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The Long road home : repatriation in Tasmania, 1916-1929

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Richardson, A (2005) The Long road home : repatriation in Tasmania, 1916-1929. PhD thesis, University of Tasmania.

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Abstract

This thesis examines the work of repatriation authorities in Tasmania after WWI,
the returned soldiers' responses to the system, and the experiences of both the soldiers
and the authorities in re-establishing returned men into society.
Repatriation was one of the great problems facing Australian administrators after
the Great War. The need to provide for the large numbers of returning soldiers and cater
for their re-establishment into society was one of the most costly programs undertaken by
the Commonwealth. Pryor, Lloyd, Rees, and Garton have all examined repatriation in
Australia in a national context, while other authors have considered select repatriation
policies on a regional basis. However, previous historians have failed to investigate the
specific Tasmanian context of major Commonwealth repatriation policies such as the
soldier land settlement scheme, employment, health services, and the political dimension
of repatriation. This thesis focuses on the Tasmanian context to enable some comparison
where applicable with Commonwealth outcomes of repatriation.
To provide comparison and to examine repatriation policy and its implementation
in Tasmania, this thesis focuses on the design and implementation of Commonwealth
Repatriation poI icy during the latter half of the war, and assesses a decade of its post war
performance of, in particular, policies such as health and employment.
Returned soldiers' abilities to reassimilate successfully into the community were
determined by two main factors. Firstly, Commonwealth health policy, treatment, and
subsequent pensions were crucial to Tasmanian returned soldiers who suffered injuries
caused or aggravated by their war service. Secondly and even more important was the
need for meaningful employment and vocational opportunities and training. Employment
and vocational training for returned men had the most immediate impact on their abilities
to re-engage with society and support families; hence it was crucial to the success in their
efforts to repatriate.
One form of employment involved the Returned Soldier Land Settlement Scheme.
It illustrated the provision of employment and vocational opportunities in Tasmania, and
it suffered the highest failure rates in the Commonwealth in terms of soldiers vacated and
of losses per head. Through the examination of legislation, departmental correspondence, individual cases, media reports and a State Royal Commission, the path of the scheme in Tasmania is explored.
In understanding the design and implementation of Commonwealth repatriation polices and local responses to it, Tasmania's unique social and regional needs are highlighted. Repatriation in Tasmania largely confirms the broader national experience
with some exceptions based on the State's comparatively isolated location, with the
conclusion that Commonwealth policies. while at times adequate, could not hope to
satisfy all the needs of the Tasmanian returned soldier.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Copyright Holders: The Author
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2005 the Author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright
owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We
would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s).

Date Deposited: 30 Jan 2013 05:06
Last Modified: 11 Mar 2016 05:54
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