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A Land Fit for Heroes


When Patrick Madden finally returned to Australia after military service in World War 1, he was one of the lucky ones who drew a block of land in the ballot for one of the Urangeline Soldier Settlement farms at Lockhart in September 1920.

Pat Madden

The block, which he named 'Avalon', was 606 acres. There was some fencing and an earth dam. Like the other soldier settlement farms, it was carved out from the much larger Urangeline Station of some 107,000 acres. The soldiers who settled here and strove to make a living, often with little previous experience, had to learn to build their houses and sheds, grow crops and manage horses and stock in order to survive. They also had to pay off the value of the property over the next 38 years together with any additional mortgages taken out to purchase seed and stock and work the land. Not surprisingly, many did not succeed.

The author of this book and the only son of Patrick Madden has lived most of his life in the Lockhart area. In 1977 Chris Madden purchased the original Urangeline homestead. Living in the place which had been the centre of the Station which had been cut up for the soldiers and knowing many of the families in the area, Chris was prompted to learn more about the history of the other soldier settlement blocks in the area and what happened to the soldiers and their families who sought to farm them.

The author of this book and the only son of Patrick Madden has lived most of his life in the Lockhart area. In 1977 Chris Madden purchased the original Urangeline homestead. Living in the place which had been the centre of the Station which had been cut up for the soldiers and knowing many of the families in the area, Chris was prompted to learn more about the history of the other soldier settlement blocks in the area and what happened to the soldiers and their families who sought to farm them.

This book is the result of many years of painstaking research into the 70 soldier settlement blocks in the area.

The first part of the book provides an excellent overview of the creation and development of the Urangeline Soldier Settlement. It explains how the government purchased the original Urangeline Station and organised ballots for blocks available for returned soldiers.

Avalon Camp
It examines the often difficult and certainly personally challenging conditions under which these soldiers had to work and live and the reasons why some succeeded but many did not. Personal reflections and many extracts from local newspapers of the day provide exceptional and fascinating insights.

 

The second part of the book traces each soldier settler and his family individually, including his war record.

The book Land Fit for Heroes is published in Australia [2010] and is available for purchase for A$30 plus postage (A$10 in Australia). Contact Chris Madden by or by post: 29 Drummond St, Lockhart. N.S.W. 2656. AUSTRALIA or phone: 61-2-69204224.