The first attempt to resettle returned soldiers on undeveloped land in South Australia occurred after World War I. While the state government was responsible for the administration of the scheme, the Commonwealth contributed funds for the purchase and development of land. The initial schemes coincided with the calamitous environmental and financial events of the 1920s and 1930s, and were generally considered a failure as a large percentage of the already traumatised and often ill-prepared soldier farmers were forced from their properties, crippled by debt and drought conditions. A 1927 federal inquiry into the failure of the schemes did not save these settlers, but may have served to inform the following program and another inquiry, for the settlement of soldiers returning from World War II.
In 1943, the Commonwealth formed the Rural Reconstruction Commission to administer a new scheme that would take into account the soldier's level of rural experience, provide better training and supply more adequate allotments of land. The South Australian Government administered the scheme under the War Service Land Settlement Agreement Act 1945, but the Commonwealth took greater control to secure its investment and the success of the scheme across the country.
Records relating to soldier settlement held by the Archives include correspondence and reports.
|SELECTED SERIES RELATING TO SOLDIER SETTLEMENT IN SOUTH AUSTRALIA|
|World War I
Recorded by: Repatriation Department/Commission
|Correspondence files relating to Land Settlement and Local Repatriation Boards, 1918–19||A2485|
|Correspondence files, 1919–29||A2487|
|Recorded by: Prime Minister's Department|
|Correspondence files, 1923–34||A458|
|World War II
Recorded by: Department of Commerce and Agriculture, Central Office
|Correspondence files, 'R' (research and reconstruction) series, 1943–52||A606|
|SELECTED ITEMS RELATING TO SOLDIER SETTLEMENT IN SOUTH AUSTRALIA|
|Soldier Land Settlement Loan Agreement between the Commonwealth and state governments, 1925–26||A11857, 22|
|Repatriation – original report by Mr Justice Pike, 1929||A458, T394/2 part 2|
|Soldier settlement, South Australia – general, 1945–53||A606, R2/5/1|