Life on the land – a World War I Returned Soldier

I have always been lead to believe that the Govt are out to help the Settlers
on the land – so trust they will come to my assistance in these matters.

From the end of the Great War onwards, large numbers of ex-servicemen were assisted back into civilian life through being settled on the land.

Funding was provided by the Commonwealth, and the schemes were controlled and administered by State departments, particularly the Department of Lands. For a variety of reasons, many settlers experienced difficulties in making a viable living – insufficient funds, difficulties in repaying loans, lack of training or experience, unsuitable holdings, drought, pests, and fluctuations in the value of primary products.
The documents from Percy Alfred Bushby’s loan file show how challenging life could be on a soldier settlement block when faced with agricultural pests such as prickly pear, and the ever-present problem of insufficient capital. Despite the representations of a Member of Parliament, and acknowledgement of Bushby’s conscientious efforts, it was eventually decided that rules were rules, and he could not be granted an additional loan.

Source: NRS 8058 Lands – Returned Soldiers Settlement loan files. Percy Alfred Bushby – Extract from file (prickly pear problems etc.) [12/7395 no 9768]


[Second page of letter]
(buy) More sheep & I will sell the others I have to
pay off mortgage myself – I have had the
advantage twice befor both being Paid back
befor their time was up – On my last Place
I still had a few years to run to the
amount of about £300 – So I could get
that amount again, for the balance of the
term – transfered – as I’ve state above – It
would get me out of my Present difficulties – as
the Price of wool at Present – off 800 sheep would
only Pay my store & other small accounts –
and would you also see what can be done
about reducing the Capital Value of this
block – as it is far too dear – being
Pear invested & unimproved – An It
Simply means that if I cannot get these
alterations effected – I will have to
leave the block – & that means that it
will go back its wild state again, as
nobody will take it up at the Present
Price about £2.5 Per acre – I may state
that when I applied for the block there were other
applicants in for it – but when the time
came to appear befor the Land Board
I was the only one to turn up – and
since then I’ve effected improvements
to the value of about £300 – & if I
am forced to leave the Place – it would
(written on side of letter)
mean that in time the capital value would have to
be reduced befor anyone would take it up and
they would get the benefit of my improvements
so I fail to see why I should be
forced to leave the block for the
benefit of some one else –
I have always been lead to believe
that the Govt are out to help the Settlers
on the land – so trust they will
come to my assistance in these
Yours faithfully
Percy A Bushby

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