British Empire
Living in the British empire - Australia
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Notice published by the British governor of Sydney in 1814 commenting on the issue of grain shortages
(Catalogue ref: CO 201/127)
  • This source was an official notice published in 1814 by the Governor of Sydney. Sydney was the capital of New South Wales. This was the first and most important colony set up by the British in Australia.
  • From the earliest times in the colony food shortages were a problem. The British hoped that the Australian colonies would be able to grow their own food after a certain amount of time. This took longer than expected because of difficulties such as climate, suitable crops etc.
  • The relationship between the settlers and the British rulers was not always easy either. The settlers received large amounts of help from the British government to set up their farms, clear trees etc. They also received free animals to start breeding herds, as well as free feed for the animals. By the time of this source the British felt that the settlers ought to be grateful to them. When food shortages hit, they expected the settlers to help them.
  • The settlers did not always see things the same way. They believed they were entitled to make a profit if food was scarce and the price of food went up as a result.
  • This is why the settlers are not putting in tenders (offers to sell grain to the government). They hoped that if they held on to their grain the government would pay much higher prices. This was a common occurrence in Britain and Ireland.
  • Also, the settlers often felt that the government restricted them, forced them to pay taxes and did not give them enough workers (usually convicts).
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