A total of 93 officers in all left India and relocated to Australia with sizable landholdings. Here is why some British Indian Army officers migrated to Australia to become farmers.
The Royal Warrant 1922 was put into effect in April 1923, and a number of Indian Army officers discovered that their positions were “surplus to requirements.”
One of the alternatives offered to these officers was the chance to relocate to the Australian state of Victoria with a sizable farming plot of land, reports Scroll.
In exchange for the officers taking out a loan from the company to pay the expenditures, which would then need to be repaid on a monthly basis, Australian Farms Limited would provide the land, tools, livestock, etc. necessary for the officers to establish themselves in agriculture.
The agreement also stated that Australian Farms Limited would obtain the gratuities that these officers would receive from the India Office after their discharge (such as pensions, annuities, bonuses, etc.), deduct their monthly payment from the gratuities received, and then forward the remaining gratuities to the officers.
However, issues developed in June 1925 when Australian Farms Ltd.’s voluntary liquidation was reported to the India office. The corporation had in fact been serving as the agents for these people, thus it was unclear how the officers’ gratuity would now be delivered to them.
Queries were made with the Government of Victoria to determine how many of the 93 people who had carried out these contracts were still actually working these farms, as some had sold their property and purchased themselves out of the contract, while others had their contracts rescinded by being recalled to the Army.
In June 1925, 80 people from the original list of 93 decided to stay in Australia and carry on with the land and farm. As the state government opted to assume responsibility for the settling of the property by the aforementioned officers, their contracts were reallocated to the Treasurer for the State of Victoria.
Consequently, arrangements were established for the gratuities to be paid in the future through the Government of Victoria. However, any officer whose obligation to Australian Farms Ltd was discovered to be unpaid at the time of liquidation was compelled to use their gratuity to settle that debt first.
Although a small number of the 80 people later decided to sell their property and move back to England, the vast majority remained in Australia.