The Adoption of Children Act Amendment Act 1921 (1921/009 (12 Geo. V No.9)) commenced on 8 November 1921. It made the adopted child's birth surname secret.
In the original Act of 1896 the adopted child's legal name included both the surname that was registered at the time of their birth (their 'proper name') and the surname that was registered at the time of their adoption. This meant that people who had been adopted as children could be fairly easily 'found' by any member of the public.
The 1921 amendments expressly stated that the child's birth surname should be omitted from their new legal name, and the records that contained the birth surname could not be inspected without 'some reasonable and proper purpose' and the written permission of the Master of the Supreme Court.
Sources used to compile this entry: History of Adoption Project: Western Australian Holdings [website], 2011, http://artsonline.monash.edu.au/historyofadoption/; Law Research Service, Melbourne Law School, Law Library, The University of Melbourne. 'Find and Connect Project - Western Australia Legislation', 13 December 2013, held in the project files at the University of Melbourne eScholarship Research Centre.
Prepared by: Debra Rosser
Created: 24 June 2012, Last modified: 16 October 2018