||Technology in Australia 1788-1988
Table of Contents
I Technology Transported; 1788-1840
II Technology Established; 1840-1940
III The Coming Of Science
IV From Science To Technology: The Post-war Years
V Products And Processes
Technology Transported; 1788-1840  (continued)
Often the miller was also the baker, but others purchased flour and set up for themselves; in 1821 there were 52 licensed bakers in Sydney. Problems with the food supply led Governor King by an ordinance of 8 May 1801 to regulate milling and baking. The extraction rate was fixed at 76 per cent and for the next twenty years or so the price, weight and quality of loaves were controlled in New South Wales and Van Diemen's Land by fiat in the respective government gazettes. The punishment of the inevitable cheats was also recorded from time to time. Baking remained a personal art throughout this period and much bread was baked by housewives, but ships' biscuits for commercial rather than domestic consumption were being manufactured at least as early as 1829.
Brewing, too, was a farmhouse and village technology, though in England it was the first part of food production to be centralized as a result of the Industrial Revolution. Brewing depends on supplies of barley and hops but other raw materials such as wheat and maize and various bittering agents such as Lycopersicum spp., or love apple, may be used to make beer of a kind. Australia's first brewer was James Squire, who arrived with the First Fleet and brewed small quantities of beer from 1790. He used locally grown maize and barley with hops obtained from England. In 1795 he established a brewery at Kissing Point but lack of the proper raw materials and public preference for spirits were against him. In 1803, W. Stabler was advertising his own beer in Pitt's Row, Sydney, and in 1804 a brewery at Parramatta began production; but the supply of barley was unreliable and the hops were imported. James Squire may also have been the first to grow hops; he had two hundred poles growing in 1805, but New South Wales production languished. The Derwent Valley in Southern Usmania was far more suitable climatically and it was there that hop growing was successfully established by William Shoobridge in 1822.
Brewing expanded in the Sydney area. Eleven different breweries, though never more than four at once, were operating in Sydney in Macquarie's time, but poor technology, deriving essentially from lack of knowledge of things microbiological, together with the warm climate, was against any form of centralized brewing in Australia at that time.
In Van Diemen's Land, home brewing was attempted from the very beginning of the colony in 1803 but in 1806, in order to conserve what wheat there was for bread, brewing was forbidden. Later, there were several small breweries in the Hobart area and at Launceston, but there, as in New South Wales and later still in Victoria and the other colonies, climate, and lack of cooling facilities for storage and transport were against large breweries and favoured, indeed forced, the decentralization of this activity. Farmers' wives and innkeepers brewed their own beer as required and brewing remained very much a farmhouse and village technology. The number of breweries in New South Wales, for example, fell to single figures only in the 1850s, whereas those in Victoria under the impulse of the Gold Rush increased from 14 in 1850, to 125 in 1871. Of the latter, 99 were in the country.
The introduction of mechanical refrigeration in the latter part of the century aided the expansion of brewing to country districts and the establishment of breweries of significantly commercial size, but it was very late in the nineteenth century before the brewing industry became centralized to anything like the extent it had been in England by 1815, when eleven breweries were making 20 per cent of the beer being drunk.
People in Bright Sparcs - Shoobridge, William; Squire, James; Stabler, W.
© 1988 Print Edition pages 73 - 74, Online Edition 2000
Published by Australian Science and Technology Heritage Centre, using the Web Academic Resource Publisher