Finding adoption records

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander family history research

Start your adoption search by applying to Adoption Services Queensland to see whether identifying information on the adoption is available. The process is free for clients of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander descent and those on certain types of Centrelink benefits. Other relatives such as spouse, parent, sibling or adult child can apply for identifying information under some circumstances.

Prior to 1991 in Queensland, biological parents arranging for the legal adoption of their child could lodge an 'objection to the disclosure of identifying information'. This effectively prevented the adopted child from discovering the names of their biological parents, and was legally binding even after the death of the biological parents. The Adoption Act 2009 (Qld.) no longer allows 'objections to the disclosure of identifying information' to be lodged but adopted people and birth parents still have the right to not be contacted. For more information see Adoption Services guide to who can access information.

Identifying information includes the adopted person's full name at time of adoption, information about the birth mother and birth father, if known, and any adopted siblings. Documentation usually includes a copy of your original birth certificate, recording the name of your biological mother and possibly your biological father.

National Archives of Australia has created an index of names that appear in records relevant to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and their history, as the result of a recommendation in Bringing Them Home, the report of the National inquiry into the separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families, released in 1997. You can find more about the index in National Archives of Australia's Fact Sheet 175 – Bringing Them Home name index

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