|Description of this AgencyDescription of this Agency|
Establishment and Scope of the Commission
The Royal Commission on Soldier Settlement was constituted under Letters Patent on 21 January 1925.
Soldier Settlement was initiated under the Discharged Soldiers' Settlement Act 1917 (No.2916). The Government's intention was to repatriate ex-servicemen by providing them with the means whereby they could acquire farming land under favourable conditions. The scheme was administered by the agencies responsible for Closer Settlement, the Lands Purchase and Management Board (VA 2265) and subsequently the Closer Settlement Board (VA 2266). Closer settlement and soldier settlement on irrigable land was from 1913 until 1932 the responsibility of the State Rivers and Water Supply Commission (VA 723).
The scheme encountered many problems and the consequent loss to the settlers and the State was severe. The Government reacted by appointing this Royal Commission to investigate and report on the situation. In accordance with the terms of reference, the Commission was to assess the land set aside for soldier settlement, the provisions of the Discharged Soldier's Settlement Acts in relation to financial advances and the arrangements between the Commonwealth and the State for the settlement of the soldiers.
The Commissioners, James Turnbull, David Park, Thomas James McGaillard and Henry John Wiltshire made their report on 23 October, 1925.
In 1932, after various other Boards of Inquiry had looked at this and related issues, an Act was passed giving effect to recommendations made for the relief of settlers. The Closer Settlement Act 1932 (No.4091) established a Commission of five members to administer all closer settlement and soldier settlement. Provision was made for the consolidation into one debt of the liabilities of each settler at 30 June 1932. The Commission was also empowered to make adjustments to the annual payments made by settlers.
Location of Records
See list below.