of the Department (1880 - 1930)

Social Welfare Department and Predecessors

Reference No
Legal Status
State Records of South Australia Series ID

Legal documents committing 'neglected', 'destitute' or 'delinquent' children to a Reformatory or to the Industrial School. Filed alphabetically.


Access Conditions

A Research Centre Members card, obtainable at the Archives, is required to research records held at State Records.

Although some very early records relating to children in care in South Australia are open for access, most records relating to children are subject to a 100 year restriction, particularly those which contain personal information about individuals. Written permission must be obtained from the government agency which created the record in order to access restricted material. To obtain permission a Freedom of Information (FOI) request form must be submitted to the relevant government department. State Records staff will be able to assist you with this.


Contents - Mandate forms change marginally over the date range but normally include a form titled Report of Circumstances of ____________(name of child) sentenced to _____________(name of reformatory) on __________(date). This form records the following information: (1) Date when born and age when committed; (2) Religious persuasion; (3) Names of parents in full - Mother/Father; (4) Address in full, occupation and average weekly earnings; (5) Number of children - Over 13 years/Under 13 years; (6) Character and previous conduct of child so far as known; (7) Full particulars as to circumstances, character, whether sober or otherwise, of both parents; (8) Date; (9) Signature. Notes on contents - Mandates sometimes include other forms noting circumstances of admission, confirmation and date of admission signed by the Matron of the Reformatory/Home. Some include references to State Children's Department Correspondence Dockets on which correspondence related to the child's case is filed.


Online Resources

Sources used to compile this entry: George, Karen, Finding your own way, Nunkuwarrin Yunti of South Australia Inc., 2005,

Prepared by: Karen George and Gary George