S. Fejo - Status of Adopted Children

National Archives of Australia Darwin Office 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 :- Johnny FEJO Father Nipper RANKIN Mother Flora Notes Mother died 1st March, 1946 at Katherine Hospital at the time of Johnny's birth. Sally Martha FEJO Father Toby COOPER Mother Mary 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 this office. 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 Branch. 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.