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Tasmania - Glossary Term

Illegitimate (c. 1860 - c. 1975)

c. 1860
c. 1975

Illegitimate was a term used in the past to describe children born to single mothers.


Illegitimate replaced the even more pejorative 'bastard'.

The social stigma attached to illegitimate children meant that many mothers relinquished or were forced to relinquish them. By 1974, the stigma had less force. This was reflected in the 1974 Tasmanian Status of Children Act which provided that all children were equal before the law irrespective of the marital status of their mothers.

Prepared by: Caroline Evans