|MILITARY SERIAL NO.||3674|
|UNIT or Battalion||33rd Battalion|
|ENLISTED||Grenfell – 5 July 1917|
|DISCHARGED||Sydney – 29 March 1919 – Medically unfit due to a shell wound in the shoulder which was still a problem in 1930 when he was 48 years old.|
The file begins in 1930.
Malcolm McLeod’s holding of 474 acres was a Settlement Purchase No.1920.42, Portion Number 122 in the Grenfell Land District, Parish of Bogalong, County of Forbes. McLeod and his wife owned no other property but had a grazing permit over 300 acres from State Forests, which they had held for ten years. McLeod’s work on his soldier settlement block was judged by the Southern Central Home Maintenance Area Board to be unimpressive: they believed he should have been doing better. McLeod believed however that he had worked hard on the place. ‘I had to fence the place and had to support my mother and three orphan children’. He believed that if the size of his holding was increased he would be better off, but by 5 November 1930 this had not occurred due to a lack of other suitable holdings. The Under-Secretary warned him however, ‘if you desire to retain your farm you (need) to adopt better farming methods and give greater attention to your obligations to this Department’.
McLeod wrote to the Department on 4 May 1931, stating that he couldn’t understand the documentation sent to him outlining repayment terms. Later that month he applied for a postponement of his repayments, ‘until such times as there is a rise in wheat’. On 15 September 1931, the Under-Secretary informed him that as he had already received considerable concessions, ‘the Department was not prepared to grant the desired postponement but would allow him to remain on his holding until after the 1931/32 season subject to him executing a crop lien in favour of the Minister for Lands over one-half of the proceeds of the 1931 crop’. Despite McLeod being hospitalised around this time with a very bad injury to his hand, the Under-Secretary was insistent that McLeod’s wife get him to sign the lien anyway despite her saying that she had Doctor’s orders not to worry her husband unnecessarily.
Termination of McLeod’s occupation was again threatened in December 1931 as it was believed mistakenly that crop liens had not been executed. It appears one was executed to the Minister of Agriculture on 13 October 1931 although another was not taken out in respect of the wool clip. On 29 January 1932, the Minister advised that McLeod forfeit his holding because of non-payment of instalments with the advance immediately repayable in full. A local business man W.E. Moffatt wrote a reference in McLeod’s favour asking for the case to be re-considered,
He (McLeod) has paid the Department during the past ten years £1000 but like many others during the past three years has had the spin of the wheel against him beyond his control. Nevertheless we regard him as an industrious man, honest and ready to pay his obligations when funds are available.
McLeod asked for his case to be reversed due to ill health and poor seasons. He was successful with the reversal of forfeiture being noted in the NSW Government Gazette on 4 March 1932. By 9 June 1933, McLeod had sown 210 acres of wheat and about 35 acres of oats although despite good germination, success was still dependent on rain falling.
Around July 1934, conditions again were becoming bad for McLeod.
I have only another week’s feed. I have lost about two hundred ewes and never saved one lamb out of three hundred. I see by the mortgage papers that I am expected to give the number of sheep in, so I did not see the use of signing those papers when my sheep were dying at the rate they were.
Problems continued throughout 1934,
Crops are not ripe yet, 70 acres eaten out with hoppers. 160 acres three parts eaten – balance half eaten, and grass hoppers in countless millions flying through. Do not expect to strip any by the damage they are doing. Unless they soon fly past would like you to send your local inspector to have a look.
A Stay Order was issued on 30 July 1935. McLeod’s case was referred to the Farmers’ Relief Board for consideration to afford some relief. The Stay Order was in operation until 2 April 1941 when it was removed. At this time the Rural Reconstruction Board considered that the settler had no reasonable prospects of carrying on successfully. It was recommended on 2 April 1942, that the holding be forfeited.
 SRNSW: Lands Department; NRS 8058, Returned Soldiers loan files; [12/6852 No. 1173], Southern Central Home Maintenance Area Board Report 26 August 1930.
 Ibid, Statement of Malcolm McLeod taken on the farm 14 August 1930
 Ibid, Under-Secretary for Lands to Malcolm McLeod 5 November 1930.
 Ibid, McLeod to the Department of Lands, 4 May 1931.
 Ibid, Application for a postponement of installments 23 May 1931.
 Ibid, Under-Secretary to Malcolm McLeod 15 September 1931.
 Ibid, Under-Secretary to Mrs. M. McLeod, 22 October, 1931; Mrs Malcom McLeod to the Under-Secretary 26 October 1931.
 Ibid, Under-Secretary to Malcolm McLeod 17 December 1931.
 Ibid, Loans Section Memorandum 5 January 1932.
 Ibid, Returned Soldier Settlement Branch 15 January 1932.
 Ibid, W.E. Moffatt to Under-Secretary for Lands 18 February 1932.
 Ibid, Acting Chief Clerk, 23 February 1932.
 Ibid, NSW Government Gazette 4 March 1932.
 Ibid, Inspection Report 9 June 1933.
 Ibid, McLeod to Department of Lands 24 July 1934.
 Ibid, Securities Memorandum, 7 December 1934.
 Ibid, A Stay Order was issued under the Farmers’ Relief Act 1932: Blacks Law Dictionary defines a Stay Order as: To ‘stay’ – an order or decree means to hold it in abeyance or refrain from enforcing it. It can also mean a stay in foreclosure.
 Ibid, Loans and Arrears Section CS & RSS Branch 2 April 1942.
Sources used to compile this entry:
State Records of NSW: Lands Department; NRS 8058, Returned Soldiers loan files; [12/6852 No. 1173], Malcolm McLeod.
National Archives of Australia: B2455, First Australian Imperial Force Personnel Dossiers (Malcolm McLeod) online: http://recordsearch.naa.gov.au/scripts/Imagine.asp?B=1954838