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Commonwealth Government Records about the Northern Territory


Child welfare – the State Children's Council

Child welfare services were implemented through the Northern Territory State Children's Council established in 1930 under the South Australian State Children's Act 1895. It had responsibility for the care, management and control of State children and their property, including their apprenticeship, placement and attendance at school until 13 years.

A 'state child' included a destitute child, neglected child, convicted child, or any child received into an institution to be apprenticed or placed out. (Various pieces of South Australian legislation continued to apply in the Northern Territory until they were repealed or superseded.)

The first members were appointed to the Council by the Governor-General in March 1930. The Council went into recess in 1942 with the evacuation of the Northern Territory Administration and was then reconvened in 1950 in response to the number of children in distressed circumstances in the Darwin area. The Northern Territory Administration provided administrative support to the Council.

The Northern Territory Child Welfare Ordinance 1958 replaced the previous South Australian legislation, and full responsibility for child welfare was transferred to the Welfare Branch in February 1959 when the Ordinance came into force. The State Children's Council was replaced by the Child Welfare Advisory Council.

The State Children's Council dealt with a range of sensitive family issues. As such, access to the records relating to the Council's activities is strictly regulated.

Selected records relating to the State Children's Council
National Archives, Canberra
State Children's Council – appointments of members and secretary, Northern Territory, 1930–53 A452, 1951/1793
National Archives, Darwin
State Children's Council, 1936–53 F1, 1950/402 parts 1 and 2
State Children's Council, 1947–62 E743, U51
State Children's Council – minutes of meetings, 1950–54 F1, 1952/1037
State Children's Council – annual reports, 1951–56 F1, 1952/1038
State Children's Council – appointments and terminations, 1952–56 F1, 1952/644
State Children's Council – minutes of meetings, 1954–58 F1, 1955/626
State Children's Council – annual reports, 1955–59 F1, 1956/2168
State Children's Council – minutes of meetings, 1956–58 E744, 2
State Children's Council – appointments and terminations, 1957–59 F1, 1957/494
State Children's Council – minutes of meetings, 1958 F1, 1958/85
Child Welfare and State Children's Council, 1961–73 E242, K40/6/1 parts 1 and 2

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Chapter 8
Aboriginal People of the Northern Territory