ACT Soldier Settlers Guide
The Commonwealth Government, through the Federal Capital Commission (FCC), created a Territory Lease file for every block of land leased within the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). The majority of these files are now in the custody of the ACT Government, although some earlier files are still held by the National Archives of Australia (NAA) on behalf of the Commonwealth. Files from both the ACT and Commonwealth Governments have been referenced in the research for this website.
Lease files held by the ACT Government are prefixed ArchivesACT. To see these files, complete the form on the ArchivesACT website at: ArchivesACT Request a Record
Lease files held by the National Archives of Australia are prefixed NAA. To see these files, use the processes described at: NAA Order Collection Items
All Territory Lease files contain one or more form lease documents that set out the terms and conditions of the lease, for example:
- Belconnen Block 52B - Maurice Fergusson (15th March 1922): (PDF 1.51Mb)
- Woden Block 25A - John Maguire (11th September 1926): (PDF 3.47Mb)
Some returned soldiers who held rural leases in the ACT during the Soldier Settlement Scheme have not been listed. In these instances, they already held the leases prior to enlisting or obtained their leases outside the Scheme.
However, our Territory Lease files only provide a small glimpse into each Soldier Settler’s story. Please feel free to contact ArchivesACT to share your stories and/or suggest corrections to contribute to this website: firstname.lastname@example.org
ACT Soldier Settlers Name Index
The Soldier Settlers are listed alphabetically by surname with the Soldier Settlement block(s) they were allocated. Where a Soldier Settler changed blocks or received more than one, each block is against his name. Administrative changes over time has resulted in some of the blocks originally in the Districts of Canberra City and Gungahlin are now in Majura District. The links for their block(s) will take you to each Soldier Settlers' story.
For an interactive map showing the approximate locations of the Soldier Settlement blocks click here: WW1 Soldier Settlement Map
ACT Soldier Settlement Blocks Map
The Federal Capital Territory was established with leasehold tenure, rather than freehold, because land belonging to the Commonwealth could not be alienated. The Territory was surveyed and blocks, sections, portions and holdings were drawn up. These were all given numbers. Over time, these numbers were amended to reflect resumptions and subdivisions. A file was raised for most leases and a title granted.
Given the changes in block numbering, one of the aims of this site is to assist research into locating Soldier Settlement blocks in the ACT.
The coloured sections on this map show the approximate areas that Soldier Settlement blocks covered in and around Canberra.
Clicking on each block provides you with links to information on the block and the returned soldier who leased it.
The following resources are hosted by ArchivesACT:
- The Department of the Interior Property & Tenancy Registers provide details on lessees of rural blocks including the rental costs.
- The Territory for the Seat of Government Rate Book ( PDF 182Kb) provide details on lessees who paid rates for rural blocks for the years 1927-1929.
- The Federal Territory Counties of Murray & Cowley, July 1915 Map (amended c1940) (JPG 6.23Mb) shows rural properties within the ACT in 1940.
- The Annual Report of Lands and Surveys Branch 1913 ( PDF 10.0Mb) contains maps of leased land in the ACT prior to WW1.
- ArchivesACT's flickr Photostream contains photographs and maps of the ACT from the 1930s to the 1980s. Some of these show soldier settler blocks before the development of suburban Canberra.
The following resources are hosted by other agencies:
- The ACT Heritage Register contains information on places and objects in the ACT that have heritage significance at the Territory level. A few of the Soldier Settlement Scheme blocks are listed in this register.
- The ACT Memorial honours men and women from the ACT and who served in conflicts, peacekeeping missions and related service throughout the world. The Memorial consists of two parts:
- the physical Memorial, located opposite Civic Square on London Circuit; and
- a web site, containing a database of names and information about the people honoured by the Memorial. The database lists people associated with the ACT who served Australia in war, warlike operations, peacekeeping missions or on official humanitarian missions.
- The Australian WWI Records Finder is a search engine that provides cross-database searching for Australian service personnel. This site searches the National Archives of Australia, the Australian War Memorial and Commonwealth War Graves Commission databases.
- The AIF Project is a searchable database of WW1 Australian service personnel. The Australian WWI Records Finder does not reference this database.
- Canberra Women in World War I : Community at Home, Nurses Abroad highlights the contribution of women at home in the Canberra community and the nurses who served overseas in many theatres of war during World War I.
- Discovering Anzacs uncovers the personal stories of service men and women through original archival records.
- PDF files require Adobe Acrobat Reader