National Archives of Australia
Series A432 Item 1955/3798
S. Fejo - Status of Adopted Children
Copyright P J Mackett 2009
Letter received, Director of Welfare, N.T. Administration
Darwin. FEJO, ALICE.
I refer to your memorandum CX.28637 dated 18th March, 1955
regarding the War Pension Claim of the abovenamed, widow of Samuel
or Smiler Fejo and have to advise the following :-
Father Nipper RANKIN
Notes Mother died 1st March, 1946 at Katherine Hospital
at the time of Johnny's birth.
Sally Martha FEJO
Father Toby COOPER
Notes Mother died 7th April, 1949 at Darwin Hospital
at the time of Sally's birth.
Neither of the children were legally adopted by Samuel FEJO but
were taken under the control of Alice FEJO a few weeks after they
were born. Johnny's mother was Samuel's cousin and Sally's
mother was a cousin of Alice.
Since the death of Samuel, Alice and the children have lived at
the Aborigines Inland Mission, Retta Dixon Home, Bagot Settlement
where ALice is employed. Her wages do not cover the costs of
board and lodging for the whole family and a debit is being
incurred pending the decision regarding the eligibility for War Pension.
She receives 15/- per week Child Endowment which is paid through
Although Mrs FEJO has lived in the manner of a European for many
years, she is a full blood Aborigine and under tribal law she is
automatically responsible for the maintenance of the children.
It is a tribal custom on the death of the mother of a young
child, the care and maintenance of the child becomes the responsi-
bilityof the nearest female relative. No action is taken for
legal adoption but such custody is officially recognised by this
I should be pleased if you would advise me of the decision given
in this matter and the amount of pension which will be payable to
Mrs FEJO and the effective date of payment.
20. 4.1955 Office Note
Date of birth Johnny FEJO accepted for pension purposes as 1. 3.1945.
If pension is containued (sic) this aspect to be cleared up as date of
cancellation Section 39(1) is involved, in view of latest
disclosure of Johnny's date of birth.