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Index to orphan schools records

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This index covers 1817-1886 and contains over 4400 entries. It was compiled from a number of different record series covering three institutions: Female Orphan School, Male Orphan School and the Protestant Orphan School. This index is now part of the Child Care and Protection Index.

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About the Index

Many of the orphan school record series included in this online index were indexed by State Records volunteers.  NRS 798 Indentures of Apprentices was indexed by the late Joan Reese.  State Records wish to thank all parties for their work in this project.

Records series used to compile the index

NRS 798, Indentures of Apprenticeship 1822-33, [4/390] Reel 1484 
NRS 798 [4/390 No. 21]These are formal agreements between the legal guardians of the apprentice and his or her prospective master or mistress. The indentures bind the apprentice for a stipulated term to dwell and "well and faithfully serve" the master/mistress. The Indenture form/certificate provides the child’s name and age, the name of the employer and the trade to which they are to be apprenticed. The trade on some indentures has been left blank. Apprenticeships for some of the following occupations are included: servant, seaman, bricklayer, cabinetmaker, draftsman, baker, gardener, schoolmaster, shoemaker, potter and pipe maker.  All of the indentures concern children in the care of the Male or Female Orphan Schools.

NRS 793, Female Orphan School Admission Books, 1817-32, [Items 1-2], Reels 2777 and 1477
This records the names of children admitted, age, admission date, time of leaving (if given), parents' name.
Note: Not all entries in the original volume are complete, therefore there may be some blank columns in this index.

NRS 782, Applications for admission into the Orphan Schools, 1825-33, [Items 1-3], Reel 2776

NRS 783, Applications for children out of the Orphan Schools, 1825-33, [Item 1], Reels 2776-77

NRS 796, Male Orphan School Admission books, 1819-47, [Items 1-2], Fiche 3307, Reel 2777

NRS 898, Colonial Secretary, Special Bundle List of 117 boys received into the Male Orphan Institution 1818-24, [4/7208], Fiche 3307, Reel 1477

NRS 12266, Protestant Orphan School Admission Book (Female) 1827-86, [4/10585], Photocopy COD 506

Protestant Orphan School Admission book (Male) 30 Apr 1850-31 Aug 1886, [4/10786], Reel 3702

Historical background

Female Orphan School, 1801-50

The Female Orphan School was established by Governor King to house destitute young girls.  The were taught domestic skills along with reading and writing.  In 1804 the School moved to Cabramatta and then to Rydalmere in 1818.

Male Orphan School, 1819-50

The Male Orphan School was established by Governor Macquarie in 1819 to house destitute boys aged between seven and ten.  The boys were given a basic education and later, farm skills.  In 1823 the School relocated to Cabramatta to premises on land previously occupied by the Female Orphan School.  The School closed on 30 April 1850.

Protestant Orphan School, 1850-86

In 1850 the Female and Male Orphan Schools amalgamated to become the Protestant Orphan School in Arthur's Hill (later Rydalmere).  It was government funded and started boarding out suitable children in 1879.  The School closed on 30 September 1886.


Accessing the records

Microfilm copies of the records can be viewed in our reading room.

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