Publications Related to the History of Adoption Project

These articles and book chapters were produced by researchers associated with the History of Adoption project. They are grouped by subject matter.


Cuthbert, D. 2010. ‘Beyond apologies: Historical reflections on policy and practice relating to the out-of-home care of children in contemporary Australia’. Children Australia, 35 (2): 12–17.

Cuthbert, D., Murphy K., Quartly, M. 2009. ‘Adoption and feminism: Towards framing a feminist response to contemporary developments in adoption’. Australian Feminist Studies 24, issue 62: 395–419.

Cuthbert, D., Quartly, M. (eds). 2010. Adoption, Fostering, Permanent Care and Beyond: Re-Thinking Policy and Practice in Out-of-home Care for Children in Australia. Special issue of Children Australia, 35.2.

Cuthbert, D., Quartly, M. 2012. ‘“Forced adoption” in the Australian story of national regret and apology’. Australian Journal of Politics and History 58: 82–96.

Cuthbert, D., Quartly, M. 2013. ‘Forced Child Removal and the Politics of National Apologies in Australia’. American Indian Quarterly 37.

Howe, R, Swain, S. 1993. The Challenge of the City: The Centenary History of Wesley Central Mission. Melbourne: Hyland House.

Murphy, K., Quartly, M., Cuthbert, D. 2009. ‘“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: 201–218.

Musgrove N., Swain, S. 2010The “Best Interests of the Child” in Historical Perspective’. Children Australia 35.2: 35–37.

Quartly, M. 2010.The “Rights of the Child” in global perspective’. Adoption, Fostering, ChildrenAustralia 35.2: 38–42.

Quartly, M. 2012. ‘“[W]e 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: 415–427.

Quartly, M., Cuthbert, D., Murphy, K., 2009.Political representations of adoption in Australia, 1996–2007.” Adoption and Culture 2: 141–158.

Quartly, M., Cuthbert, D., Swain, S. 2012. ‘A report on the findings of the Monash History of Adoption project.” Australian Journal of Adoption 6 (12): n. p. (Papers of the 10th Australian Adoption Conference). At

Quartly, M., Swain, S. 2012. “The market in children: analysing the language of adoption in Australia.” History Australia, 9 (2): 69–89.

Spark, C., Cuthbert, D. 2009. Other People’s Children: Adoption in Australia. Melbourne: Australian Scholarly Publishing.

Swain, P., Swain, S. 1992. To Search for Self: The Experience of Access to Adoption Information. Sydney: Federation Press.

Swain, S. 2010. ‘Birth and death in a new land’. History of the Family 15 (1): 25–33.

Swain, S. 2011. ‘Adoption, secrecy and the spectre of the true mother in twentieth-century Australia.’ Australian Feminist Studies 26:68: 193–205.

Swain, S. 2011. “Failing families: Echoes of nineteenth century child rescue discourse in contemporary debates around child protection.” In Marie-Louise Kulke and Christian Gutlebon (eds), Neo-Victorian Families: Gender, Sexual and Cultural Politics, 71−91. Netherlands: Rodopi.

Swain, S. 2010. ‘Australia’. In Brigitte Bechtold and Donna Cooper Graves (eds). An Encyclopedia of Infanticide, 24−27. Lewiston: The Edwin Mellen Press.

Swain, S. 2012. ‘Market forces: Defining the adoptable child, 1860–1940’. Social Policy and Society 11.3: 399–414.

Swain, S. 2012. ‘Snapshots from the long history of adoption in Australia’. Australian Journal of Adoption 6 (12): n. pag. (Papers of the 10th Australian Adoption Conference.) At:

Swain, S., Howe, R. 1995. Single Mothers and Their Children: Disposal, Punishment and Survival in Australia. Melbourne: Cambridge University Press.

Swain, S., Hillel, M. 2010. Child, nation, race and empire: Child rescue discourse, England, Canada and Australia, 1850–1915. Manchester: Manchester University Press.

Studies of Indigenous Adoption

Cuthbert, D. 2001. ‘Holding the baby: Questions arising from research into the experiences of non-Aboriginal adoptive and foster mothers of Aboriginal children’. Social Semiotics 11 (2): 139–154.

Cuthbert, D. 2001. ‘Stolen children, invisible mothers and unspeakable stories: The experiences of non-Aboriginal adoptive and foster mothers of Aboriginal children’. Social Semiotics 11 (2): 139–154.

Cuthbert, D. 2000. ‘Mothering the ‘other’: Feminism, colonialism and the experiences of non-adoptive mothers of Aboriginal children’. Balayi : Culture, Law and Colonialism 1 (1): 31–49.

Swain, S. 2013. “‘Homes are sought for these children’. Locating Adoption Within the Australian Stolen Generations Narrative.” American Indian Quarterly 37.

Studies of Inter-Country Adoption

Cuthbert, D. (ed). 2012. The Vietnam Inheritance. Special issue of Journal of Australian Studies 36 (4). 

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

Cuthbert, D., Swain, S. Quartly, M. 2010. ‘Interdisciplinary perspectives on intercountry adoption in Australia’ (Workshop summary). At

Cuthbert, D., Spark, C., Murphy K. 2010. ‘“That was then, but this is now”. Historical perspectives on intercountry and domestic child adoption in Australian public policy’. Journal of Historical Sociology 23 (3): 427–452.

Forkert, J. 2012.Refugees, orphans and a basket of cats: the politics of Operation Babylift.” In Denise Cuthbert (ed), The Vietnam Inheritance. Special issue of Journal of Australian Studies 36 (4): 427–444.

Fronek, P., Cuthbert D. 2012. ‘History repeating . . . Disaster-related intercountry adoption and the psychosocial care of children’. Social Policy and Society 11(3): 429–442.

Fronek, P., Cuthbert, D. 2012. ‘The future of inter-country adoption: A paradigm shift for this century.” International Journal of Social Welfare 21(2): 215–224.

Murphy, K., Pinto, S., Cuthbert, D. 2010. ‘“These infants are future Australians”: Making the nation through intercountry adoption.” Journal of Australian Studies 34(2): 141–161.

Taft, M., Dreyfus, K., Quartly M., Cuthbert., D. Spring 2013 ‘“I knew who I was not, but not who I was”. Public storytelling in the lives of Australian adoptees’. Oral History (UK) 41(1): 73–83.

Willing, I., Fronek P., Cuthbert. D. 2012. Social Policy and Society ‘Review of sociological literature on intercountry adoption’ 11(3): 465–479.