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. 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.
When the ship Sydney Cove was wrecked north of the Tasmanian mainland in 1797, more than 31,500 litres of alcohol went to the bottom with her. The wreck was rediscovered in 1977 and in the 1990s some of the beer bottles were found intact. Scientists and brewers collaborated to make the world’s oldest beer with living yeasts salvaged from those bottles. It went on sale in 2017 as James Squire The Wreck Survivors Ale.
The first coin to become official currency in New South Wales was the cartwheel penny, minted in London in 1797 and shipped to the colonies to alleviate the shortage of coinage. In the early days, coins from many countries were in circulation and their value was often in dispute. In 1880, when the pennies arrived Governor King issued a proclamation defining the value of the various currencies. The pennies were circulated in Australia at 2d (twopence) to discourage visiting merchants from accepting them and removing them from the colony. More
The first ten liquor licenses were issued in 1796 by Governor Captain John Hunter. The measure was intended to control the liquor trade. Among Australia’s first pubs to be granted a license was the Mason’s Arms (also called the Freemason’s Arms) in Parramatta. This establishment (albeit in a different building) continues to trade as the Woolpack Hotel. More
Settlement of the Hawkesbury area was initiated by Lieutenant Governor Major Francis Grose to help make the colony self-supporting. The rich land along the Hawkesbury River became known as the “granary of the colony”. The farms at Pitt Town Bottoms in the Hawkesbury area are Australia’s oldest still under cultivation. More
Successive governors of New South Wales failed to control the excesses of the officers of the New South Wales Corps, which became known as the Rum Corps. They had a monopoly over the trade in rum and much of the new colony’s food. Rum (a name given to any strong spirit) was used as currency and was both imported and manufactured locally. Governor Lachlan Macquarie eventually introduced a licensing system and established a stable coin currency which curbed the trade.
While Governor Phillip had insisted on equal rations for all in the new colony, his successor, Major Francis Grose, was less equitable. After a poor harvest in 1793, he cut the rations of convicts but not those of the New South Wales Corps. His land grants to officers of the Corps were intended to improve agricultural production, with the use of convicts as farm labour. Effectively, the Corps began to control the food supply, selling goods to the government store. More
John Macarthur was a lieutenant in the New South Wales Corps who arrived with the Second Fleet in 1890. In 1793, he was granted land at Rosehill, later renamed Parramatta. He named the property Elizabeth Farm after his wife. Macarthur was instrumental in the development of Australia’s wool industry.He wrote of the original cottage: “The house is surrounded by a vineyard and garden of 3 acres, the former full of vines and fruits trees, and the latter abounding with most excellent vegetables”. More
At first named Eastern Farms, this area of what is now Ryde became known as Kissing Point by 1794. It was originally inhabited by the Wallumedegal people. The first land grants, each of 30 acres, were made to ten emancipated convicts in 1792. The area became an important source of produce for the colony, supplying Sydney with fruit, vegetables, poultry, maize and pigs. More
The French navigator, Antoine Bruni d’Entrecasteaux, visited and named Recherche Bay on the extreme south-east corner of Tasmania in 1792 and returned in 1793. On one of these visits, a botanist from his party planted the first Tasmanian garden – a vegetable garden edged with stones. The remains of the garden were uncovered by archaeologists in 2003. More
Construction of the first government water mill began in 1792 at Parramatta. Thomas Allen, previously employed at King’s Mill, Rotherhithe on the Thames was engaged at a salary of £52 per annum, to work as master-miller for the colony. The construction was beset by problems. The water mill was completed in 1804 but lack of water, and then floods, hampered operations. More
In 1790, the colonists at Port Jackson faced their harshest conditions. Early attempts at agriculture had produced little. While hunting and fishing did supplement meagre supplies, starvation was a real possibility. Rations were reduced by two thirds, the weekly allowance per person being 2 lb (1 kilogram) of pork, 2.5 lb (1.2 kilograms) of flour and 2 lb (1 kilogram) of rice. More