Skip to content | Skip to document navigation

Research Guides


Commonwealth Government Records about South Australia


Soldier settlement

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
Canberra
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
Canberra
Recorded by: Prime Minister's Department
Correspondence files, 1923–34 A458
Canberra
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
Canberra
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

TOP OF PAGE

Chapter 6
Defence