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South Australia - Glossary Term

Stolen Generations

The Stolen Generations are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who, when they were children, were taken away from their families and communities as the result of past government policies. Children were removed by governments, churches and welfare bodies to be brought up in institutions, fostered out or adopted by white families. The removal of Aboriginal children took place from the early days of British colonisation in Australia. It broke important cultural, spiritual and family ties and has left a lasting and intergenerational impact on the lives and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

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Related Organisations



  • Davey, Constance M, Children and their Law-Makers: A social-historical survey of the growth and development from 1836 to 1950 of South Australian Laws relating to children, Griffen Press, Adelaide, South Australia, 1956, 158 pp. Details
  • Dickey, Brian, Giving a hand: A history of Anglicare SA since 1860, Anglicare SA, Adelaide, 2003. Details
  • Haebich, Anna and Doreen Mellor, Many Voices: Reflections on Experiences of Indigenous Child Separation, National Library of Australia, 2002. Details
  • Hall, Andrew, We took the children: A brief history of the laws. Policies and practices in South Australia which led to the removal of many children, Department of Human Services, Adelaide, 1997. Details
  • Hollinsworth, David and Craig, Janet, Aboriginal Missions in South Australia, Nunkuwarrin Yunti of South Australia Inc., Adelaide, 2003. Details
  • Raynes, Cameron, The last protector: the illegal removal of Aboriginal children from their parents in South Australia, Wakefield Press, 2009. Details

Online Resources

Sources used to compile this entry: 'Stolen Generations', in Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander Studies [website],; Trevorrow v South Australia [No5] (2007); GRG 52/16 Minutes of the Aborigines Protection Board, State Records of SA.

Prepared by: Karen George