Probate and succession-duty records are a rich source of information about the living standards and material wealth of past communities. According to these records, the small, mainly rural, and comparatively egalitarian population of South Australia held a diverse array of personal assets at the beginning of the twentieth century. Despite the strong British influence on the former colony's culture, however, South Australia's distribution of wealth before World War I was more similar to that of the United States fifty years earlier than to that of contemporary Great Britain.

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