Soldier settlement after the First World War
Here are a selection of sources with information about the scheme:
- Soldier settlement was a government scheme designed to develop rural areas, encouraging returned servicemen to become property-owning farmers.
- Order the sources listed above from most to least useful, noting advantages and disadvantages of each source.
- Using at least two sources, find the answers to the following questions:
- Who could apply for a soldier settlement block?
- Why did the government think that soldier settlement was a good idea?
- What challenges did soldier settlers face?
- Was this a successful government scheme? Why or why not?
- Find examples of a successful and unsuccessful solder settler, and compare their experiences
- Only a small percentage of settlement blocks were allocated to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander servicemen. For example, from over 9,000 soldier settlers in New South Wales, George Kennedy, George Kapeen (Capeen), Albert Bonser, Archibald Murphy, and Albert Beulah (Jeffery Burt) are the only known Aboriginal servicemen to receive blocks of land in that state.
- Why do you think the number of known Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander soldier settlers is far less than non-Indigenous soldier settlers?
- Research Albert Knight, the Lovett family, Douglas Grant, or Walter Christopher Saunders further. What did they do after the war? Did they become soldier settlers? What impact did the war have on their lives?
- Alfred Hearps had five relatives who served and returned home. Two cousins, Cyril and Wilfred, were both granted soldier settlement blocks in Tasmania. In an article published in Tasmanian Historical Studies, Volume 20, 2015, Andrea Gerrard stated that less than three months after accessing the land, Cyril’s lease was cancelled after he walked away from his family. His wife stated that he was “not fit and not in his right mind”.
- How do you think the physical and mental wounds of returned servicemen affected their ability to work and live off the land?
- Alfred Lovett’s brother Herbert served in the First and Second World Wars. When he returned home after the Second World War, he was denied land under the Soldier Settlement Scheme in Victoria. Decades on, Herbert’s son Johnny is still seeking compensation. You can read more in this ABC News article.
- Do you think that it is important for Johnny to continue to fight for compensation? Why or why not?
- Investigate other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples who have fought for land rights.
- Several well-known Aboriginal servicemen, including five of the Lovett brothers and Walter Chris Saunders, had lived at the Lake Condah Aboriginal Mission in Victoria before the outbreak of the First World War.
- Investigate the history of the Lake Condah Aboriginal Mission
- After the Second World War, what happened to the land on which it was built?
- Who does this land belong to?
The following sources may assist: