Without Consent: Australia’s past adoption practices

Through the contributions of people affected by Australia’s forced adoptions policies and practices, this exhibition explores what happens when social expectations, morality and authority collide.

It is estimated that 250,000 Australians were affected by the policies and practices of forced adoption, with most adoptions occurring between 1950 and 1975. The policies saw unmarried mothers forced, pressured or coerced to give up their children rather than bear the shame and social stigma of pregnancy and birth outside marriage. Such pregnancies were shrouded in secrecy and the mothers hidden away until the post-partum period, when they were expected to return home, forget about their babies and get on with their lives.

They did not forget.

Visit the Forced Adoptions website to learn more about the effects on mothers, fathers, adopted persons, and others within the family. The website was created by the National Archives of Australia to increase awareness and understanding of forced adoptions. It provides access to research, records and resources, and an opportunity for those affected to contribute their own experiences of forced adoption.

A national touring exhibition developed and presented by the National Archives of Australia. This project has been assisted by the Australian Government’s Visions of Australia program.


15 Mar 2018 - 12:00am to 12:00am


540 Kiewa Street, Albury NSW 2640
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