19th century Australia development

  • Created by: WgouldUk
  • Created on: 23-02-17 17:03

The development of the whale trade

  • In the 1800’s exports of whale oil and sealskins enabled the colonies to buy the goods they needed for the new colony

  • Whaling began following the arrival of the Third Fleet in 1791 and was a significant industry for the colony for the next 70 years until demand for whale oil was surpassed by demand for petroleum

  • The contractors for the transportation of the Third Fleet, Enderby and Champion, had an agreement with the Bitish government that, once they had delivered the convicts, they would be able to go whaling and then return to London

  • 1805 onwards local whaling was able to make serious money for the colony- at the same time the colony began to grow enough grain and livestock to feed itself

  • The fact that the large harbour in Sydney and in the estuary in Van Diemen’s Land were teeming with whales meant that the trade could be piled from small open bottom dories (small harbour boats) rather than ocean going ships, which enabled cheap easy trade

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The development of the seal trade

  • In the 1800’s every part of the seas of south-eastern Australia teemed with whales and seals- exports of whale oil and sealskins enabled the colonies to buy the goods they needed for the new colony

  • Robert Campbell, broke the EIC monopoly on trade by sailing directly to Britain to sell 260 tons of seal oil, despite the EIC attempting to seize his and similar ship’s cargo,Campbell was successful in establishing free trade of skins and oil directly between the colony and England
  • 1826- officials warned Governor Arthur that the trade was under threat as there was no limit to seal killing during the breeding season

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The development of the wool trade

  • Gradually the wool industry became more and more significant within the colony as the numbers of sheep rose to 20,000 leading to the boom in wool trade
  • Wool would ecome so dominant in terms of the 19th c Australian economy that it was, by 1830, the second most important source of income for the colony

  • John Macarthur and wife Elizabeth was the driving force in the development of the colony’s woolen industry- Macarthur imported merino sheep and took Australia’s first export back to Britain

  • The sheep industry exploded between 1820 and 1840. In 1821, the first bale was sold in London and exports of wool were valued at £2 million by 1830

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Political development of Australia: a background

  • Initial settlement was essentially a vast open prison and the distance from London meant that early governors has almost unlimited power to run the colony

  • Unless events in the colony got out of hand (ie. Rum Rebellion) the British government had little involvement in the running of the new colony, although they could discipline governors or members of the NSW Corps under army or naval discipline

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The political affect of Lord Macquarie's administr

  • Macquarie’s governorship transformed the settlement from a prison to a colony with the size of the free population and the increased frequency of communications with London enabling more scrutiny of the colony and the governor


  • Macquarie’s paternal style and investing in Sydney’s infrastructure proved to be his downfall. Actions such as appointing an ex-convict as a magistrate acted as a ref raf to the Exclusives leading to wild rumours of the colony to circulate around England


  • Civil servants confronted with the accounts of Macquarie’s public building programmes and began to wonder if the colony was acting as a deterrent it was meant to as there were reports from judges of defendants requesting transportation at sentencing


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The impact of the Bigge report

  • 1819 Lord Bathurst (secretary of state for the colonies) appointed John Thomas Bigge as a commissioner of inquiry to report on whether transportation was an efficient means of punishment
  • Following trips to NSW and Van Diemen's land between 1819 and 1821 Bigge had concluded that Macquarie had taken the colony in the wrong direction

  • He recommended that:

  1. Convict labour should be assigned to sheep farms instead of public works programmes

  2. Early pardons, tickets of leave and land grants for emancipists should cease

  3. Positions of responsibility should not be given to emancipists

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The extent of colonial control by 1829

  • Following Bridges report, NSW Act was passed in 1823 by Britain which altered the the power of governors in the existing colonies and paved the way for self-government later in the century

  • A legislative council was created- members not elected but Exclusives were asked to serve in the assembly to advise the governors

  • Justice system became independent of the governor and a supreme court was set up with a chief justice

  • Van Diemen’s land was to operate as a separate colony and a legislative council and supreme court would operate there too

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The extent of colonial control by 1829 continued

  • 1828- legislative councils enlarged from 7 to 15 members of which 7 were nominated by the governor and the remainder by government officials

  • 1829, the powers of early governors had been restricted by frequent communications with London and by the requirement to formally consult the free citizens of the colony- this gave Exclusives considerable power by lobbying their connections in London and by their participation in the legislative council

  • Land grants were made to the Australian Agricultural Company in 1824, the Van Diemen’s Land Company in 1825 and the Swan River Company in 1829

  • These companies were granted land in Newcastle, Van Diemen’s Land and Western Australia and although they were supported by the British government, the patterns of imperial settlement had changed from government sponsored operations to a far more typical form of British imperialism in which private companies and settlers bore the risks of imperialism
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