An estimated 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 National Archives' Forced adoptions website to learn more.
This project has been assisted by the Australian Government’s Visions of Australia and the Department of Social Services.