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

Chapter 12

I The First Half Century - The Initial Struggle

II The Second Fifty Years - The Start Of Expansion
i General Conditions
ii Early Iron Production
iii The Effects of the Gold Rush - Ballarat in Particular
iv Gawler - A South Australian Industrial Town
v Railways - A Major Employer
vi Brewing and Soft Drinks
vii Drink Containers
viii Food Containers

III The Third Fifty Years - Federation And The First World War

IV The Fourth Period - Second World War To The Present



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Railways - A Major Employer

Transport has always been vital to the existence and expansion of the Colony. Initially, major movement was by water, both sea and river, and thus stimulated boat and ship construction. Land movement remained very expensive and was invariably over difficult terrain that often became impassable in wet weather.

In Victoria, the early railways were privately owned such as the Melbourne and Hobson's Bay Railway Co. which constructed a line from Sandridge (Port Melbourne) to the City which opened in September 1854, three years after the discovery of gold at Ballarat. This became the first railway in Australia. Two other private rail lines were built, one in 1858 ending finally at Hawthorn and one from Spencer Street to Footscray. The Geelong and Melbourne Railway Company completed a line to Geelong and a further connection of Geelong to Ballarat was designed to help the gold mining industry but in the end was the cause of much reduced manufacturing activity in Ballarat.

Railways became a huge industry, with some 10,000 workers engaged by 1891, engines were being produced by the Phoenix foundry in Ballarat and sleeper cutting became a substantial part of the timber industry. The development of rail connections from capital cities to major country industrial cities led to the eclipse of the latter in many cases, for example, Ballarat. Further, where extensive government railway workshops were established in the city, it again led to severe reduction in industrial activity in the country, for example, at Gawler in South Australia.

Organisations in Australian Science at Work - Geelong and Melbourne Railway Company; Melbourne and Hobson's Bay Railway Co.; Phoenix Foundry, Ballarat

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© 1988 Print Edition page 857, Online Edition 2000
Published by Australian Science and Technology Heritage Centre, using the Web Academic Resource Publisher