Series VPRS 5714
Land Selection Files, Section 12 Closer Settlement Act 1938 [including obsolete and top numbered Closer Settlement and WW1 Discharged Soldier Settlement files]
About this Series Related Series Accessing the records in this Series
Date Range: Series ? 1898 - ? 1960
  Series in Custody ? 1898 - Circa 1976
  Contents ? 1898 - Circa 1976
Public Access: Part Open
Location: North Melbourne
Format of Records: Physical
 
Agency which created this SeriesAgency which created this Series
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Date Range Agency Title Agency Number
1938 - 1960 Department of Crown Lands and Survey VA 538
Agency currently responsible for this SeriesAgency currently responsible for this Series
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Date Range Agency Title Agency Number
2013 - cont Office of the Registrar-General and the Office of Titles, (known as Land Victoria 2001 to 2014; Land Use Victoria 2014 - ct.) VA 862
Description of this SeriesDescription of this Series
  • How to use the Records
    There are a number of different ways to find a particular file in this series, depending upon the objective of your research.

    METHOD 1: Identifying a file documenting a lease for an allotment held by a participant in the WW1 Discharged Soldier Settlement Scheme

    Every file or part of a file that documents such a lease has been identified in PROV's online data base Battle To Farm which also includes digitised images of key documents found on file. (There may be additional papers in the hard copy file, which remains open for ordering.) It can be found on the PROV website at soldiersettlement.prov.vic.gov.au

    Use this tool to search for names and links to the files in this series for ordering.

    If this method doesn't work, try methods 3, 4 or 5.

    METHOD 2: Identifying a file documenting a lease for an allotment held by a participant in the Closer Settlement Scheme

    All of the files in this series were reprocessed during 2013 and 2014. Data from two microfiche catalogues (VPRS 7311 and 7312) for each file was placed into the online listing along with the name of the last person to have held the allotment, as documented on the file cover.

    To locate items of interest, use "Search in a series" and a single word from the name of a person.

    Please note that only the last lease holder has been listed. Names of other lease holders and the relevant file number that might be documented in this series may be identified by consulting VPRS 13982.

    METHOD 3: Identifying a file by the location of the allotment

    If you know exactly where the land is located (that is, you know the allotment and section number of the land plus the parish in which it is located), it may be possible to construct a search using the Search in a series option, the parish name and allotment number.

    If this method doesn't work, try methods 4 or 5.

    METHOD 4 Identifying a file by the file number

    If you know which parish in which the land is located and have no idea of the allotment the best source of information will be VPRS 13982. This is a series of cards which was used to allocate file numbers and are arranged in alphabetical order according to the surname of the lessee. Should you find a card in this series, please note the file number that appears on it. File numbers are made up of a fraction style number. The top number in the fraction is the sequential file number allocated to that application and the bottom number is the section of the act under which the land was selected.

    Once you have obtained the file number it may be possible to construct a search using the Search in a series option, and the top number of the fraction.

    If this method doesn't work, try method 5.

    METHOD 5: Find an allotment on a Parish Plan

    Find the relevant parish plan on which file numbers are recorded provided the individual was the eventual crown grantee. Working copies of parish plans can be found online as VPRS 16171 and microfiche copies of put away plans can be accessed in PROV Reading Rooms.

    Once you have obtained the file number it may be possible to construct a search using the Search in a series option, and the top number of the fraction.

  • Function / Content
    This series comprises files relating to the Closer Settlement and WW1 Discharged Soldier Settlement schemes. The majority of the files relate to allotments that were managed under Section 12 of the Closer Settlement Act 1938. These were files that originally started as a file selected under previous sections of Closer Settlement Acts from 1898 as well as files relating to allotments allocated to individuals under the Wold War 1 (WW1) Discharged Soldier Settlement scheme. This series also contains a variety of additional files relating in some way to the files subject to the provisions of Section 12.

    Background

    Part III of the Land Act 1898 introduced a system by which the government was able to repurchase land for closer settlement. The object of this and subsequent legislation was to transform large estates into closely settled communities engaged in agriculture. The repurchased land was made available as farm allotments, agricultural labourers' allotments and workmen's home allotments to suitable applicants under the terms of conditional purchase leases. Certain residence and improvements conditions applied, initially for the first six years, after which time lessees were at liberty to mortgage, transfer or sub-let with consent and, on payment of the balance of the purchase money, to obtain a Crown Grant. Subsequently lessees were also eligible to apply for advances to assist them to erect dwellings and outbuildings and for other approved purposes.

    Land was allocated to applicants under conditional purchase leases which required lessees to fence the land, to destroy vermin and noxious weeds and to make other improvements. The leases were granted subject to residence requirements and lessees of agricultural labourers' allotments and workmen's home allotments were required to erect a dwelling within one year. The government also made financial advances to lessees to assist them to fence their land and to build the required dwellings. From 1922 assisted British immigrants were settled on the land as part of the Closer Settlement schemes.

    In 1917 under the provisions of the Discharged Soldiers' Settlement Act the government undertook the settlement of WW1 discharged soldiers on lands set aside exclusively for them as a reward for their war service. Special conditions such as low interest finance and no repayments for the first 3 years on 36 year purchase leases were introduced for the settlement of discharged soldiers. Please note: this series does not contain files relating to the settlement of discharged soldiers under the World War II scheme.

    Any Closer Settlement or WW1 Discharged Soldier Settlement scheme allotment that was still active when the Closer Settlement Act 1938 commenced operation was automatically converted to become an allotment subject to the provisions of Section 12 of that Act. Accordingly, all of these files were allocated new section 12 file numbers.

    There are two major types of file in this series: the estate file and the land selection file.

    Estate Files, Survey and Purchase

    The estate file is the record of the repurchase of land for the purposes of either the Closer Settlement or the WW1 Discharged Soldier Settlement Scheme. The file is normally arranged in two parts: the survey file and the purchase file. The survey file contains plans of the land to be recommended for purchase, valuations of the land and improvements, details of proposed subdivisions, the recommendations of the Closer Settlement Board on the purchase and correspondence with the Surveyor General, the valuer, the Shire and others.

    The purchase file is used in conjunction with the survey file. The purchase file is mainly a correspondence file containing correspondence between the Closer Settlement Office and the land holders, the valuer, the Shire prospective settlers, and others whose opinion or action is necessary for the purchase of the land. The file also contains descriptions and plans, file notes and instructions. The facing page is the "straight out offer of land". This page records the details of the offer; the details of the land, the decision of the Board and the final result; whether purchased or not.

    Land selection files

    The land selection files in this series document the period of time an allotment of land was subject to a lease under the Closer Settlement or WW1 Discharged Soldier Settlement Schemes. Closer settlement and soldier settlement land was obtained by purchase lease agreements under which the settler leased and farmed the allotment while effectively purchasing the land from the Crown. When the full purchase price was paid, title to the land was transferred from the Crown to the settler and the file closed. Included in a selection file is the application to purchase lease the land, lease details including payment receipts, correspondence and instalment accounts, general correspondence regarding the allotment and the lease, land inspection reports and purchase arrangements. An insurance file is included with the selection file. Insurance was held on the dwelling, outbuildings and fencing while the purchase lease agreement was current.

    Top numbered files

    Not every Closer Settlement or Discharged Soldier Settlement selector was successful in meeting all of the various financial arrangements and thus did not succeed in eventually purchasing the allotment. In a great many cases this led to the allotment been transferred to another settler. When this occurred, the file was allocated a new file number and new papers were added to it. (The term for replacing an existing file number with a new one is known as top numbering.) Files were not exclusively used for either of the two schemes. In other words a file may have started as a closer settlement file and then transferred to another individual to become a WW1 Discharged Soldier Settlement file or vice versa. A file in this series could also be transferred any number of times; many of the land files in this series document two, three, four or more successive lessees before eventual purchase.

    Any Closer Settlement or WW1 Discharged Soldier Settlement scheme file that was still active when the 1938 Closer Settlement Act was enacted was also top numbered. This meant that the Closer Settlement or WW1 Discharged Soldier Settlement scheme file number that was then in operation was replaced with a Section 12 number. Six different sequences of numbers were created, one for each of the 6 Divisions of the Department of Crown Lands and Survey. Once again, file numbers were in the form of a fraction; the top number was the new application number and the bottom number was 12 signifying the section of the Act. The application number for each Division started at number 1 meaning there can be up to six files in this series which appear to share the same number.

    Obsolete files

    This series also contains a number of Closer Settlement and Discharged Soldier Settlement land files which document allotments that were abandoned and which were not subsequently transferred to another lessee. The reasons for this are unclear and subject to further research. As these were not active leases in 1938, the files were not top numbered to become a section 12 file and were retained according to the land file number of the last lessee documented on file. PROV has used the term obsolete files to distinguish these from those which have been top numbered.

    Advances and Financial files

    Selectors under both the Closer Settlement and WW1 Discharged Soldier Settlement schemes were entitled to obtain advances from the government in order to finance the construction of homesteads, purchase of seeds, crop, farming implements, etc. Prior to the 1938 Act, this activity was documented on a separate file to the land selection file known as an advances file. Six series of advances files, one for each of the Department of Crown Lands and Survey Land Divisions, were created which complement this series. These are VPRS 745 (Advances Files - Northern Division), VPRS 746 (Advances Files - Geelong Division), VPRS 747 (Advances Files - Eastern Division), VPRS 748 (Advances Files - Western Division ), VPRS 749 (Advances Files - Mallee Division) and VPRS 10381 (Advances Files - Melbourne Division). These files were stored separately to the land selection files and were allocated different alpha numeric file numbers.

    By the time the 1938 Act was proclaimed the, often considerable, advances requiring repayment by the selectors had been scaled back after the allotments were revalued and any increase in value subtracted from the overall debt. All of the advances files for allotments still active when the 1938 Act was enacted were closed and a new file known as a Financial file was created. This file was kept along with the land selection file and can be found in this series (i.e VPRS 5714), usually tied to it with ribbon and were allocated the same Section 12 file number.

  • Recordkeeping System
    It has been generally thought that the original order of this series was not apparent at the time of transfer of the records to archival custody. Research conducted in the lead up to the Battle To Farm project, concluded that the series was probably arranged in a number of filing sequences that are all related in some way to Section 12 of the Closer Settlement Act 1938.

    The main sequences identified are:

    - land selection files for s12 of the 1938 Closer Settlement Act, arranged in 6 sequences according to Land Division.
    - obsolete Closer Settlement files that were not top numbered into s12 Closer Settlement Act files
    - obsolete WWI Discharged Soldier Settlement land files that were not top numbered into s12 Closer Settlement Act files
    - Estate files
    - Wire Netting advances files for allotments held under s12, and
    - other files.

    The order both of individual sequences and in relation to each other was probably lost during the relocation of the records to a Departmental secondary store, during the transfer of the records to archives or both. For further information about how this conclusion was reached, refer to Battle To Farm: Excavating land files of the World War I Discharged Soldier Settler Scheme from within Closer Settlement files at Public Record Office Victoria by Charlie Farrugia in Provenance, Issue 2014. (Available online via the PROV website.)
    This series was also retitled as a result of this research project. Previously the series was titled, Closer [and Soldier] Settlement Files.

    Filing cards relating to files from the section 12 files and the obsolete Closer Settlement and WW1 Discharged Soldier Settlement files appear to have been interfiled into a single alphabetical sequence as VPRS 13982. Cards do not appear to have been created for every individual in VPRS 5714; in a number of instances the name of previous lessees were crossed out when the allotment was passed from one to another. The cards relating to land selection files also record the file number for the relevant pre 1938 advances file.

    Archival catalogue

    During 1985, the Department of Conservation, Forests and Lands and PROV undertook a project to identify and process the files in this and a number of other land selection file series. This was done by preparing a computer input sheet describing the contents of each archive box. This information was then fed into a computer and an computer output micrcofiche was produced in which the same information was arranged in two difference orders; one, being a listing in unit (box) number order (VPRS 7311) and the second, a listing according to parish (VPRS 7312). Both sets of fiche can be accessed in PROV Reading Rooms and do not need to be ordered. During 2013 and 2014, the information recorded in these catalogues for VPRS 5714 was placed in the consignment listing for the P0 consignment. As the microfiche catalogues did not capture the names of any selectors, the name of the final person to hold the allotment, as documented on the file, was also added to this listing.

    Battle To Farm: Identifying WW1 Discharged Soldier Settlement Scheme participants

    Battle To Farm was placed on the PROV web site on 8 April 2015 and was PROV's major initiative to commemorate the centenary of the participation of Victoria's troops in WW1. The major objective of the tool was to identify the files that documented the participants in the WW1 Discharged Soldier Settlement scheme given that the participation of many discharged soldier settlers in the scheme was effectively hidden within these files due to the top numbering of files that occurred. Accordingly during 2014 and 2015, PROV volunteers went through every land file in this series and noted the ones where a discharged soldier settler held a lease, irrespective of the length of tenure. This was augmented with selective digitisation of some documents from each file, links to the actual file in this series and links to National Archives of Australia Discovering The ANZACS site.

    Battle To Farm also identifies a small number of WW1 Discharged Soldier Settlement files found within another series, VPRS 5357. These are the only files known to exist outside of this series.

    It should be kept in mind that Battle To Farm has not identified every participant in the WW1 Discharged Soldier Settlement Scheme. It is thought that those still to be identified are contained within land files that were top numbered from these fields into another. In other words their section 12 file has been top numbered into yet another series of files with no connection to the Closer Settlement Scheme.

    P1 contains records found in P0, which don't belong to this series but which can't be easily added to an existing series.

    P2 contain records which were donated to PROV by an historical society in 2016.

More research resourcesMore research resources
    PROVguide055 Land Records
Indexes and RegistersIndexes and Registers
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Date Range Series Title Series Number
1898 - 1960 Catalogue of Crown Lands and Survey Files: File Number Order (Microfiche) VPRS 7311
1898 - 1960 Catalogue of Crown Lands and Survey Files: Parish/Town Order (Microfiche) VPRS 7312
By 1912 - ? 1960 Applications and File Management Cards, Closer Settlement VPRS 13982
Controlled SeriesControlled Series
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Previous SeriesPrevious Series
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Transfer Date Series Title Series Number
Subsequent SeriesSubsequent Series
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List/s of records in this seriesList/s of records in this series
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Consignment Number Contents Date Range Public Access No. of Units
P0000 ? 1898 - ? 1960 Part Open 2591
P0001 1913 - 1975 Open 22
P0002 Circa 1922 - Circa 1976 Open 9
Indexes and RegistersIndexes and Registers
Display entries per page
Date Range Series Title Series Number
1898 - 1960 Catalogue of Crown Lands and Survey Files: File Number Order (Microfiche) VPRS 7311
1898 - 1960 Catalogue of Crown Lands and Survey Files: Parish/Town Order (Microfiche) VPRS 7312
By 1912 - ? 1960 Applications and File Management Cards, Closer Settlement VPRS 13982
More research resourcesMore research resources
    PROVguide055 Land Records