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Technology in Australia 1788-1988Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering
Table of Contents

Chapter 2

I Technology Transported; 1788-1840

II Technology Established; 1840-1940
i Meat Preserving: Heat Processing Introduced
ii Horticultural Products: Heat, Sugar and Solar Drying
iii Refrigeration and the Export of Meat
iv Milling and Baking
v Dairy Products
vi Beverages
vii Sugar: Supplying an Ingredient

III The Coming Of Science

IV From Science To Technology: The Post-war Years

V Products And Processes

VI Conclusion

VII Acknowledgements



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Brewing [89]

Colonial brewing, as has been seen, was decentralized and had to compete with beers and porters imported from England. Brewing at uncontrolled temperatures in the Australian climate militated against a good consistent product and few followed the example of the Bendigo brewers who installed a Harrison refrigerator in 1860.[90] In 1875, there was an outcry in Melbourne over the quality of local beer but the examination of some 700 samples showed that much of the concern was unjustified although some damage to the product and trade through contamination and adulteration continued.

Australian brewing practice was derived from England but there were differences forced by climate and raw material. Thus, the addition of cane sugar, which had been banned in England until 1847, was an advantage in Australia because local worts were higher in nitrogen. Under Australian conditions it was a technological advance but its use gave rise to newspaper controversy in 1898.

It was also an advantage to introduce under colonial conditions the cleansing system of fermentation recently abandoned in England, to use the preservative properties of sulphite and salicylic acid and of heavy hopping to control infection, and to give close attention to cleanliness.[91]

The most important change in brewing technology at that time was the development of pure strains of yeast to replace the 'starters', some contaminated with 'wild' yeast, which caused spoilage through secondary and tertiary fermentations. This derived from Louis Pasteur's Etudes sur la Bière published in 1876, and taken up by E. C. Hansen in the Carlsberg Laboratories in Copenhagen. Hansen developed the technique for producing pure strains and in doing so revolutionized the brewing industry.

At that time there was in Belgium a young brewer and chemist named Auguste de Bavay who had links with Pasteur and other research workers.[92] In 1884, he arrived in Melbourne to work in the Victoria Parade brewery and at once began to search for ways of overcoming the baleful effects of wild yeasts in the top fermentations which were then the only type of fermentation available to local brewers. In 1884, Hansen in Denmark showed that only pure cultures would suffice and de Bavay and C. W. Chateau Muller at Terry's West End brewery, also in Melbourne, at once began to apply this work with considerable success. In 1888, de Bavay developed the first pure yeast culture to be used commercially in Australia and, it has been suggested, possibly the first to be used anywhere in top fermentation. A second pure culture in 1889 'became the basis of colonial and Australian brewing; de Bavay had succeeded in producing a peculiarly Australian beer, establishing Melbourne at the forefront of brewing technology'.[93]

The associated technology of malting also underwent fundamental changes at this time. Overseas, floor malting gave way to the so-called pneumatic malting, in which cooled and moistened air was circulated mechanically through the barley. It saved space and labour, was easily controlled and could be carried on all through the year. It was introduced to Melbourne in 1880 by Burston and Company, using machinery made locally by Robison Bros. Others followed quite quickly but further overseas improvements related to kiln drying, crushing, and mechanical mashing, and the use of easily sterilized glass enamelled vats were introduced much more slowly.

Organisations in Australian Science at Work - Burston and Company, Melbourne; CSIRO; Robison Bros., Melbourne

People in Bright Sparcs - de Bavay, Auguste; Pasteur, Louis

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© 1988 Print Edition pages 104 - 105, Online Edition 2000
Published by Australian Science and Technology Heritage Centre, using the Web Academic Resource Publisher