Frequently Asked Questions

What does this site show?

The digitised images you see when you look at particular settlers are drawn from the lease files created by the Closer Settlement Board (part of the Department of Crown Lands and Survey) to track the leases taken out by successful applicants to the Victorian soldier settlement scheme.  Volunteers have gone through the records to identify soldier settlers and copy those parts of the file that concern them.  The files we have looked at concern World War One soldier settlers only.

Is this everything you have?

By no means.  We have digitised basic documents relating to a soldier settler’s lease on the land.  There are often other land files relating to that person, as well as files relating to other aspects of that person’s life.

In some cases we have been able to identify and provide catalogue references for other land files for a particular settler.  You can order these files for viewing at the Victorian Archives Centre in North Melbourne.

I have information about a soldier settler I would like to share

There are several ways in which you can contribute to this site:

  • You can comment on each settler.  Log in and tell us about other online resources about a person or their property.  Let us know about any corrections or additional information you have.
  • You can upload your own pictures relating to a settler or a property.  Your images will appear next to the digitised files and can be seen by everyone.
  • You can transcribe documents on the site.  This helps other people to find documents and also to understand the stories that these records tell.  We have featured some documents that we think will be good to transcribe,  but you can pick any document on the site.

We have some Terms and Conditions which describe how we will respect and treat any information you contribute to the site.

What do the numbers mean?

There are various number systems used in the files.

  • Crown Descriptions‘: For the purpose of identifying who owns what land, the Victorian Government divided Victoria up into a series of around 1500 parishes. Each ‘ownable’ block of land in these parishes is generally called an ‘allotment’, and may or may not be part of a ‘section’.  Records of the boundaries of these allotments are kept on parish plans, and often in the files themselves.  This system still governs publicly-owned, or ‘Crown’ land, alongside the Title Plan system that governs private land transactions.
  • File numbers: The file number has two parts. The first is a serial number.  This is often repeated as files were organised into six ‘districts’.  So it is possible for both the Melbourne and Mallee districts to have created a file ‘405/12‘.  The second part refers to the section of the Land Acts under which the file was created. So ‘/12’ refers to a file that was compiled as part of the ‘revaluation’ process in the 1930s.  You can find more information about the filing system in Charlie Farrugia’s article on soldier settlement files in our journal Provenance.

The soldier settler I am looking for isn’t here

There are some reasons why we may not have digitised records relating to the person you are looking for.

  • You are looking for a settler from after the Second World War.
  • The file did not survive the passage of time.
  • The file has ended up in a different collection of land records to the ones we concentrated on.

Please contact us if you are looking for a particular person.  Knowing that a file should exist for a particular person or piece of land will be a big help in turning it up.  If we find a new file, we will be able to add that person to the site.

Why does the quality of the digitised documents vary?

In general these files are in good condition; some however have suffered damage in the past. They have been stored in bundles on shelves.  Frequent use has damaged the documents on the outside of these bundles: they are heavily creased or have parts missing..  These documents, particularly the applications for a Qualification Certificate, are the earliest part of the file.  Part of this project has been to better protect documents by individually securing each file in a labelled bag to prevent any further damage.

Many documents were physically glued together to prevent being lost.  We have not tried to separate these documents, so you will see the occasional scan where part of the text is lost behind another page.  Our volunteers in these cases have tried to find the best compromise between capturing the text while not damaging the document in the scanning process.

Lastly, some documents have shown evidence of being attacked by mould spores.  We have to be very careful about mould, both because it is a health risk in a small number of cases, and because it is easily spread to other files.  We have begun a program to treat mould-affected soldier settlement files, and intend to digitise these after they have been cleaned.  If you are interested in a file that has been mould-affected, please contact us to find out progress.