South Australians at War
SA Memory. South Australia past and present, for the future



Experiences of War : Civilian life : Return to civilian life

During the two world wars, the Commonwealth government established organisations to facilitate the return of hundreds of thousands of armed forces to civilian life. One of these programs was the soldier settler program. Simon Copley's thesis A comparative study of soldier settlement in South Australia and Victoria, 1943-1950 describes the development of soldier settlement schemes.

DG Kelly was a farmer on Kangaroo Island in the 1940s. In his publication War Service Land Settlement Scheme on Kangaroo Island he describes some of the problems experienced by participants in the Kangaroo Island soldier settlement scheme, established for veterans of the First World War.

A number of first hand accounts of the experiences of soldier settlers, and their families, are available through the Library's collections. Ron Loveday was granted land at Cungena through a soldier settlement scheme developed for First World War veterans, on the west coast of South Australia. In a series of letters written to his father-in-law over the 1930s, he describes the difficulties of maintaining a viable property. On 21 October 1930 he wrote,

We have had a difficult job to get through on £57 for the year, for this had to cover everything & it will be more difficult next year, as our clothing & boots etc are nearly worn out; & we shall have to have a few working clothes.
However, I'm doing all I can in preparation & have enlarged the vegetable garden so that we should get a good deal of food from that source.

The Library holds a particulary rich source of oral history recordings with South Australian veterans from both the First and Second World Wars who took up soldier settlement opportunities. These include Soldier Settlement in the South East following the First World War, and A Place of Their Own: Oral Histories concerning War Service Land Settlement at Loxton after the Second World War.

A comparative study of soldier settlement in South Aust
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Interview with Melva Guyatt
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Letter from a soldier settler
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War Service Land Settlement Scheme on Kangaroo Island
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