Although a small military contingent set up camp at Albany in 1826, the first permanent residents did not settle there until 1831. The Swan River Colony, which was to become Perth, was pioneered by free settlers who were required to show that they had ‘improved’ their land before being granted title. However, beyond the immediate margins of the Swan River, the soil proved poor and the colony struggled for some decades. More
Damper, the traditional bushman’s bread originally made from flour, water and salt and cooked in the campfire, was first mentioned in Memoirs edited by Barron Field, judge of the Supreme Court of New South Wales from 1817 to 1824. According to the Australian Dictionary Centre the name is derived from a Lancashire expression meaning “something that damps the appetite”. Modern recipes often include baking soda or self raising flour, beer, butter or powdered milk.
James Busby (1801-71) was a pioneer of viticulture in New South Wales, emigrating with his family from Britain in 1824. He had studied viticulture in France and took up property in the Hunter Valley. He brought a collection of vine cuttings with him and worked to encourage settlers to plant vineyards. He published several works that were influential in the development of the wine industry in the new colony. He became British Resident in New Zealand in 1833, where he was involved in drafting the Treaty of Waitangi.
Ex-convict Bartholemew Broughton planted vines and fruit trees at Prospect Farm on the banks of the Derwent. By 1827 he was advertising “grape wine made in imitation of champaigne”. After Broughton’s death, a new owner, Captain Swanston, produced wines that were recognised internationally and on the mainland. Prospect Farm supplied the cuttings used by John Reynell to establish his vineyard in South Australia.
Although vines arrived with the First Fleet, Gregory Blaxland (one of the conquerors of the Blue Mountains) made the first wine exports from Australia. The red wine he sent to London in 1822 was awarded a silver medal by the Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufacturers and Commerce, later the Royal Society of Arts.
The Agricultural Society of NSW was formed in 1822, holding its first Show the following year. The Shows, known originally as ‘Exhibitions’, were initially held at Parramatta, then moved to Prince Alfred Park. The Society became the Royal Agricultural Society in 1891, an honour bestowed by Queen Victoria.