Strangways Land Act

The Strangways Land Act was legislation enacted in January 1869 in South Australia to enable closer settlement in areas of the province suited to more intensive agriculture rather than vast pastoral runs on uncleared land leased from the government. It is named for Henry Strangways who was premier and attorney-general when the legislation was passed, and had previously been the Minister for Crown Lands.

Land had been surveyed and sold for farming in the more temperate climate areas of the province, and nearer to Adelaide, with the much larger expanses retained as crown land. Squatters had established pastoral runs in this crown land. A system of crown leases was established to provide some level of tenure to the pastoralists and income to the government from these lands. The parliament gained responsibility for these crown lands in 1857.[1]

Several attempts had been made for land legislation after 1857. A Select Committee on the Sale of Crown Lands was chaired by C. H. Goode in 1865, however its report was of marginal value.[2] Strangways introduced a bill in 1868 which was eventually passed in January 1869, despite conflict with pastoralists. There was an increasing demand for more land to be available for farmers to clear of scrub for the purpose of more intensive agriculture such as growing grain crops and mixed farming. The legislation provided for the creation of agricultural areas and sale of crown land on credit.[3] The Act allowed a person to purchase up to 640 acres (260 ha), with a payment of 20 per cent at the fall of the hammer at auction, regarded as payment in advance of the interest on the purchase money, the whole amount to be paid four years later.[4] There were regulations to ensure that purchasers farmed the land themselves. An amendment in January 1871 reduced the required initial payment from 20 per cent to 10 per cent, with a further 10 per cent to be paid three years later.[5] In August 1872 another act changed the time for payment of the purchase money to three years after the payment of the second 10 per cent (six years after the purchase), and by paying only half the purchase money at this time the purchaser could obtain an extension of up to four more years.[6]


  1. ^ Jaensch, Dean (1976). "Strangways, Henry Bull Templar (1832–1920)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. 6 (MUP ed.). Canberra: Australian National University. Retrieved 30 December 2015.
  2. ^ "THREE YEARS OF LAND REFORM.—ITS INITIATION". South Australian Register. Adelaide. 28 November 1868. p. 2. Retrieved 30 December 2015 – via National Library of Australia.
  3. ^ "MR. STRANGWAYS". The Express and Telegraph. Adelaide. 6 December 1917. p. 2. Retrieved 30 December 2015 – via National Library of Australia.
  4. ^ An Act to further amend the Waste Lands Act (No 14 of 32 Vic, 1868-9). (SA) Accessed 30 December 2015.
  5. ^ An Act to further amend the Waste Lands Act (No 27 of 33 and 34 Vic, 1870-1). (SA) Accessed 1 April 2020.
  6. ^ An Act to Regulate the Alienation and Sale of the Waste Lands of the Crown (No 18 of 35 and 36 Vic, 1872). (SA) Accessed 5 April 2020.