Did your New South Wales ancestors serve as soldiers in World War One? Find out if the returned serviceman on your family tree applied for financial support as part of the New South Wales soldier settlement scheme. Uncover details of their land, address and financial history in their post-war life.
Each record includes a transcript. The amount of information listed varies, but the New South Wales, Returned Soldiers Settlement Loan Files 1906-1960 may include the following information about your ancestor:
The New South Wales, Returned Soldiers Settlement Loan Files 1906-1960 on Findmypast are transcribed from an index consisting of roughly 7,000 individual files relating to ex-servicemen’s applications for financial assistance as part of a soldier settlement scheme following the First World War.
Revealing information about returned servicemen’s land, property and finances, the New South Wales, Returned Soldiers Settlement Loan Files 1906-1960 transcripts provide insight into the opportunities and challenges faced by soldiers who fought in the First World War after their return home.
This index reveals the address and district of returned servicemen’s property, and details about the loan they had applied for, including its start and end date and the relevant loan number. It is worth noting that some of the files relate to land that was acquired before World War One and later transferred to a returned soldier.
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, which also allowed for soldier settlers to receive financial assistance through an advance or loan. This was distributed through the Rural Bank.
Originally the Commonwealth Government of Australia allocated the sum of 500 pounds to be granted to each applicant. This was done in order to help them clear, fence and develop their land, as well as to purchase necessary materials, stock, seeds, and implements, or construct a house, sheds or fencing.
However, many soldier settlers needed further financial support due to the high costs of materials and other expenses. As such, later in the war, the amount was increased to 626 pounds, which was also in the form of a loan paid to the settlers by the Commonwealth Government. Returned servicemen were responsible for repaying these loans, along with cumulative interest.
More about the 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.
Using this index, you can view the original Returned Soldiers Settlement Loan Files records and related correspondence at State Records NSW’s Western Sydney Records Centre.