Other records of interest


The Sydney Benevolent Asylum was only one of a number of institutions which helped those who were incapable of supporting themselves due to age, infirmity or temporary distress. Most of these institutions had some Government involvement and any surviving records for them will therefore be found in the State archives collection held by State Archives and Records NSW.

Benevolent societies also operated in other areas of the colony. Mentions of their existence can often be found in local newspapers. Enquiries concerning surviving records should be directed, in the first instance, to an historical society in the area where it is known a Benevolent society operated.


Children in the Sydney Benevolent Asylum

Children admitted to the Sydney Benevolent Asylum were often transferred to the Randwick Asylum for Destitute Children (see below).

From 1883 onwards children could also be 'boarded out' - this is often indicated in the Notes field of our database as 'BO Officer'.  The records of this early form of fostering are known as the Dependent Children's Registers and are held with State Archives and Records NSW. There is no online index to them.


State Archives and Records NSW also has a comprehensive index to Child Welfare records on its website which you can search here. This covers


    Randwick Insitute for Destitute Children (1852-1915)

    Mittagong Farm home for Boys (1907-1921)

    Orphan School records (1817-1886)

    Industrial School records (1867-1942)


Ancestry.com.au has digitised records for Randwick Institute for Destitute Children on its 'pay to view' website and has also digitised some hospital and asylum records, including Liverpool Asylum.  Once Liverpool was resumed by the Government in 1862 all adult males who would previously have been sent to the Sydney Benevolent Asylum were instead sent immediately to Liverpool.  The Society of Australian Genealogists and many public libraries and other family history societies have subscriptions to Ancestry.com.au


After 1900

For a comprehensive listing of other homes and institutions where children could have been placed in substitute care after 1900, you can download the very comprehensive Connecting Kin guide from the Department of Community Services website.


Records for other colonies

Each colony had its own institution which cared for their needy. A good starting point for research will normally be the government archive for the relevant state. Refer to www.coraweb.com.au for links to other states.

The Society of Australian Genealogists also holds a number of Asylum registers for other states, as well as many resources which will help researchers follow through on leads they discover through this database. See www.sag.org.au for opening hours and to search the online library catalogue.