1819 Emu Plains Agricultural Farm

Richard Fitzgerald

Richard Fitzgerald

The Emu Plains Agricultural Farm was established to provide work for an influx of convicts after the end of the Napoleonic wars. It initially accommodated 270 convicts and 11 overseers. Wheat, maize and tobacco were the main crops cultivated. The first superintendent  was an ex-convict, Richard Fitzgerald.


1815 Road across the Blue Mountains completed

William Cox - built road across the blue mountains

William Cox

William Cox was appointed by Governor Macquarie to construct a road across the Blue Mountains to Bathurst. New farming land was needed to support the growing settlement of Sydney. Cox completed the road in six months, following a route surveyed by George Evans the previous year.


1815 First steam-driven mill

John Dickson was a Scottish engineer who applied to settle in New South Wales. He arrive in 1813 and brought with him a steam-engine as well as other equipment and tools. Governor Macquarie granted him 15 acres at Cockle Bay for his steam-driven mill – Australia’s first. He was also granted 3000 acres near Camden as a grazing farm. More

1813 Crossing the Blue Mountains

Blaxland Lawson and Wentworth commemorative stampCrossing the Blue Mountains was first achieved by Gregory Blaxland, William Lawson and William Charles Wentworth. They successfully crossed the mountains to Sydney’s west, opening up new agricultural and grazing lands, augmenting the colony’s food supplies. More

1813 Meat and wheat plentiful

Leg_Of_Mutton Meat and wheat plentiful.A letter from Sydney dated June 30 1813 pointed to a flourishing agricultural and pastoral industry. “The colony of New South Wales is in so flourishing a condition, that a memorial has been forwarded by the principal inhabitants, through the governor, to his Majesty’s Ministers, praying, among other privileges, permission to distil from their surplus grain, and to export flour from thence to Great Britain; and pointing out that there is no farther necessity for any salt meat being sent thither, as the colony can furnish fresh beef, pork, and mutton at a cheaper rate.” (Caledonian Mercury 7 March 1814) More

1812 First water mill in Sydney

Thomas West who arrived on the Earl Cornwallis in 1801 received a conditional pardon because of ‘his general good conduct and character for Sobriety and industry and also in consideration of his having erected a Water Mill for grinding of grain at Barcom Glen within one mile of the town of Sydney, being the first Water Mill ever erected in the immediate vicinity of the Town’. (Caledonian Mercury 7 November 1814) More

1810 Food canning process patented

Food canning began with heavy soldered cansAlthough Frenchman Nicolas Appert earlier  pioneered the preserving of food in glass jars, it was an Englishman, Peter Durand, who patented the food canning process. He sold the patent to Bryan Donkin who began sealing food in airtight, tin-plated iron cans in 1813.The instructions for opening tins of roasted veal read: “Cut round on the top near to the outer edge with a chisel and hammer”. Canned foods were first shipped to Australia in 1815.


1810 The Rum Hospital

Governor Macquarie's Rum Hospital

1850s sketch of the Rum Hospital

The rum trade was influential in the new colony. When government funds were insufficient to build a new hospital, Governor Macquarie persuaded a consortium of businessmen to undertake the task. In return they were granted a monopoly on rum imports. What became known as the Rum Hospital, in Macquarie Street, accepted its first convict patients in 1816. More