1847 Chinese labourers arrive in Adelaide

Labour shortages were an issue in mid-19th century Australia, particularly in rural areas. Importing Chinese workers was much discussed as a solution to the problem. The first 12 Chinese labourers arrived in Adelaide from Singapore in June 1847 to work as indentured herdsmen and shepherds. Others soon followed in Western Australia and the eastern colonies. More

1846 First meat canning in Australia

Meat canning - boiled mutton

The first Australian meat canning works were opened in Sydney by Sizar Elliot. Others soon followed and canned meat became a significant export to Britain. Canning plants were established around Australia, initially canning beef and mutton. By the 1870s, however, many plants were primarily canning rabbit as the introduced animals began to over-run farming areas.  More

1844 Penfolds wine company established

Penfolds logoThe company responsible for Australia’s most famous wine, Penfolds Grange, was established at Magill Estate in the Adelaide Hills in 1844. Founded by Dr Christopher Rawson Penfold and his wife Mary, its first vineyard was known as the Grange Vineyard, named after their new homestead ‘The Grange’. Mary Penfold managed the estate and early winemaking, becoming Australia’s first female wine-maker of note.


1843 Ridley stripper harvester

Ridley harvester posterJohn Ridley migrated from England to South Australia in 1840. He became a miller and wheat farmer and in 1843 developed a harvesting machine that reaped and threshed grain. In seven days it was able to  reap and thresh more than 70 acres, stripping the grain from the stalks. The South Australian Agricultural and Horticultural Society recognised his achievement and awarded Ridley a prize of ten pounds and ten shillings. More

1840s Sydney’s Flying Pieman

Flying Pieman - image pic-vn4652517 National Library of AustraliaWilliam Francis King, dubbed the “Flying Pieman”, progressed from barman at Sydney’s Hope & Anchor to making and selling meat pies. He plied his trade around Hyde Park and Circular Quay. King became famous for his extreme feats of “pedestrianism” – walking long distances in amazingly short times. More