Did your New South Wales ancestor serve in World War One and become a soldier settler? Find out if the returned serviceman on your family tree took part in the New South Wales soldier settlement scheme and applied to show their eligibility for land. Discover their address and glean details about their post-war financial history.
Each record includes a transcript. The amount of information listed varies widely, but New South Wales, Returned Soldier Settlement Miscellaneous Files 1916-1939 may include the following information about your ancestor:
Class of holding
Date of decision
The New South Wales, Returned Soldier Settlement Miscellaneous Files 1916-1939 were transcribed from records relating to ex-servicemen’s applications for financial assistance as part of a soldier settlement scheme following the First World War.
These records were indexed, by volunteers from the State Records Authority of New South Wales, from two boxes of qualification certificates. Qualification certificates were completed by returned soldiers when they were applying for land, in order to declare their status as an ex-serviceman and show that they were eligible for land according to the New South Wales soldier settlement scheme.
This certificate would then be presented to the Returned Soldiers' Classification Committee, before being sent, along with the returned soldier’s application, to the Local Land Board to be processed.
The New South Wales, Returned Soldier Settlement Miscellaneous Files 1916-1939 index reveals the address and district of returned servicemen’s property. It also lists their ‘class of holding’. This refers to the different types of tenure available under the New South Wales soldier settlement scheme, which included Homestead Farms, Suburban Holdings, Crown Leases or Returned Soldiers Special Holdings.
Soldier settlement schemes were introduced around Australia, using land selected and acquired by the Commonwealth (or national) Government to sell or lease to returned servicemen. Each state government administered its own scheme. In New South Wales, the soldier settlement scheme was legislated under the Returned Soldiers Settlement Act 1916. The records from which the New South Wales, Returned Soldier Settlement Miscellaneous Files 1916-1939 index was compiled are the only known surviving examples of qualification certificates from the World War One soldier settlement scheme in New South Wales.
New South Wales soldier settlement scheme
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.
Data provided by State Records Authority of New South Wales.