Australia in the 1830s

The expansion of the wool industry

Wool was the colony's most significant produce at this time. In 1830, the British Government encouraged free migration and private investment in the colonies. This led to significant expansion of the wool industry and the development of large-scale sheep farms. In 1824, the Australian Agricultural Company was founded in London and received a grant of 1 million acres in New South Wales to raise merino sheep. The company was to select the most advantageous site for the million-acre grant as the company's main objective was the production of fine wool, as well as of crops not readily available in England. They were to provide workers for the colony at no cost to the government and also employ a large number of convicts.

The company chose Port Stephens, Newcastle, Liverpool Ranges and Peel Valley for its sheep farming and used convict labour to run the stations. The opening up of the Port Phillip District, South Australia and Moreton Bay (what would become Queensland) meant the availability of more grasslands and an increasing number of sheep. In 1830 the value of the Australian export of wool reached £2 million and by 1835 whaling and sealing were replaced by wool as Australia's main export. The growth of the wool industry continued, with 2 million kilograms of wool exported in 1835, rising to 4.5 million kilograms in 1839. By 1838 Australia was challenging Spain and Germany as the largest supplier of wool to England. Japan was the second largest buyer of Australian wool after England.

Agricultural societies were formed during this decade, including the Royal Agricultural Society of Western Australia in 1831. The Cornwall Agricultural Society was formed in Launceston in 1833, and the Midlands Agricultural Society in Van Diemen's Land in 1838. These societies created opportunities to showcase stock, breeds and wool.

The expansion of the Wool industry_1830

A snapshot of 1838

  • January
    • John Pascoe Fawkner (1792–1869) founded the Melbourne Advertiser, the first weekly newspaper published in Melbourne. It was originally handwritten on four pages until a press and type arrived from Tasmania.
    • The 50th anniversary of the colony of New South Wales was held.

  • June
    • The Myall Creek massacre of 28 Aboriginal men, women and children occurred.

  • November
    • Pastor Kavel brought about 200 German dissenters escaping religious persecution in their own country to South Australia.
    • The Melbourne Cricket Club was founded.

  • December
    • Melbourne's first school opened at Batman's Hill.
    • The Jenolan Caves were discovered.


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