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If you know of another resource that you feel should be included on this reference list, please contact the project team.

Note: * denotes an item discussing overseas experiences or history.

  • Open Books


    Association of Relinquishing Mothers, Alternatives to adoption, WA: Association of Relinquishing Mothers (WA), 1989.


    Bowlby, J., Attachment, Attachment and Loss (vol. 1). London: Hogarth, 1969.


    Bowlby, R and King P., Fifty years of attachment theory: Recollections of Donald Winnicott and John Bowlby, London: Karnac Books, 2004.


    Brodzinsky, David M; Schechter, Marshall D, Henig and Robin Marantz, Being adopted: The lifelong search for self, New York: Anchor Books, 1993.


    Dowding, C, Shadows in Paradise: A memoir, Brisbane, Digital Publishing Centre, 2013. 


    Carp, E.W., Family matters: Secrecy and disclosure in the history of adoption, Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1998.


    Clapton, G. Birth Fathers and their Adoption Experiences, United Kingdom: Jessica Kingsley Publishers Ltd, 2003.


    Cole, C.A. (Ed), Releasing the past: Mothers’ stories of their stolen babies, Sydney: Sasko Veljanov, 2008.


    Coles, Gary, Disturbing Adoption: The Collected Pieces: Memerus Books, 2015.


    Coles, Gary, Made in Australia: The Adoption Apologies: Memerus Books, 2014.


    Coles, Gary, The invisible men of adoption, Australia: Mermerus Books, 2010.


    Dennis, Laura (ed.), Adoption Reunion in the Social Media Age, An Anthology, kindle edition, 2014. Available at


    Dessaix, Robert, A Mother’s Disgrace, Harper Collins, 1994.


    *Fessler, Ann, The girls who went away: The hidden history of women who surrendered children for adoption in the decades before Roe v. Wade, New York: Penguin Books, 2007.


    Frame, T, Binding ties: An experience of adoption and reunion in Australia, Alexandria, NSW: Hale & Iremonger, 1999.


    Glazebrook, C, Facing the Fears: A True Story of Self Discovery ...A search for identity after adoption, 2007.


    Georgeff, Diana, Delinquent Angel, Random House, 2007.


    Hale, M., Mothers in ARMS, Forced adoption - mothers find a voice. Wakefield Press (SA), 2014.


    Harkness, L, Looking for Lisa, Sydney: Random House Australia, 1991.


    Inglis, K., Living mistakes: Mothers who consented to adoption, North Sydney, NSW: Allen and Unwin, 1984.


    Jolliffe, Jill, Run For Your Life, Affirm Press, 2014.


    Jones, Rod, The Mothers, Text Publishing, 2015. Available at​.


    *Josephs, Ian, Forced Adoption, Lulu, 2008.


    *Kunzel, Regina G., Fallen women, problem girls: Unmarried mothers and the professionalization of social work, 1890-1945, New Haven: Yale University Press, 1993.


    Lucy, Judith, The Lucy Family Alphabet, Penguin Books, 2008


    McCalman, Janet, Sex and suffering: Women’s health and a women’s hospital, Melbourne University Press, Melbourne, 1998.


    McCutcheon, Sandy, The Magician’s Son, Penguin Books, 2005


    McEnor, Rohan, Rebecca's Law: Sojourn of a Stolen Father, Gosford: Fuzzcapp Publishing, nd.


    McGuire, Gabrielle, You Only Have One Mother, Springwood NSW, Conference Publications, 1998


    Marburg, M, Real parents: Confronting adoption issues, Doncaster, Vic: Windsor Scroll Publishing, 1998.


    Marshall, A. & McDonald, M., The many-sided triangle: Adoption in Australia, Carlton, Vic.: Melbourne University Press, 2001.


    Matthews, Gordon, An Australian Son, William Heinemann Australia, 1996.


    *Morlock, Maud; Campbell, Hilary; Hewell, Barbara, Maternity homes for unmarried mothers: A community service, Washington: US Government Print Office, 1946.  Available at


    Murray, Judith, The Womb of Compassion: One Mother's Journey through Adoption, CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2015. Available at​.


    *Nicholson, Jill, Mother and baby homes: a survey of homes for unmarried mothers, London: George Allen & Unwin Ltd, 1968.


    O'Shaughnessy, Tim, Adoption, social work and social theory: Making the connections, Aldershot: Avebury, 1994.


    Quartly, Marian, Swain, Shurlee and Cuthbert, Denise, The market in babies: Stories of Australian Adoption, Melbourne: Monash Press, 2013.


    Quirk, Christin A., Separated at Birth: Adoption practices in relation to single women confined at the Royal Women's Hospital 1945-1977, MPhil Thesis, Australian Catholic University, 2012.


    Raymond, Barbara Bisantz, The baby thief: The untold story of Georgia Tann, the baby seller who corrupted adoption, North Sydney, N.S.W. : Random House Australia, 2007.


    Robinson, Evelyn, Adoption and loss: The hidden grief, Christies Beach, Sth Aust:Clova Publications, 2000, 2003 (rev ed).


    Robinson, Evelyn, Adoption and recovery: Solving the mystery of reunion, Christies Beach, Sth Aust:Clova Publications, 2004.


    Robinson, Evelyn, Adoption reunion: Ecstasy or agony?, Christies Beach, Sth Aust:Clova Publications, 2009.


    Robinson, Evelyn, Adoption separation: Then and now, Christies Beach, Sth Aust:Clova Publications, 2010.


    *Society for Research on Women in New Zealand, The unmarried mother; problems involved in keeping her child: Case history studies, Johnsonville, Society for Research on Women in N.Z., 1970


    Spark, Ceridwen and Cuthbert, Denise (eds), Other people's children: adoption in Australia, Melbourne: Australian Scholarly Publishing, c2009


    Swain, P. & Swain, S. (eds), The search of self: The experience of access to adoption information, Sydney: Federation Press, 1992.


    Swain, S. & Howe, R., Single mothers and their children: Disposal, punishment and survival in Australia, Oakleigh, Vic: Cambridge University Press, 1995.


    Swain, S., A Refuge at Kildare: The History of the Geelong Female Refuge and Bethany Babies’ Home, Geelong, 1985.


    Watson, M., Surviving Secrets, NSW: A&A Book Publishing, 2010.


    Winkler, R., & van Keppel, M., Relinquishing mothers in adoption: Their long-term adjustment, (Monograph No. 3), Melbourne: Australian Institute of Family Studies, 1984.


    Winkler, R., Brown, D.W., van Keppel, M. & Blanchard, A., Clinical practice in adoption (Psychology Practitioner Guideline Books), Oxford: Pergamon, 1988.


    Winterson, Jeanette, Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?, Great Britain: Jonathan Cape, 2011.


    Verrier, Nancy, The primal wound: Understanding the adopted child, Baltimore: Gateway Press, 1993.


    Verrier, Nancy, The adopted child grows up: coming home to self, Gateway Press, 2003.

  • Open Conferences

    Proceedings of the first Australian conference on adoption, 15-20 February, 1976, University of New South Wales, edited by C Picton, Committee of the First Australian Conference on Adoption, 1976.


    Proceedings of the second Australian conference on adoption: Current concerns and alternatives for child placement and parenting, May 1978, Melbourne, edited by C Picton, Committee of the First Australian Conference on Adoption, Feb 1979.


    Changing families: Proceedings of the third Australian conference on adoption, 15-18 May, Adelaide, 1982, edited by R Oxenberry, Department of Continuing Education, University of Adelaide for the Organising Committee, 1982.


    Working together in the 1990s: Proceedings of the fourth Australian conference on adoption, 5-7 October, Canberra, 1990, Adoptive Parents Association, Canberra, 1992.


    Has adoption a future?: Proceedings of the fifth Australian conference on adoption, 29-31 August, 1994, Sydney, Post Adoption Resource Centre (The Benevolent Society), Sydney, 1995 


    Separation, reunion, reconciliation: Proceedings of the sixth Australian conference on adoption, 13-15 June, 1997, Brisbane, Janice Benson for the Committee of the Sixth Australian Conference on Adoption, 1997.


    People, perspective, practices: 10th Australian Adoption Conference, Melbourne, Oct 2012.

  • Open Reports

    Bowlby, John, Maternal care and mental health: A report prepared on behalf of the World Health Organization as a contribution to the United Nations programme for the welfare of homeless children, World Health Organisation, Geneva, 1952.


    Higgins, Daryl, Impact of past adoption practices: Summary of key issues from Australian research, Australian Institute of Family Studies, Canberra, 2010.


    Kenny, Pauline, Higgins, Daryl, Soloff, Carol and Sweid, Reem, Past adoption experiences: National Research Study on the Service Response to Past Adoption Practices, Melbourne: Australian Institute of Family Studies, 2012, 


    *Shaw, Tom, Historical abuse systemic review: Residential schools and children’s homes in Scotland 1950 to 1995,

  • Open Journals

    The Australian Journal of Adoption,


    Social Policy and Society, 11 (3), 2012, Themed Section on Waiting for a Better World: Critical and Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Intercountry Adoption.


    Australian Journal of Social Work, 20 (1), 1967.  Special Issue: Aspects of Adoption Practice.

  • Open Journal articles

    Andrews, Isabel, Secondary Infertility and Birth Mothers, Psychoanalytic Inquiry, 30 (1), January-February 2010, p80-93


    Australian Association of Social Workers, Submission on fatherless children to the Minister for Social Services, Australian Journal of Social Work, 20 (2), 1967, p20-22.


    Bretherton, I, The Origins of Attachment Theory: John Bowlby and Mary Ainsworth, Developmental Psychology, 28 (5), 1992, p 759-775.


    Condon, J.T., Psychological disability in women who relinquish a baby for adoption, Medical Journal of Australia, 144, 1986, p117 – 119.


    Cuthbert, Denise; Quartly, Marian; Lothian, Kathy and Pollard, Amy, “Forced adoption” in the Australian story of national regret and apology, Australian Journal of Politics and History, 58 (1), 2012, p82-96.


    Cuthbert, Denise and Quartly, Marian, Forced child removal and the politics of national apologies in Australia, American Indian Quarterly, 37 (1/2), Winter/Spring 2013, p178-202.


    Cuthbert, Denise and Quartly, Marian, Adoption, fostering, permanent care and beyond: Rethinking policy and practice on out-of-home care for children in Australia, Children Australia, 35 (2), 2012, p2-5.


    Dewdney, Micheline S., A brief review of adoption research in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom, 1948-1965, Australian Journal of Social Work, 20 (2), 1967, p13-17.


    Field, J, Psychological adjustment of relinquishing mothers before and after reunion with their children, Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 26(20), 1992, p232-241.


    Fogarty, John F, Some aspects of the early history of child protection in Australia, Family Matters, vol78, 2008.


    Gair, S, The psychic disequilibrium of adoption: Stories exploring links between adoption and suicidal thoughts and actions, Australian e-Journal for the Advancement of Mental Health, 7(3), 2008, p1-10.


    Goodwach, R, Does reunion cure adoption?, Australian and New Zealand Journal of Family Therapy, 22 (2), 2011, p73-79.


    Grunseit, F, The adoption of infants and the role of an adoption advisory clinic in New South Wales, The Medical Journal of Australia, 1 (17), 1973, p851-8.


    Harper, Juliet, Reflections on entitlement to a child in Australian women’s journals, 1947-1987, Children Australia, 15 (4), 1990, p8-12.


    Hambly, David, Adoption of Children: An Appraisal of the Uniform Acts, University of Western Australia Law Review, 8 (3), 1968, p281-318.


    Higgins, D.J., Current trauma: The impact of adoption practices up to the early 1970s, Family Relationships Quarterly, 19, 2011, p6-9.


    Higgins, D.J., Protecting children: Evolving systems, Family Matters, 89, 2011, p5-10.


    Higgins, D.J., Unfit mothers….unjust practices? Key issues from Australian research on the impact of past adoption practices, Family Matters, 87, 2011, p56-67.​ 


    Isbister, Clair, The adopted child and his parents, Medical Journal of Australia, 1, 1973, p1158-1161.


    *Iwanek, M, Healing history: The story of adoption in New Zealand, Social Work Now, 8, 1997, p13-17.


    Jones, C, Adoption: A study of post-war child removal in New South Wales, Journal of the Royal Australian Historical Society, 86 (1), 2000, p51-64.


    Kraus, John, Historical context of the adoption ‘crisis’ in New South Wales, Australian Social Work, 29 (4), 1976, p 19-25.


    Lawson, D.F., The R.H. Fetherston Memorial Lecture: The Anxieties of Pregnancy, The Medical Journal of Australia, 30 July, 1960, p164-166.


    Murphy, Kate, Quartly, Marian and Cuthbert, Denise, “In the best interests of the child”: Mapping the (re)emergence of pro-adoption politics in contemporary Australia, Australian Journal of Politics and History, 55 (2), 2009, p201-218.


    Musgrove, N. and Swain, S. The "best interests of the child" in historical perspective, Children Australia, 35 (2), 2010, pp. 35-7.


    O’Collins, Maev, Some aspects of research in the field of adoption, Australian Journal of Social Work, 19 (1), 1966, p2-6.


    Quartly, Marian, We find families for children, not children for families; An incident in the long and unhappy history of relations between social workers and adoptive parents, Social Policy and Society, 11 (3), 2012, pp. 415-427.


    Roberts, Pamela, The hospital’s responsibility to the unmarried mother and her child, Hospital Administration (Australian Institute of Hospital Administrator’s journal), 16 (12), p10-13.


    Ryburn, Murray, Secrecy and openness in adoption: An historical perspective, Social Policy and Administration, 29 (2), 1995, p150-168.


    Stoneman, A. H., Adoption of Illegitimate Children: The Peril of Ignorance, Child Welfare League of America Bulletin, 5, Feb 1926, p8.


    Swain, Shurlee, "Homes are Sought for these Children": Locating Adoption within the Australian Stolen Generations Narrative,  American Indian Quarterly, 37 (1-2), 2013, pp203-17.


    Swain, Shurlee, Adoption, secrecy and the spectre of the true mother in twentieth-century Australia, Australian Feminist Studies, 26 (68), 2011, p193-205.


    Swain, Shurlee, Market forces: Defining the adoptable child, 1860-1940, Social Policy and Society, 11 (4), 2012, p399-414.


    Taft, M.S., Dreyfus, F.K., Quartly, M., Cuthbert, D.M., 2013, 'I knew who I was not, but not who I was'. Public storytelling in the lives of Australian adoptees, Oral History [P], vol 41, issue 1, Oral History Society University of London, UK, pp. 73-83.


    Wiles, Helen B., The adopted child and his parents, Medical Journal of Australia, 2 (2), 1973, p94.


    Willing, I., Fronek, P., and Cuthbert, D., ‘Review of Sociological Literature on Intercountry Adoption’, Social Policy and Society (2012) 11, 4: pp 241 – 256, Special issue: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Intercountry Adoption: History, Policy, Future Directions.

  • Open Inquiries and reviews

    Human Rights Commission, Review of the ACT Adoption of Children Ordinance, 1965, 1986, Canberra.


    Community Affairs References Committee, Commonwealth Contribution to Former Forced Adoption Policies and Practices, February 2012, Canberra.


    Standing Committee on Social Issues, Report on Adoption Practices: Second Interim Report: Transcripts of Evidence, June-October 1999, New South Wales Legislative Council, Sydney, 23.


    Parliament of Tasmania Joint Select Committee, Adoption and related services 1950-1988, Hobart, 1999.​


    NSW Legislative Council Standing Committee on Social Issues, Releasing the past: Adoption practices 1950-1998, Final Report    Dec 2000, Parliamentary paper number 600, Government Printer, Sydney.


    Parliament of Australia Senate Community Affairs Committee, Forgotten Australians: A report on Australians who experienced institutional or out-of-home care as children, 2004.


    Australian House of Representatives Standing Committee on Family and Human Services, Overseas adoption in Australia: Report on the inquiry into adoption of children from overseas, 2005.

  • Open Magazine articles

    Letters from our readers: Sympathiser, The Australian Women’s Weekly, 7 September, 1955, p10.


    Letters from our readers: Unmarried mothers, The Australian Women’s Weekly, 26 October 1955, p10.


    Founding a family, The Australian Women’s Weekly, 8 May, 1957, p34.


    Letters from our readers, The Australian Women’s Weekly, 27 Dec, 1961, p32S.


    Letters from our readers, The Australian Women’s Weekly, 24 January, 1962, p22.

  • Open TV and Radio

    7.30, Adoption needs overhaul or abandoning say people adopted as children, 2015,  ABC


    American Broadcasting Corporation, 1965, Unwed Mother,


    Four Corners, Child of the Single Mother, 1970, ABC


    Sharley, Ann and da Rimini, Francesca, Bitter Surrender, c1989, Australian Film Institute


    Berman, Karen, Gone to a Good Home, 2005, Film Australia.


    Tangled Web: The Silence of Consent, 2010, Radio broadcast: ABC Hindsight.


    Can We Help?, ABC, final episode screened on Saturday 25 June 2011 after five years.           


    Four Corners, Given or Taken, 27 Feb, 2012, ABC1


    Lateline, ABC, St Vincent de Paul assisted in adoptions, broadcast on 21 March, 2013.

  • Open Websites

    Monash History of Adoption Project


    Find and Connect