Soldier Land Settlement Scheme

The Soldier Land Settlement Scheme was created to help settle returned soldiers on the land after the First and Second World Wars.

“The Returned Soldiers’ Settlement Act, 1916,” and the amending Acts of 1917 and 1918, make provision for the Settlement on land in the State of Tasmania of any returned soldiers with satisfactory discharges, and who have had previous farming experience, desirous of following this occupation. – Government Printer 1919

Libraries Tasmania has a variety of historical records about soldier settlement, many of these available online.

By entering a person’s name you can search the Tasmanian Names Index  for applications to lease land under the act from 1917 until 1929 as well as applications for selections of free crown land from 1917 to the 1940s.

Many of these records also contain links to the soldier’s service record through the National Archives of Australia’s Discovering Anzacs portal.  If one exists, there may also be a photograph from the Weekly Courier or the Tasmanian Mail.

The Closer Settlement Board was responsible for implementing the Soldier Settlement Scheme and their records are a rich source of information about it.

One soldier who applied for land as part of this act was William Albert Graham, and his descendants still live on the land today.

William enlisted with the Australian Imperial Force at Claremont on the 19/01/1916.

On his return from the war he applied for the Soldier Settlement Scheme on the 15/03/1919.

On William’s application he mentions that he was “wounded with shrapnel but am getting alright”

William’s grandson David Graham talks about when his grandfather enlisted, and the time that he was wounded near the Hindenburg line.
The date on the lease for William’s land was the 1st of May 1919.

His grandson David talks about William and the land where his family still live.

Bibliography

Beresford, Quentin. The World War One soldier settlement scheme in Tasmania [online]. Papers and Proceedings: Tasmanian Historical Research Association, Vol. 30, No. 3, Sept 1983: 90-100. Availability:<http://search.informit.com.au.instance1.ezproxy.education.tas.gov.au/documentSummary;dn=840404145;res=IELAPA>ISSN: 0039-9809. [cited 19 Apr 17] (Log in with your LINC Tasmania membership details)

Richardson, Andrew. Soldier Land Settlement Scheme [online]. The companion to Tasmanian History. Availability: http://www.utas.edu.au/library/companion_to_tasmanian_history/S/Soldier%20settlement.htm accessed 19/04/17

Government Printer (1919) Information for returned soldiers desirous of obtaining land under “The Returned Soldiers’ Settlement Act, 1916”

“Wild Delight of the People”: Tasmania rejoices as peace declared, 11 November 1918

On the evening 11th of November, 1918, everyone in Tasmania was holding their breath. At any moment, news of the Armistice – the official end of the War – was expected. Every minute must have been agony.  In an era where news could flash from one end of the world to the other in mere seconds, when men had taken to the skies, when pictures could move, and while men were still dying in the mud of Flanders, this waiting was torture. But it was all you could do – stand outside the newspaper offices, bite your nails, and wait, wait, wait. This story is about the moment that the wait stopped, and a roar of joy erupted before the guns on the Western Front finally fell silent.

Continue reading ““Wild Delight of the People”: Tasmania rejoices as peace declared, 11 November 1918″

Tasmanians in World War 1: Ernest Roy Pretyman

Ernest Roy Pretyman might have lived out his whole life in Tasmania if it were not for the war. Instead this accountant travelled to France, fought and was wounded, and attained the rank of Sergeant before returning home to Hobart. His was an active mind, and in pursuit of his interests and hobbies he left a significant legacy to Tasmania’s heritage.

Continue reading “Tasmanians in World War 1: Ernest Roy Pretyman”

Tasmanians in World War 1: Private Reginald Allan Biggs (Private Ashmead)

Reginald Allan Biggs was a jounalist, musician and soldier. His journal of his time as a signaller in the First World War is a fascinating insight into his experiences in the war.

Continue reading “Tasmanians in World War 1: Private Reginald Allan Biggs (Private Ashmead)”

Tasmanians in World War 1: Cyril John Allen

Harrier, soldier, furrier,

A few images from Cyril’s life

Photographs of the Tasmanian Army Corp, Cyril Allen on the far right

Cyril prior to World War 1

In 1908, Cyril joined the New Town Harrier club continuing until he went to war in September 1915. He even appeared in the first race of the season held at Moonah on Saturday 26 June 1915. It was a two mile handicap race in which Cyril finished in fourth place.

Cyril returned to running for New Town after the war. In later life, he became an administrator in the club. In 1912, Cyril began an apprenticeship as a furniture upholsterer with Whitesides & Sons which ran a furnishing warehouse at 166 Liverpool Street, Hobart.

Going to war

Together with his unit, the 12th Australian Infantry Battalion, Private Cyril John Allen embarked at Melbourne on board HMAT Hororata A20 on 27 September 1915. You can follow the progress of Cyril’s battalion by reading the 12th battalion diaries from 1914 to 1919.

Cyril was awarded the Military Medal in June 1917 and promoted to the rank of corporal. In 1918, Cyril was promoted to the rank of Sergeant and served as Acting Quartermaster-Sergeant (AQMS).

A c​ertificate was issued to “Cyril John Allen MM2905 – Sergeant – 12th Battalion. Served with honour and was disabled in the Great War. Honourably discharged on 7.8.19”.​

Cyril served his country in both world wars as his service records show.

Machine Gunner

Cyril served as a machine gunner in the same platoon as his good friend, Gunner Tom Williamson. In 1917, Tom was killed a few yards away in the trenches. While still at the front, Cyril wrote a consoling letter to Tom’s mother.

Returning home

Cyril returned to Australia on board the SS Suffolk in June 1919. On the first day home from the war, Cyril is pictured in an open-air car which might be a 1917 E-X-45 Buick Tourer. It sports an Australian flag from a side panel. Squeezed into the seat is Cyril, his mother, and the driver, Mr Craige, who was influential in the New Town Harrier Club.

A Belgium family

Between 1918 and 1970, Cyril received many letters, photographs and postcards from a family in Chatelet, Belgium, with whom Cyril was billeted during the first world war.

Furrier business after the war

Cyril went into business as a furrier in New Town, Hobart, Tasmania. His business imported animal furs of many types and made them into coats and other clothes.

In July 1972, Cyril received a number of appreciative letters from students at Chigwell Primary School for a talk he gave about animal furs.

Methodist

Cyril and his family were active members of the New Town Methodist Church. Prior to the second world war, Cyril was superintendent at Albert Park Methodist Sunday School. He continued to support the Methodist Church into the 1960s and 1970s with donations.

World War II

Cyril served in Australia in World War II. In the late 1930s, Cyril is pictured with full medals on display on ANZAC Day.

Further reading

NS933 Family papers of C.J. Allen and family ​