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Research Guides

Commonwealth Government Records about South Australia

War service homes and war loans

The War Service Homes Commission was established under the War Service Homes Act 1918 to enable ex-members of the forces who saw active service outside Australia to secure loans for the provision of homes. It was primarily a business undertaking designed for the purpose of assisting eligible people to obtain loans for the erection or acquisition of homes on easy repayment terms.

Prior to the establishment of the South Australian branch of the commission in 1934, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (1919–22) and State Bank of South Australia (1922–34) administered the War Service Homes Scheme. The War Service Homes (South Australia) Agreement Act 1934 resulted in the establishment of the South Australian Branch Office of the War Service Homes Commission.

In 1947 War Service Homes Commission staff joined the Commonwealth Public Service, and became a division of the Department of Works and Housing under the Director of War Service Homes. At the regional level, the War Service Homes Commission, South Australian Branch became the War Service Homes Division, South Australia.

Through the War Service Homes Division, returned servicemen were able to apply for government assistance to finance approved plans and specifications for houses. The houses were usually conventional in style, and were designed by the War Service Homes Division or private architects. War service homes were built in large numbers in Adelaide suburbs such as Plympton, Blair Athol and Glenelg North.

The Commonwealth Loans Organisation was originally formed in 1940 to encourage investment in war loans. A branch office was in existence in South Australia by 1944. In 1949 the National Savings Plan Office was added to the duties of the organisation.

The Commonwealth Loans Organisation played a prominent part in the organisation and administration of the recruiting campaign that was the result of the Commonwealth's involvement in the Korea and Malaya campaigns.

Records held by the Archives that relate to war service homes and war loans include bank ledgers, correspondence, construction files, personal files, photographs and publicity material.

Recorded by: State Bank of South Australia/War Service Homes Commission, South Australian Branch
State Bank ledgers (closed and current accounts), 1921–34 AP162/1
General correspondence files, 1934–68 AP665/1
Canberra and Sydney
Recorded by: War Service Homes Commission/War Service Homes Division, South Australia
Correspondence files, 1934–71 D107
Delegations and documents relating to the purchase of land, 1934–87 A12976
Construction and contract sub-files, 1945– D1217
General correspondence files, 1936–66 AP1070/1
General and policy files, 1934–73 AP901/1
Construction and contract material, 1957–60 AT265/2
Applicants' building and contract files, 1961–63 AT350/2
Applicants' personal files, 1968 AT945/3
Sydney and Adelaide
Recorded by: Commonwealth Loans Organisation, South Australia
Newspaper cuttings and publicity material, 1944–74 D4029
Public relations photographs, 1957 AP1186/2
National Savings Group advertising material, 1961 AP1038/2
Photographs of war loan fundraising events and state capital works, 1944–65 D4031


Chapter 6