In 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
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.
The whaling industry was important to the early economy of New South Wales. The first Sydney-owned ship set sail in 1805. As well as providing an export commodity, whaling ships brought food and supplies to the colonists. As late as 1832, the industry accounted for 52 per cent of Australian exports. However, by 1855 this had fallen to 1 per cent as pastoralism expanded and petroleum replaced whale oil as a preferred fuel. More
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
The 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
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
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