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Research Guides


Commonwealth Government Records about South Australia


Veterans of World War I

The delivery of services to World War I veterans in South Australia was the responsibility of the Deputy Comptroller of Repatriation, Adelaide – an office within the Repatriation Department formed in 1917. The department had several important roles, including managing pensions for the disabled and those no longer able to support themselves, and for dependants of those who died; establishing employment bureaus, and providing vocational and rehabilitation training for returned service personnel; providing free medical and hospital care for all veterans; and providing accommodation in hostels and homes, and other specialised services for the totally and permanently incapacitated.

Almost 30,000 South Australians served overseas during World War I and more than 5000 died. Many survivors suffered from wounds and illness, and required long-term medical care and welfare benefits on a scale never before encountered.

By 1938 there were 77,000 incapacitated soldiers and 180,000 dependants still on pensions across Australia. War pensions had cost Australia nearly £148 million and another £8.57 million in medical care. In addition, there were 1600 men still in hostels and homes for the permanently incapacitated, and approximately 23,000 outpatients in repatriation hospitals.

World War I veteran case files document the Commonwealth Government's treatment of veterans in the years following the war. They illustrate the types of injury suffered by veterans and may include references to gassing or conditions such as 'shell-shock'.

SELECTED SERIES RELATING TO VETERANS OF WORLD WAR I IN SOUTH AUSTRALIA
Sydney
Recorded by: Deputy Comptroller of Repatriation, Adelaide
Ex-servicemen's personal files, 1914–18 AP840/1
Service documents (World War I), 1918–19 D2371
Sydney
Recorded by: Deputy Commissioner of Repatriation, South Australia
Personal case files (World War I), 1956–2012 (c.1920–2012) D363
Sydney
Recorded by: Repatriation Department
Personal case files, 1915– B6691
Sydney
Recorded by: Old Contemptibles' Association, South Australian Branch
Miscellaneous records relating to the Old Contemptibles' Association, South Australian Branch, 1926–81 D3747
Melbourne
Recorded by: War Service Homes Commission
South Australian general ledger, 1925–34 D2713

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Chapter 6
Defence