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"The world's uncultivated areas are mainly wheat-producing land." Geographically, with her wheat lands near the coast, Australia is better situated to supply an industrialized Asia with foodstuffs than are the inland prairies of America or the steppes of Russia. Thus the harbour formed by their submergence had escaped silt. But the plain behind lacked a fit scene for immediate agriculture, the hard labour to which the convicts brought by the First Fleet had been condemned; and it was walled off from the rest of the Continent by the Blue Mountain cliffs. Australia, Physiographic and Economic.] The only denizens of the virgin land were primitive hunting tribes who, by restriction of their numbers and by elaborate taboos, had adjusted their hunting to the supply of game.
Her industrial resources, well placed on the Eastern coast, would be developed in due course as the internal economies of an exchange kept technically alert by international competition. Till the mountains were crossed it was a port without a hinterland.* The great sandstone gorges thirty miles westward of the harbour beat back inland exploration for a quarter of a century. No competition with other races or cultures had narrowed their fields and enforced pasture or agriculture, the domestication of animals and plants in chosen spots.
With thinned ranks they came back, aware that the danger had been repulsed at heavy cost. In this access of wealth, Australians one and all talked of making their country more self-reliant.
Clever men stampeded the democracy into measures seemingly designed to make our economy a hermit one.
India, China and Japan are well started on the road to industrialism. Ages earlier, larger streams had carved out the deep valleys drowned under Port Jackson.
In a review of "The Food Supply and Resources of China", read during a recent Pacific Science Congress in Java, a Chinese economist, Shih Tsin Tung, concluded that industrialization and rising standards of living in China would force an increasing percentage of her 492 millions to rely on imported cereals. His countrymen, already consumers of 235 million "tan", or about 920 million bushels, of wheat, would therefore find it imperative to change their food habits. Back to Colonizing BOOK THREE THE COMMONWEALTH XXI. The headwaters of those streams had been captured in some great earth change by the Nepean-Hawkesbury river-system.
She is already finding lucrative and growing markets for her wheat in Mediterranean, Indian and Asiatic ports. The best of these, however, were liable to sudden devastation by the flood-waters which the Nepean-Hawkesbury system hurled seaward along one narrow valley.
And Britain's industrial responsibilities as centre of the world economy have again been divided amongst pupils and partners.Without restraint upon external borrowing, no economy can continue sound. Unlucky delays in re-victualling the little white population made equal rations an established rule of early Sydney. It confirmed in economic childishness that first company of marines and convicts.But there is no inconsistency between continued activity in international trade and financial self-reliance. Nor is there reason to doubt that all-round progress in the arts would come unforced from a policy of fruitful trade and international good feeling, and would make Australia greater in the councils of the nations and a stronger member of the British Commonwealth than she is to-day. Neither criminals nor warders make a positive contribution to the social economy of production and exchange.It was peopled first by outcasts, rebels and adventurers, stiffly governed for two generations by British officials, and to this day is largely financed by the British middle class.
For a full century the little communities were outworks of the industrial revolution in Britain.
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