1808 Australia’s first solar salt

salt makingIn the first years of the colony, salt was a valuable import and essential for preserving meat. Salt-making efforts began as early as 1790 and involved boiling down sea water.  Around 49 tons of sea water were required to produce one ton of salt. Around 1808 the Blaxland brothers began operating a salt works using solar evaporation on eight acres of swampland at their property Newington, on the Parramatta River. More

1806 Food crisis in Van Diemen’s Land

Within three years of the first settlement in Van Diemen’s Land, food supplies were so low the Governor needed to requisition stores from passing ships. In 1806, whalers from the Ferret were flogged for refusing to hand over two casks of biscuits and three casks of flour. More

1806 James Squire’s tavern opened

James Squire is generally acknowledged to be Australia’s first commercial brewer of hopped beer. His tavern, The Malting Shovel, at Kissing Point on the Parramatta River, was licensed in 1798 and opened in 1806. He grew Australia’s first hops and was supported by a government that saw beer as a more acceptable beverage than rum and other strong spirits.


1804 Tasmania’s first licensed public house

Hope & Anchor - first Licensed Public House

The Tasmanian Hospitality Association claims that the first legally licensed public house opened in Hobart Town’s first year of settlement. However, the first recorded mention, by diarist Robert Knopwood, dates from 1807. He mentions dining at the Sign of the Whale Fishery, later to become the Hope, the Anchor and Hope, the Alexandra and finally the Hope and Anchor. The hotel claims to hold the oldest licence in Australia. More

1804 Tasmania’s first game law

First game law protected black swansThe first European settlement in Van Diemen’s Land was  in 1803. Immediately,  the new arrivals began to shoot native birds and animals to supplement their food supply.  After Lt Governor Collins established Hobart Town on its current site in 1804 he made the first game law prohibiting the shooting of black swans during the breeding season. The intent was practical rather than humane. It was to ensure the continuation of the species, as he was afraid that such a valuable source of food would be exterminated. More

1803 Colonial food prices

From March 1803, the Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser reported prices for goods landed at Sydney Wharf from the farms at Kissing Point. Colonial food prices for 5 March, reported a week later, included peaches sold from threepence to sixpence per dozen and melons from four to five shillings a dozen. You could buy 100 pounds of potatoes for ten shillings, while full grown fowls were three shillings each. More

1800 First windmill in Sydney town

First windmill at left in view of Sydney Cove c 1800-01

‘View of Sydney Cove’ c. 1800-1801. (detail)

Marked as ‘Boston’s Mill’ on an early map of Sydney Town, the first windmill was more likely owned by the Commissary, John Palmer. Early records note that Palmer had spent a considerable sum on the mill and its associated bakehouse and residence. The mill was located on a ridge between Sydney Cove and Farm Cove – it is seen on the far left of this contemporary sketch of Sydney Cove. More