Moving experiences of heartbreak and resilience, shared by people affected by Australia’s past adoption practices.
It is estimated that at least 150,000 adoptions took place in Australia from the 1950s to the 1970s. A significant number of them were forced adoptions. Many of the women who had their babies taken were unmarried and, because of the stigma attached to unmarried mothers at the time, were often forced to live a lie for decades. For some, it was a secret they took to their graves.
This exhibition was developed by the National Archives of Australia following former Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s national apology to those affected by forced adoptions. It aims to show the truth – that the babies taken for adoption were dearly loved and wanted by their parents.
The exhibition is a tribute to the courage and generosity of those who volunteered to share their experiences and, in doing so, exposed this aspect of Australia’s history.
View the exhibition companion website Forced Adoptions History Project, created by the National Archives of Australia to increase awareness and understanding of forced adoptions. Assisted by the Australian Government through Visions of Australia.
Image caption: A crèche in a large metropolitan hospital, 1953. NAA: A1200, L15676.
How do I get to the State Library by public transport?
The 'State Library, Art Gallery, Museum' tram-stop is just outside the State Library. There are bus stops close by near the War Memorial on North Terrace. The closest train station is the Adelaide city station on North Terrace.
You can plan your journey via Adelaide Metro.
Is there car parking near the State Library?
The nearest car park is Wilson's Adelaide Central car park, 225 North Terrace, next to David Jones.
There is paid metered street parking along Kintore Ave and Victoria Drive.
Where is the wheelchair and stroller access?
Access to the Spence Wing first floor and the Mortlock Chamber is via the lift in the glass foyer entrance of the library.
There is on-street disabled parking available in the nearby roads. View more information and maps of Adelaide City Council's Disability parking for permit holders.
How do I check if the Mortlock Chamber is open when I plan to visit?
You can visit the Mortlock Chamber on the ground floor to look at the exhibition bays. All upper levels of the Mortlock Wing will remain closed, including quiet study areas.
Is there a cafe at the State Library?
Yes, the State Library Cafe by St Raphaels located on the ground floor in the glass foyer, but for now the cafe will remain closed but keep an eye on our website and social media channels for the latest updates.