Did your ancestor own land in New South Wales, Australia, in the early 20th century? These land transfer records can help you determine the property dealings of your New South Wales ancestors. See if they were involved in transferring land ownership and uncover details of their property and its location. These records also include files relating to returned servicemen from the First World War who took part in the soldier settlement scheme.
Each record includes a transcript. The amount of information listed varies widely, but the records may include the following information about your ancestor:
Residence of owner
Their settlement purchase number
Their settlement purchase area
Their farm number
Parish and county
File or transfer number
The New South Wales, Closer Settlement and Returned Soldiers Transfer Files are compiled from an index of records relating to the transfer of land ownership in New South Wales, Australia. Some of the individuals listed on these files were returned soldiers who had served in the First World War.
The transfer files included in this collection include information about transfers of land that was originally obtained under the Closer Settlement and Returned Soldiers schemes in the early 20th century.
These records include details about the landowner’s residence and property, as well as the beginning and end date of the transfer.
Note that the name listed may be that of either the person who transferred the land, or the one to whom the land was transferred.
In 1907, the New South Wales state government passed the Closer Settlement (Amendment) Act 1907 in order to reform land holdings. This legislation made it necessary to establish a branch specialising in land transfers, through sale, gift, transfer to joint names, mortgage or discharge of mortgage alike. As such, the Closer Settlement Branch of the Department of Lands was established in 1908. This agency worked in collaboration with various advisory boards that dealt with land value and use.
These transfer records may include land that was originally obtained from as early as 1901, under the Closer Settlement Acts of 1901 and 1904, through to the First World War The Returned Soldiers Settlement Act 1916.
During World War One, the Australian government cooperated with the various state governments to recognise soldiers returning from the war front for their service and provide them with support in the form of land for farming.
The Commonwealth Government took responsibility for selecting and acquiring Crown land to sell or lease to the returned servicemen – although additional land was also obtained for the purpose – while every state government processed applications and granted allotments of land in their own state.
The state government in New South Wales introduced the Returned Soldiers Settlement Act 1916, which made soldiers who had served overseas and been honourably discharged eligible to apply for an allotment of land. In 1917, an amendment to this legislation meant that soldiers who had not enlisted in Australia and had not served overseas were also included in the scheme.
The returned soldiers pursued poultry farming, fruit farming, pig farming, horticulture, market gardening, and other agricultural industries, and settled in various regions around the state. Project areas included regions as far afield as Dorrigo, Griffith, Glen Innes and Batlow, and even metropolitan areas in Sydney such as Bankstown and Seven Hills.