NAME Rupert Wilhelm Bergelin
BORN Abt 1884
DIED Abt 1964
UNIT 6th Light Horse
ENLISTED 17 September 1914
DISCHARGED 13 March 1916 – Medically Unfit – loss of eye

 Rupert Bergelin took up Farm No. 33 on Bective Soldier Settlement in the County of Parry, Parish of Somerton, Tamworth Land District. A grant of £500 was approved  on 6 March 1919 to use for a house, buggy and horses, saddle, bridle, mill and troughing, livestock, tools and seed wheat.[1] Rupert Bergelin wanted to go into partnership with J.O. Brownhill as they had been  friends for many years.[2] The partnership was approved by the Department on 18 March 1919. Both settlers obtained an advance in their own names. There appears to have been some problem with Brownhill’s application to begin the partnership, as he had not complied with the residence conditions on his block No. 35.   However, as Bergelin was in permanent residence on his block, the partnership was approved.[3] 

Bergelin’s block was one of the many on Bective that was a ‘dry block’.  On 2 April 1919 there were problems in obtaining plant material (for the bore and windmill).  This was due to delays when dealing with the Repatriation Department and the suppliers of the goods for the bore and windmill, Fox Bros and Buzacott & Co. who were unable to deliver these in a reasonable time.[4]  Because of the delay, Bergelin wanted to obtain the goods locally instead, ‘as the matter of securing water has become more than a necessity’.[5] This move was not acceptable for the  Director of Soldier Settlements, who requested that he honour the original order with Fox and Buzacott & Co.[6]

Buzacott & Co. wrote stating that the delay was due to the stock having to be shipped in as it was not being held locally.[7]  On 14 April, 1919 Bergelin tried to cancel the order chiefly because he wanted to keep in good faith with the men who were agisting his stock, as the supply of water had also given out on blocks 35 & 36.   The goods in question from Buzacott & Co. may then have gone to the wrong address, further complicating the matter.  There appears also to have been some serious misunderstanding between Bergelin and the staff member at Buzacotts who dealt with the matter as he may have handed incorrect information about the goods to the Repatriation Department.  Bergelin therefore believed the error was the fault of Buzacott and Co. and not his.[8] By the end of April, the matter was resolved with Buzacotts cancelling the order providing Bergelin paid freight – this proposal was accepted by Bergelin.[9]

 On 22 September 1920, the Peel Shire Repatriation Committee wrote to the Director of Soldier Settlements strongly urging that the cost of supplying water to his property be ‘in line with that of the other settlers on Bective’ and added to the capital value of the farm.[10] Despite the Acting Chief Clerk P. McInnes, objecting on the grounds that this ‘would allow terms (that were) beyond the profitable life of the machinery’, the recommendation was approved by the Acting Director on 1 December 1920.[11]

By 7 February 1921, Rupert Bergelin was receiving treatment at the RPA Hospital, Camperdown.  He asked at this date that because his repayments were falling due, that they be deferred for five years. In support of this request, he pointed out that since taking over the block, he had much trouble ‘with his head’ – the after effects of war wounds.[12]  He had also been in hospital for seven weeks in August and September and had undergone a serious operation.  At the date of writing, he said he expected to be in hospital for some weeks still.  He stated also, that his specialist had forbidden him to work for at least three months after being discharged from hospital.  Since October 1921 he also had to employ a man to run his property.[13] He was granted an extension of time to pay his arrears until 21 February 1922.[14]

In a letter to ‘Wattie’ (A.A. Watson) written on 12 April 1922,  Bergelin was still having trouble with his repayments after ‘spending six months not working (in the period) after leaving hospital’.[15]  There were again ongoing misunderstandings between Bergelin and the Department about amounts due for repayment. Bergelin had requested that money expended on improvements be placed on his credit account along with interest and principal. It is clear from the tone of the letter that Bergelin knew Watson well.  He went on,

We would like to see you up here again, especially with an incoming minister.  I think the boys would like to hear you for a bit longer than you were allowed on your last visit. Rain is badly needed here at present – feed is very poor and a lot of the cockies are feeding their plough horses.  Nothing more.  Mrs Bergelin joins me in kindest regards, Yours sincerely   Bergie.[16]

Despite this letter and knowing Bergelin, Watson refused his request. [17]

Sometime before November 1925, Bergelin applied to transfer his property to D.R. Webster, (Loans No. 9071).  


[1] SRNSW: Lands Department; NRS 8058, Returned Soldiers loan files,  [12/6854 No. 1079], Rupert Wilhelm Bergelin, Returned Soldiers Settlement Branch, Office Memorandum 6 March 1919.

[2] Ibid, Returned Soldiers’ Settlement Branch Office Memorandum Director of Soldier Settlements, J.G.R. Bryant to the Hon. Minister for Lands, 17 March 1919.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid, R.W. Bergelin to Minister for LandsSydney, 2April 1919.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Ibid, J.G.R. Bryant to R.W. Bergelin, 4 April 1919.

[7] Ibid, L. Buzacott to J.G.R. Bryant, 11 April 1919.

[8] Ibid, Rupert Bergelin to Director of SS 14 April 1919.

[9] Ibid, 27 April 1919.

[10] Ibid, Peel Shire Repatriation Committee to Director of SS 22 September 1920.

[11] Ibid, RSS Branch Office Memorandum 10 December 1920;  RSS Branch Office Memorandum A.A. Watson 1 December 1920.

[12] Ibid, Rupert W. Bergelin from Ward 3RepatriationPavilionRPAHospital, Camperdown to The Acting Director RSS Branch 7 February 1921.

[13] Ibid.

[14] Ibid, Loans Section 14 September 1921.

[15] Ibid, R. Bergelin to Mr.A.A.Watson 12 April 1922.

[16] Ibid, R. Bergelin to A.A.Watson 12 April 1922.

[17] Ibid, A.A. Watson to R.W. Bergelin, 19 May 1922.

Sources used to compile this entry:

State Records NSW: Lands Department; NRS 8058, Returned Soldiers loan files; [12/6854 No. 1079],  Rupert Wilhem Bergelin.

National Archives of Australia: B2455, First Australian Imperial Force Personnel Dossiers (Rupert Wilhelm Bergelin) online: