2022 Hallucinogenic spinach recalled

In December 2022, more than 200 people were poisoned by eating their greens. The hallucinogenic spinach had been contaminated with… Read More

2022 Top Australian food companies

In December 2022, Food & Drink magazine published a feature on Australia's 100 top food companies. Of the ten top… Read More

2022 Varroa mite threatens agricultural industries

Varroa mite is a small parasitic mite that attaches itself to honey bees. By feeding, it weakens the bees and… Read More

2021 Alcohol consumption increases during pandemic

In June 2021, Roy Morgan research found that the number of Australians consuming alcoholic drinks had increased significantly over the… Read More

2020 Chinese tariffs hit Australian exports

Beginning in 2020, China hit a range of Australian exports with new tariffs and bans in the guise of "anti-dumping"… Read More

2016 Shark Bay Scampi Caviar released

In 1984, the Melbourne Age ran an article announcing the beginnings of a new fishery on Australia's northwest coast. "Australian… Read More

2016 Free range eggs standard set

In a controversial move, the consumer affairs ministers from the various Australian states and territories agreed in March 2016 on… Read More

2014 Woolworths supports SPC Ardmona

In a PR triumph, supermarket chain Woolworths announced a five-year deal with struggling Victorian fruit packer SPC Ardmona to supply… Read More

2014 GMO legal case – neighbour vs neighbour

It was a landmark GMO legal case. A Western Australian farmer sued his neighbour after losing his organic status, when GM canola seedheads… Read More

2013 International year of Quinoa

It's touted as a superfood. Quinoa (which we all know to pronounce as keen-wah) is often described as an ancient grain… Read More

2013 Queensland redefines free-range eggs

Despite a growing community focus on the welfare of farmed animals, the Queensland Government  changed its legislation to redefine what… Read More

2013 First non-GMO certification scheme in Australia

European certification business Cert ID Europe, with food science consultancy HACCP Australia,  launched the first non-GMO certification program for the… Read More

2012 Australian Year of the Farmer

The Australian Year of the Farmer was launched by the Governor-General of Australia, Quentin Bryce, in October 2011 on the… Read More

2011 Greenpeace attacks genetically modified wheat

On July 14, Greenpeace activists in full biohazard gear, broke into a CSIRO research facility in Canberra and destroyed a… Read More

2011 Cyclone Yasi destroys banana crop

Bananas suddenly became a luxury item when Cyclone Yasi ripped through Queensland banana plantations in early February. It was estimated… Read More

2010 134,000 agricultural businesses in Australia

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, in 2010, there were an estimated 134,000 agricultural businesses across Australia operating on… Read More

2008 GM crop moratorium lifted

The NSW and Victorian governments lifted the moratorium on the planting of genetically modified canola early in 2008. With GM… Read More

2007 Australia’s first edible insect farm

In many countries, eating insects is no big deal. Here in Australia, First Nations people have been hoeing into witchety… Read More

2005 Farmers’ markets turn over $40 million

At the second National Australian Farmers' Markets Conference in Albury Wodonga the first substantive Australian research into farmers' markets was… Read More

2003 GM canola approved

In 2003 the Federal Office of the Gene Technology Regulator approved GM canola for cultivation in Australia. It concluded that… Read More

2003 Australian Farmers’ Markets Association formed

The driving force behind the formation of the Australian Farmers' Markets Association, and its first President, was food writer and… Read More

2003 Chia farm established in the Kimberley

It seems that every generation has its own superfoods. In the past, kiddies lined up for a spoonful of Saunders… Read More

2001 School garden program begins in Melbourne

In 2001, a community group calling themselves Cultivating Community partnered with celebrity chef and restaurateur Stephanie Alexander to found a… Read More

2001 – 2008 Millennium drought

The worst drought in living memory hit Australia’s south east and south west, impoverishing farmers and increasing food prices. The… Read More

2000 Gene Technology Act

The Australian Federal Government passed the Gene Technology Act in December 2000 to regulate the research, use and release of… Read More

1999 Broccolini first grown in Australia

Broccolini, a cross between broccoli and Chinese kale, was invented by the Sakata Seed Company of Yokohama, Japan in 1993.… Read More

1998-9 Egg consumption declines

n 1968 the American Heart Association announced a dietary recommendation that you should eat no more than 300 mg of… Read More

1996 Community gardens get organised

The Australian City Farms and Community Gardens Network was set up in 1996. The Network was started by Dr Darren… Read More

1994 First genetically engineered food

The FlavrSavr tomato became the first genetically engineered food to be commercially grown and licensed for human consumption by the… Read More

1993 Truffle farming starts in Tasmania

Two Tasmanians started Perigord Truffles of Tasmania, the first truffle farming operation in Australia. They inoculated the roots of oak… Read More

1991 Organic certification introduced

At the request of the organic industry, the Australian government sought to establish a national organic standard for production and… Read More

1991 The National Food Authority founded

The new National Food Authority promoted cooperation between governments, industry and the community to provide a safe and wholesome food supply.… Read More

1987 Commercial snail farming in Australia

The first serious attempt at commercial snail farming in Australia began in the mid-1980s and by 1987 Sonya Begg of… Read More

1986 Mad cow disease identified in Britain

Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) was first identified as a major problem in 1986 and traced to the practice of feeding… Read More

1985 Sydney’s first community garden

Sydney's first community garden, Glovers Community Garden, was created on 600 square metres of north-facing, sloping land when the Rozelle… Read More

1980 Kangaroo meat sales legalised in S.A.

Even when it became legal to sell kangaroo meat in South Australia this local game was slow to find its… Read More

1977 First Australian community garden

There had been community gardens in the past, during times of war and depression, but the first Australian community garden… Read More

1974 Pink Lady apples developed in WA

Pink Lady is a promotional name for an apple variety known as Cripps Pink. The apple was developed by horticulturalist… Read More

1973 Britain joins European Economic Community

The United Kingdom acceded to the European Economic Community in 1973 beginning a new focus for Australian exporters. The formation… Read More

1972 Marron farming begins in WA

The marron (Cherax cainii) is a large fresh water crayfish native to the south western areas of Western Australia and… Read More

1970 First commercial emu farm in Australia

The earliest emu farm in Australia appears to have been operating in the 1930s at Dromana, Victoria. It was pictured… Read More

1970s Permaculture concept developed

The permaculture philosophy of farming and sustainable living was developed by Bill Mollison and David Holgrem in Tasmania. It grew out… Read More

1969? Commercial crocodile farming begins

Although there were earlier "crocodile farms" it appears these were essentially zoos, whose major purpose was to attract tourists. The… Read More

1968 Luv-a-Duck founded in Nhill

It was August 2016 and we were headed for the Dimboola Food Festival.  An unlikely destination, perhaps, but among the… Read More

1960 Australian Wine Centre opens in Soho, London.

After World War II, wine exports to Britain resumed. To capture more of the British market the Australian Wine Board… Read More

1959 First Australian meat chicken breed

According to the Australian Chicken Meat Federation, until the late 1950s chicken meat in Australia was mainly a by-product of… Read More

1957 Global warming first mentioned

The first use of the term global warming was in The Hammond Times in Indiana USA. The article, on 6… Read More

1956 Tuna fishing industry in Port Lincoln

The southern bluefin tuna is prized by gourmets, particularly in Japan, where it is valued for sushi and sashimi. In… Read More

1955 Sunwhite Rice launched

In 1924, eight farmers in the Murrumbidgee irrigation area of New South Wales produced the area's first commercial rice crop.… Read More

1951 Experimental aquaculture in Queensland

Aquaculture in Australia traces its history back at least 8000 years, to a time when indigenous people in Western Victoria… Read More

1947 Golden Circle cannery opens

By the mid-1940s,  the pineapple industry was well established in Queensland. To provide marketing and financial stability, a cooperative was… Read More

1944 Frozen vegetables first processed in Australia

Amidst the food rationing of the war years, imported quick frozen vegetables became available in Australia. The first Australian plant… Read More

1944 World’s first organic farming society in Sydney

The Australian Organic Farming and Gardening Society (AOFGS), founded in Australia in October 1944, was the world’s first organic farming… Read More

1942 Women’s Land Army formed

When the Japanese entered World War II and young Australian men joined the armed services or war industries, there was… Read More

1942 Call for Victory Gardens

During WWII, a combination of labour shortages, drought and the difficulty in importing goods led to the threat of food… Read More

1937 Narooma fish cannery opens

The Narooma Fish Cannery was opened at the suggestion of Theodore Cleveland Roughley, an economic zoologist from the Technological Museum,… Read More

1937 First frog farm at Euroa

It was touted in American magazines as a money-making enterprise. Henry Jacka and Sydney Willson imported 'breeding stock' of bullfrogs from… Read More

1934 Introduction of the ute

According to legend, in the early 1930s the Australian branch of the Ford Motor Company received a letter from a… Read More

1934 Pearl meat industry begins

Pearl meat is the adductor muscle of the pearl oyster and is a by-product of the pearl and pearl shell… Read More

1933 Brahman cattle imported

Although other strains of Bos Indicus (Asian cattle) had been imported earlier, the breed now known as Brahman was first… Read More

1933 Australia’s first commercial mushroom farm

In Europe, people were cultivating mushrooms as early as the 1600s and, in the 19th century, commercial cultivation of "Paris… Read More

1930? Queensland bans peanut butter

It seems the dairy industry objected to the word “butter” being used for anything other than the dairy product. In… Read More

1929 Wine Overseas Marketing Board established

In 1929 the Australian government set up the Wine Overseas Marketing Board. It was financed by a levy on all… Read More

1929 Ginger industry established at Buderim

In 1929, a number of Buderim ginger growers formed the first Ginger Growers' Association with a view to developing the… Read More

1926 Edgell begins canning asparagus

Gordon Edgell and Sons of Bathurst launched their canned asparagus in 1926 after 18 years of experimentation in growing the… Read More

1925 The Empire Christmas Pudding

It started as a marketing idea. The original recipe for the Empire Christmas Pudding was published in an advertisement developed… Read More

1924 Kangaroo Butter shipped to England

From the 1920s to the 1970s, when UK shoppers bought Australian butter, they could be excused for thinking that we… Read More

1921 Group Settlement Scheme in WA

The Group Settlement Scheme in the south-west of Western Australia was a government venture designed to establish a dairy industry.… Read More

1921 Nellie Kelly passionfruit developed

The Nellie Kelly passionfruit is one of the most widely grown varieties in Australia, particularly in the southern states. It… Read More

1920 Streets Ice Cream in Wollongong

Streets Ice Cream was founded by Edwin (Ted) Street in Corrimal, a suburb of Wollongong, where he and his wife… Read More

1920s Tasmanian Leatherwood Honey sold at Strahan

It was one of the first Australian foods to be included in Slow Food International's Ark of Taste - a… Read More

1918 Inghams Chicken founded

Inghams Chicken was founded by Walter Ingham in what was then the rural area of Casula in New South Wales,… Read More

1915 Murray River Waters Agreement ratified

The Murray River, Australia's longest river, is bordered by three states: New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia. This has… Read More

1915 First soldier settler legislation

During and after WWI, soldier settler schemes were initiated to provide a livelihood for returning servicemen.  Five years after the… Read More

1910 Bulla Dairy Foods founded

Bulla Dairy Foods was first established by Thomas Sloan as the Bulla Cream Company in Moonee Ponds, Melbourne. Thomas had… Read More

1908 Quarantine Act passed

The passing of the Quarantine Act 1908 and its implementation in 1909 provided a national approach to the prevention and… Read More

1907 Australian Dried Fruits Association formed

In 1907, the  Mildura Raisin Trust and the Renmark Raisin Trust joined to become the Australian Dried Fruits Association (A.D.F.A.).… Read More

1906 Rice cultivation begins in SE Australia

The first person known to have planted rice in south-eastern Australia was  Jō Takasuka, an import/export merchant who had previously… Read More

1903 William Farrer’s Federation wheat

William Farrer bred various strains of wheat to resist the common crop disease of rust. After many years of cross-breeding, he… Read More

1901 A population of farmers

Australia's 1901 Population Census recorded around 14 per cent of Australia's total population as working in the agricultural and pastoral… Read More

1901 Peanut industry begins in Australia

As early as the 1860s, Chinese immigrants were growing peanuts in North Queensland. Commercial farming began in 1901 when Samuel… Read More

1900 Beginnings of Dairy Farmers brand

The Dairy Farmers Co-operative Milk Co. Ltd was among several dairy co-operatives formed in the late 19th and early 20th… Read More

1899 Cairns Coffee Growers Association formed

While coffee seed arrived with the First Fleet, the sprouted plants soon withered in the Port Jackson climate. Experiments with… Read More

1895 Packham Pear developed in Molong, NSW

The Packham pear, which today accounts for approximately 60 per cent of Australia's pear production, was developed by Charles Packham… Read More

1895 Norco founded in Byron Bay

Norco is Australia's last 100 per cent farmer-owned dairy cooperative, with a $651 million turnover as of 2023. It was… Read More

1893 Finger lime plants received at Burnley Gardens

The finger lime (Citrus australasica) is among the bush foods Australian chefs began rediscovering in the 1980s. But horticulturalists were… Read More

1891 Italian labour for the cane fields

Much has been written about the Italian influence on Australia's cuisine as a result of post-WWII immigration. That period, thanks… Read More

1891 Chickpeas recommended to Australian farmers

It came as a surprise to me to read that Australia is the world's largest exporter of chickpeas. But we… Read More

1890? Chokos introduced to Queensland

There's no telling exactly when chokos arrived in Australia. The plant renowned for scrambling over backyard chookhouses and dunnies is… Read More

1890s Frozen rabbit industry takes off

The introduction of refrigerated railway cars made it viable to ship frozen meat, including frozen rabbit, to major cities and… Read More

1888 Rice mill in North Queensland

Chinese prospectors attracted to north Queensland's goldfields were responsible for the first successful cultivation of rice in Australia, seeking to… Read More

1887 Tasmanian apples shipped to England

The introduction of refrigerated shipping allowed more primary produce to be transported around the world. The first cargo of cool-storage… Read More

1887 Yates seeds in Australia

Arthur Yates established his Australian seed business in 1887 as a branch office of the Yates business in Auckland, New… Read More

1886 Chaffey brothers’ irrigation schemes

George and William Chaffey  were Canadians who had worked on irrigation schemes in California. They  were invited to Australia by… Read More

1885 Bee sanctuary created on Kangaroo Island

Kangaroo Island in South Australia is believed to be home to the world's only remaining colony of pure bred Ligurian… Read More

1883 Cattle overlanded to the Kimberley

The northward expansion of Western Australia’s pastoral industry initially took place by sea, with sheep shipped to the De Grey… Read More

1883 Australia’s first agricultural college

Australia's first agricultural college was founded at Roseworthy, 50km north of Adelaide in 1883. It was followed in 1886 by… Read More

1881 Australia’s first dairy cooperative

The first dairy cooperative (and Australia's first agricultural cooperative), the South Coast and West Camden Co-operative Ltd., was formed by… Read More

c1880 The Furphy water cart invented

Not every business can brag about their name going into the language, but that's the case for  J. Furphy &… Read More

1880s Macadamia nuts commercially grown

Aboriginal people had been eating the native macadamia nuts for thousands of years, but they were not eaten by white… Read More

1878 Banana plantations in Queensland

The banana is believed to be indigenous to the Malaya Peninsula, Indonesia, the Philippines and New Guinea, but has been… Read More

1878 Great Artesian Basin discovered

The Great Artesian Basin is a natural underground water resource covering thousands of square kilometres in inland Australia. Natural springs… Read More

1877 Phylloxera affects Australian vines

Phylloxera, an aphid-like root louse that destroys grapevines, devastated up to 70% of Europe's vineyards at the end of the… Read More

1876 The first Ekka in Brisbane

It wasn't called the Ekka then, of course. The Intercolonial Exhibition of 1876 was the first exhibition of the National… Read More

1876 Stump Jump Plough invented

South Australian Richard Bowyer Smith developed the first Stump Jump Plough in 1876 and took out a patent the following… Read More

1872 Oyster farming begins in Sydney

With the depletion of natural oyster beds through dredging, attempts began to farm the Sydney Rock Oyster. According to the… Read More

1871 First milking machines in Australia

Modern dairying would be impossible without milking machines. But it took a century after the first such machines were invented… Read More

1870 Chicory on Phillip Island

According to the Phillip Island & District Historical Society, chicory was first grown on Phillip Island in 1870. It was… Read More

1870 First commercial olive oil production

Although olive trees were introduced to Australia in around 1800, it wasn’t until the 1840s that experiments in commercial olive… Read More

1870s Chinese abalone fisheries in Tasmania

Abalone was an important food source for Aboriginal people in Tasmania. Europeans called abalone mutton fish and found it nearly… Read More

1868 Granny Smith apple appears

The Granny Smith apple is named after Maria Smith, an orchardist in Ryde, Sydney. Maria discovered the apple growing on… Read More

1865 The Goyder Line

The Goyder Line is a line of reliable rainfall in South Australia. It separates land suitable for crops from general… Read More

1864 Trout introduced to Australia

In the mid 1800s, a group led by James Arndell Youl made several unsuccessful attempts to import live trout and… Read More

1864  ‘Meeting of the whistles’

A railway line to Bendigo was constructed by the government-owned Victorian Railways Department and opened in 1862. In 1864, it… Read More

1862 First viable sugar cane plantation

Although sugar had previously been refined in Australia from imported raw sugar, the move to local production began in 1862… Read More

1861 First Acclimatisation Society

The Victorian Acclimatisation Society was founded in 1861, largely through the efforts of Edward Wilson, editor of The Argus. Its… Read More

1860 First of the Land Acts

The Victorian Nicholson Act of 1860 was the first of several Acts passed in the 1860s with the intention of… Read More

1859 Wild rabbits released by Thomas Austin

In December 1859, the Geelong Advertiser reported that grazier Thomas Austin had imported "a considerable addition to the sporting livestock… Read More

1853 Paddle steamers on the Murray

River navigation became an important way to transport goods and supplies to and from farming districts. The first of the… Read More

1852 Vegetable garden on Victorian goldfields

As men deserted their farms to try their luck at the goldfields, production of food in Victoria fell dramatically. Food… Read More

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… Read More

1843 Ridley stripper harvester

John Ridley migrated from England to South Australia in 1840. He became a miller and wheat farmer and in 1843… Read More

1839 Beerenberg family farm settled

It was to be 132 years before the farm gained its current name. But the property which was to become… Read More

1836 Almonds planted on Kangaroo Island

Almonds arrived in South Australia with the first ship to bring European settlers to the colony. The Duke of York… Read More

1834 First colonial farmer in Victoria

In November 1834, six months before Melbourne was first settled, Edward Henty arrived at Portland Bay on the south coast… Read More

1829 First WA settlers required to farm

Although a small military contingent set up camp at Albany in 1826, the first permanent colonists did not settle there… Read More

1826 Pineapples first brought to Australia

Although some reports indicate that the first pineapples were brought to Australia by German missionaries who had travelled to Australia… Read More

1825 Van Diemen’s Land Company chartered

The Van Diemen's Land Company, one of the oldest companies in Australia, was created by Royal Charter in 1825. It… Read More

1824 Clydesdale horse imported to Van Diemen’s Land

Along with other heavy breeds, the Clydesdale horse has played a significant role in Australia's development, particularly in agriculture and… Read More

1819 Emu Plains Agricultural Farm

The Emu Plains Agricultural Farm was established to provide work for an influx of convicts after the end of the… Read More

1819 Mango cultivation on Murray Island reported

A newspaper report from 1819 talks of mangoes, among other fruits, being cultivated by Torres Strait Islanders on Murray Island.… Read More

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… Read More

1813 Crossing the Blue Mountains

Crossing the Blue Mountains had proved a challenge to the white colonists, although aboriginal people had been moving through the… Read More

1813 Colonists self-sufficient

A letter from Sydney dated June 30 1813 pointed to a flourishing agricultural and pastoral industry, making the colonists self-sufficient.… Read 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… Read More

1805 Sydney’s first commercial dairy

Sydney's first commercial dairy was built by Dr John Harris on his Ultimo estate, now an inner suburb.  Harris was… Read More

1805 Whaling industry begins in Australia

The whaling industry was important to the early economy of New South Wales. The first Sydney-owned ship set sail in… Read More

1795 Escaped cattle discovered at Cowpastures

In the earliest days of the settlement at Sydney Cove, the colonists were reliant on food supplies and animals they… Read More

1794 Hawkesbury area settled

Settlement of the Hawkesbury area was initiated by Lieutenant Governor Major Francis Grose to help make the colony self-supporting. The rich… Read More

1793 Poor harvest causes hardship

While Governor Phillip had insisted on equal rations for all in the new colony, his successor, Major Francis Grose, was less equitable.… Read More

1793 John Macarthur’s Elizabeth Farm

John Macarthur was a lieutenant in the New South Wales Corps who arrived with the Second Fleet in 1890. In… Read More

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