The book on land ballots

10th January 2021

While the asset acquired in a land ballot was the land itself, when I interviewed people who had won land in ballots and their descendants, the greatest gift was the opportunity it gave them.
It was summed up well by this balloter from Wandoan who said ‘the opportunity to develop my own property. Without the lottery draw of the piece of dirt, we wouldn’t have had an opportunity – I mean, maybe, maybe, but it was the cost of getting that start, being handed a piece of dirt, that was the thing you wanted. … It was this opportunity to take a chance – and it was quite a chance’.


Draft outline Рfor your feedback please (see also FB @

There are likely to be some changes to this structure. 

Title: The gift with a price attached: Queensland balloter’s stories from the 1950s to 1970s

Part 1: Laying the foundations of the book

  • Highlights that the stories from the 50s to 70s are the core of the book
  • Methods
  • Summary of legislation and schemes; includes gov. blue print for land development in Qld

Part 2: Balloter’s stories from the 1950s to 1970s

  1. Post WWII and a development agenda: gov wanted more farmers to increase food production
  2. The gift: what was won in the ballot: opportunity; realisation of a dream; a way of life; and land.
  3. The price of the gift. The financial and human cost of meeting the lease conditions, on time, but without financial means.
  4. How the price was paid. Worked hard, worked smart and worked together.
  5. What helped and what hindered: Helped – support from family and friends and the gov. Hindered – the doubters.
  6. What was achieved. No work done here. Mostly about economic development.

Part 3: Other ballots and balloters. Times, types and places.


  • lists of types of ballot schemes
  • policy and legislation – the boring bits, but this is what drove land development in Qld for 100 years, and of which ballots were a small part.