South Australians in France

During the First World War, thousands of South Australian men and women contributed to the war effort in France and on the Western Front.

To mark the centenary of the 1918 victory and to recognise and understand the enduring connections formed between France and South Australia, Flinders University’s College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences is organising a public event titled South Australians in France. 

The South Australians In France team aims to search through metropolitan and regional South Australia for war-era artefacts. South Australians In France has created a Facebook page presenting some of the fascinating finds that have already been collected, to prompt more people to make contact and present their family heirlooms from the French battlefields.

The most significant objects will be presented at a South Australians In France public event in Adelaide on 23 and 24 February 2018, being organised by Flinders University’s College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences. It will reflect the style of an Antiques Roadshow event, enabling French scholars and Australian experts to interact with the public to tell the stories behind their families’ World War I relics.

Be a part of this exciting project, first by ‘liking’ or ‘following’ our Facebook page. Then post a picture of your WWI object and add a brief description of its history.

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Digging In: New Perspectives on the successes and failures of the World War I Soldier Settlement

It is one hundred years since a soldier settlement scheme was established in Australia, part of a suite of repatriation policies for ex-servicemen and women returning from World War I. Almost 40,000 soldiers and a few nurses took up the opportunity to chance their luck and to carve out a living with a block of land on the margins of our cities to the vast interiors of our continent. The scheme has largely been considered a failure and it is easy to see why. Bureaucratic bungling, government bickering, too small blocks, poor seasons, environmental degradation and crippling debts saw thousands of soldier settlers admit defeat and walk off their blocks. Yet, as Professor Openheimer will suggest, there is another story of soldier settlement. In this lecture, Professor Openheimer will pursue the stories of the many thousands of soldier settlers who, with their families, managed to survive on their blocks through the testing 1920s and depression of the 1930s. Some descendants of soldier settlers still farm their land today. Taking us through the factors for 'success' she will argue that by examining this contrasing narrative we gain a better understanding of the complexities and travails of the soldier settlement experience.

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Get in touch

Postal Address

Flinders University Art Museum, GPO Box 2100, ADELAIDE SA 5001


State Library of South Australia
North Terrace
SA 5000


Fiona Salmon, Director
Phone: 08 8201 2531