Jul 7, 2023

Free Online Resource Helps Australian Aboriginal Families Trace Links With WA Orphanages and Missions

New online database provides information about hundreds of Aboriginal children placed in Perth institutions from 1868 to 1920 

Database launched during NAIDOC Week 

Aboriginal History WA is dedicated to helping families trace their ancestral histories   

A free online resource will help Aboriginal families establish links to children sent to Perth orphanages and missions from 1868 to 1920. 

The Perth and Swan Orphanages and Mission Index is a searchable database holding information on children admitted to four institutions located in Perth and the Swan Valley.

Over the course of almost 50 years, about 300 children were removed from their families and placed within these institutions.

In Western Australia the practice of forced separation of Aboriginal children from their families began in the 1830s and was only stopped in the 1970s. 

Over this period, a framework of laws, practices and policies existed that saw as many as a third of Aboriginal children removed from their families – some were as young as two years old. These practices resulted in what is now known as the Stolen Generations. 

The Perth and Swan Orphanages and Mission Index is an initiative of the Department of Local Government Sport and Cultural Industries’ (DLGSC) Aboriginal History WA unit (AHWA).

It has been painstakingly compiled from a range of historical sources including admission registers, microfilms, historical departmental files, death and burial records, and newspapers. It adds significantly to those records already made available by AHWA.

AHWA is dedicated to helping Aboriginal Western Australians trace their family histories through the provision of information and production of comprehensive genealogies. 

For more information, and to access the Perth and Swan Orphanages Mission Index, visit