Australia's Heritage Part 56 The Making of a nation Ex

Australia's Heritage Part 56 The Making of a nation Ex

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Australia's Heritage Part 56 The Making of a nation Ex
 
Australias Heritage Part 56 The Making of a nation  Expansion of the railways Soft Cover 1970
INTRODUCTION
Australia's progress to her present high standard of living has not been achieved without disappointments and setbacks. In this week's issue we can read of the boom of the 1880s. This, however, was to be followed by the depression of the 1890s, a pattern of expansion followed by recession which has, unhappily, been a regular feature of Australia's economic development.
The first problem during the early years after settlement was that of survival. It was not until the rapid growth in the wool industry between 1820 and 1850 that prosperity, as opposed to simple existence, became possible. Sheep brought great wealth and employment but 1842, a year of terrible drought, saw wool prices tall and labour costs, following the end of assignment, rise steeply. These and other factors rendered wool-growing temporarily uneconomic and resulted in widespread hardship and bankruptcy.
The shape of the Australian economy was radically and permanently changed by the discovery of gold. Nevertheless, agriculture remained the most important industry and when, in 1892, there began a run of bad seasons and the price of wheat and wool fell dramatically, there was very general alarm. The confidence of British investors rapidly waned and the colonial governments failed to raise the money they needed on the London market. The ensuing depression was severe, and sustained economic progress was not achieved again until the period before the First World War.
Increasingly restricted communication during the war compelled Australia to become more self-supporting, and in fact the years 1914-18 saw roughly a one-third increase in manufacturing production. The war was thus followed by a boom, which was in turn succeeded by the depression of the years 1929-33. Recovery was again slow and, once more, it was the outbreak of hostilities in 1939 which provided a much needed boost to the economy.
The future may be uncertain, but it is claimed by economists that many factors which cause depressions are now subject to control. If this proves the case, future generations of Australians may be spared the worst deprivations so unhappily experienced by their forefathers in 1842, in the 18902 and the early 1930s.

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