|MILITARY SERIAL NO.||4477|
|UNIT||1st Field Sqn. Engineers|
|ENLISTED||Sydney 16 January 1918|
|DISCHARGED||Sydney 15 October 1919|
Daniel Crowley’s block of 112 acres was a Crown Lease No. 1921/3 in the County of Cumberland, Parish of Belford, Singleton Land District.
On 20 February 1920, Crowley wrote to the Director of Soldier Settlement asking about the delay in receiving his loan. The problem appears to have been because the sale of the Crown Lease to Crowley had not been confirmed. The advance had still not been allocated by 28 April 1922, when he wrote again, ‘Can you give me some idea when the money will be available for the fencing and clearing as I have practically been living on credit while doing the work’. Crowley paid for the fencing wire on 19 June 1922 with his war bonds. ‘I suppose’ he wrote, ‘it counts as private funds and I am entitled to reimbursement. If it doesn’t, send the remainder of the account along as I am in urgent need of money’.
The war bonds were not reimbursed which Crowley strongly objected to, ‘I have secured this lease on my own initiative and if the Department does not intend to help me in any way, the least they might do is to reimburse me for the Gratuity Bond and not count it as part of the advance, which it certainly is not’.
The Soldier Settlement Board appeared to ignore Crowley’s plea as in their letter of reply they do not mention the Gratuity Bond, but rather the purchasing of fencing for his forest lease. This incites Crowley,
‘In my letters of 23 and 26 ultimo I did not make an application for an advance but asked to be reimbursed for my Gratuity Bond as I consider I am entitled to such reimbursement as the Bond was not listed as any part of the security and I fail to see how it can be counted as any part of the £625 advance’.
Another problem for him was that there was no permanent water supply on the block and because of this Crowley intended sinking a dam some time around August 1922. Crowley had been using water on his mother’s adjoining holding. After receiving figures relating to his advance early in September 1922, he found he had less money ‘at his disposal than (he) thought.’ In April 1923 he wrote again complaining that he had not received an answer to his request for a further advance, ‘I missed two summers that were suitable for dairying by not having the necessary capital at my disposal’.
On 8 May 1923, he wrote another long letter of complaint. He was very disgruntled about the terms of the Advance and about what was to be considered under the term ‘improvements’. Even though the Department was to supply the material and to provide half the value of all work carried out in relation to clearing, the settler was still to be responsible for buildings and fencing. He wrote again on 12 January 1924, ‘I wish to repeat what I have told the Department in previous communications, that when the land is returning me something, I can start to repay’.
He continued throughout 1924, making suggestions to meet his arrears, such as buying cows or sheep in calf with the object of ‘letting the cows rear their calves and selling them as vealers’.  This proposal was refused even though Crowley was suffering through a very hard drought. In an undated letter possibly written also in 1923, he said, ‘I have not made one penny off it … instead of getting an ordinary spring, we got the worst drought on record’. He was at this date working getting timber.
The District Surveyor reported in October 1925, that even though he was a hard working man ‘he was very erratic and (did) not appear to be able to work continuously at the one occupation’. He acknowledged however, that ‘the holding was an indifferent one … and like many others would be abandoned’. Toward the end of 1925, after his impounded stock was released, Crowley’s position was judged to be unsatisfactory and he was called on to show cause why ‘within seven days his loan should not be called up’. 
Again in May 1926, he wrote a very long letter outlining his difficulties, ‘the spring and summer months are the only time of the year that it is possible to make anything out of dairying’. His dissatisfaction evident, not only with the circumstances on his block but also what he saw as unfair treatment by certain officials from the Department of Lands. The question that the property be forfeited arose in May 1925, although this had not been gazetted by June 1926 and Crowley was still being given the opportunity to state his case.
In June 1926, his brother wrote a letter to the Hon. P. T. Loughlin, requesting that Daniel be given help. ‘He is a true and hard worker. Since he returned from the war he reclaimed a heavy mortgage on my mother’s home and at the present time is practically supporting my mother and two sisters … he is nothing of a waster’.
Crowley sought revision of his indebtedness around June 1926. It was eventually decided by the RSS Branch in September ‘that more will be received by the Department if Crowley was allowed to remain in occupation, rather than forcing forfeiture’.
His ill fortune and his ability to work his holding properly and repay his debts continued for many years and he wrote several long letters between 1926 and 1928 outlining his problems.
In 1931, he was living with his mother at Belford and had sublet the property to a Mr. Monaghan to use as a dairy.
It was not until 19 December 1932, that Crowley’s advance repaid in full and the holding was forfeited for non-payment of rent and Gazetted on 6 January 1933.
 SRNSW: Lands Department; NRS 8058, Returned Soldiers loan files; [12/7301 No. 8368], D. Crowley to A.A. Watson, 20 February 1922.
 Ibid, 28 April 1922.
 Ibid, 19 June 1922.
 Ibid, 26 June 1922.
 Ibid, A.A. Watson to D. Crowley 18 July 1922.
 Ibid, D. Crowley to A.A. Watson 23 July 1922.
 Ibid, Department of Lands Report 31 August 1922.
 Ibid, Crowley Op. cit., 15 September 1922.
 Ibid, D. Crowley to Director of SS 3 April 1923.
 Ibid, 8 May 1923.
 Ibid, 12 January 1924.
 Ibid, nd.
 Ibid, District Surveyor to the Under Secretary for Lands 28 October 1925.
 Under Secretary to D. Crowley 9 December 1925.
 Ibid, D. Crowley to Under Secretary 29 May 1926.
 Ibid, Department of Lands Report, June 1926.
 Ibid, P. Crowley to Hon. P.T. Loughlin 3 June 1926.
 Ibid, RSS Report 20 September 1926.
 Ibid, Inspection of RSS Holding 17 December 1931.
Sources used to compile this entry:
State Records NSW: Lands Department; NRS 8058, Returned Soldiers loan files; [12/7301 No. 8368] Daniel Crowley.
National Archives of Australia: B2455, First Australian Imperial Personnel Dossiers (Daniel Crowley), online: http://recordsearch.naa.gov.au/scripts/Imagine.asp?B=3472684