Early in Our Story
“From the 1840s to the 1950s, the Australian economy was said to be ‘riding on the sheep's back'. Agriculture, especially wool, helped establish a thriving economy in Australia, with a substantial workforce, service industries and large ports. However from 1901 the reliance on wool exports declined and the variety of different agricultural exports increased.”
- Three months after the arrival of the First Fleet in January, the livestock in the colony consisted of seven horses, seven cattle, 29 sheep, 74 pigs, five rabbits, 18 turkeys, 29 geese, 35 ducks, and 209 fowls.
- John Macarthur bought his first merino sheep, recognised worldwide for its ability to produce wool which is soft and fine but strong. 1807, the Macarthurs sent their first bale of wool to England. Merino wool became the basis of Australia's wool industry.
- the Macarthurs sent their first bale of wool to England. Merino wool became the basis of Australia's wool industry.
- sheep numbers across Australia had reached 16 million, or around 39 sheep per head of population, compared to around 6 sheep per head of population today.
- market gardens were developed by Chinese people to service the diggings in the gold rush period, Australia saw a fresh supply of vegetables and sometimes delivery of fruit from Chinese market gardeners.
The land itself
“Farmers are environmental stewards, owning, managing and caring for 61 percent of Australia’s land mass. Farmers are at the frontline of delivering environmental outcomes on behalf of the Australian community, with 94% of farmers actively undertaking natural resource management. ”
active farms across all of Australia
of those farms have been handed down from previous generations
Working in agriculture
“The farm dependent economy - the agricultural sector plus the farm-output sector and farm input sector - employs 1.6 million people, or 17.2 percent of the labour force. Each Australian farmer produces enough food to feed 600 people, 150 at home and 450 overseas. Australian farmers produce almost 93 percent of Australia’s daily domestic food supply.”
billion a year
to our GDP
“Agriculture is not crop production as popular belief holds – it's the production of food and fiber from the world's land and waters. Without agriculture it is not possible to have a city, stock market, banks, university, church or army. Agriculture is the foundation of civilization and any stable economy.”
Allan Savory President and co-founder of The Savory Institute