Whilst the industrial revolution in Great Britain centered around producing goods on mass, steam engines, and poor people working in really poor conditions in large factories in order to boost the wealth of the middle classes, in Australia things were somewhat different in that its revolution was more powered by wind. In fact, the skyline of Sydney was dominated by the sails of windmills that were used for powering Australian-Owned flour mills.
The rise of Australian owned flour mills and businesses in general came about as a result of Australia’s isolation from the rest of the world, the high cost of transporting goods into the country, and likelihood of delays when goods did need to be transported.
It was these barriers that forced Australian owned businesses to adapt in a country where the climate and resources were very different to the rest of the world, particularly Britain. The process of trial and error was absolutely key in determining things, such as the durability and strength of local woods, the location of clay suitable for pottery and brick works, the properties of local coal for the purpose of making gas and powering steam engines etc.
Spinning machinery that was imported into the country had to be able to work with finer Merino wool, and copper and iron furnaces required altering in order to operate with the impurities present in Australian ore. Various other industries faced numerous difficulties on account of the country’s hotter weather, such as brewing where over fermentation was caused due to excessive high temperatures. However, this adversity only worked to encourage more enterprise and a can do attitude towards problem solving.
Those towns that were based in the more rural parts of the country developed a certain level of self sufficiency. What they did was provide a good range of services and products to their local communities and surrounding villages.
It was just a few hundred entrepreneurs that were responsible for establishing some of the most significant industries in the whole of Australia. This includes the likes of Walter Duffield who was a pastoralist and miller that brought flour mills to South Australia, William Sandford an ironmaster that established the Commonwealth Iron and Steel Company in Lithgow, and Thomas Mort who invented a way for effectively exporting frozen meat across the world.
The Australian government did not generally undertake manufacturing outside of the construction of trains and printing. All of the colonies, except New South Wales (NSW), where encouraging of manufacturing the giving bonuses to those companies that were able to produce firsts, such as glass, paper, woolen cloth, and pig iron.
The vast majority of manufacturing in Australia was done within the capital cities, as they were close to rail and shipping hubs. This saw the rise of a new class of rich factory owners. However, all this manufacturing caused these cities to become dirty and slum filled. In fact, both Melbourne and Sydney were said to be in a worse state than London.
Barry Lachey is a Professional Editor at Zobuz. Previously He has also worked for Moxly Sports and Network Resources “Joe Joe.” he is a graduate of the Kings College at the University of Thames Valley London. You can reach Barry via email or by phone.