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Some aspects of manufacturing development in Melbourne, 1870 to 1890

posted on 01.11.2019, 00:22 by Tasman George Parsons
Although Australia is a highly urbanised society displaying considerable manufacturing development, most historians have neglected the city and the factory in their explanations of Australia 1 s evolution in the second half of the nineteenth century. There is, however, growing recognition of the need to correct conventional accounts by systematic attention to urbanisation and manufacturing.

This thesis is an examination of manufacturing enterprise in the city of Melbourne during the years of the "long-boom", 1870 to 1890. The study is in three parts. In Part 1, six chapters deal with the general aspects of manufacturing development in the Victorian capital, concentrating on economic conditions, the location of industry, the role of the tariff, the level of technological development, and the significance of state intervention. It is argued that during the 1870s manufacturing in Melbourne grew rapidly, because of a process of import replacement , reinforced by government action in reserving contracts for colonial industrialists . Output expanded rapidly in the 1870s, but in the 1880s manufacturing development slowed because expansion was now limited by the growth of the domestic market. Urban-based industries dominated the "land boom" decade in Victoria . The tariff, which was designed ii primarily for revenue and only incidentally for protection, played only a small role in manufacturing development. This conclusion is supported by a study of tariff legislation, calculations of effective protective rates, and freight rates for key products (Chapter 4). Chapter 5 demonstrates the importance of government aid for the manufacturers of Melbourne. The study of technological innovation {Chapter 6) shows that the leading industries were those linked to the agricultural sector (e.g. agricultural implements and machinery) and those which were urban-based and consum.eroriented (e.g. brewing, flour milling). In general, it is argued that the strength of the forward-link~ge industries has been seriously underestimated. [...]


Principal supervisor

A.G.L. Shaw

Year of Award


Department, School or Centre

School of Philosophical, Historical and International Studies


Doctor of Philosophy

Degree Type



Faculty of Arts

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