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Research Guides


Land of Opportunity: Australia's post-war reconstruction


Primary industries

Commonwealth support for primary producers expanded during the Depression years, despite constitutional restrictions. At the Ottawa Conference in 1932, Australian negotiators secured preferential advantages for Australian meat, dairy products, fruit and wine. In 1934 the Australian Agricultural Council was set up to enable the Commonwealth and state governments to consult regularly on the marketing and economic aspects of primary production. In 1935–36 legislation established the Australian Wool Board and Australian Meat Board. During this period, Commonwealth subsidies were paid to wheat growers, bounties were paid on the export of apples, pears and other fruit, and grants were made to the states for the adjustment of rural indebtedness. The production of sugar, dairy products and wheat benefited from price schemes that provided for a home consumption price at a higher level than the export price.

Wartime agriculture

In World War II agriculture became a war industry, with certain foodstuffs declared to be essential commodities. The highest priority was given to production of food to meet the needs of the people of Australia and the United Kingdom, and also, from 1942 onwards, the American forces serving in the Pacific. Primary industries were subject to a plethora of controls that regulated the workforce, land sales, land usage, production, prices, subsidies, bounties, the allocation of machinery and fertilisers, transport, storage and rationing. They were administered by numerous boards and committees, as well as by the Department of Commerce and Agriculture, the Department of War Organisation of Industry, the Prices Commissioner, the Rationing Commission and the Manpower Directorate. War needs led to major changes in production priorities and output. Meat, dairy products, sugar, eggs, potatoes and other vegetables became priorities, although labour and material shortages, declining supplies of superphosphate, lack of machinery and the great drought of 1944–45 meant that production of many commodities could not meet demand.

In contrast, efforts were made to reduce the production of wool and wheat, which in 1939–40 had made up 53 per cent of Australia's exports. In 1939 the British government acquired the Australian wool clip for the duration of the war, but due to shipping shortages, millions of bales had to be stored in Australia. Wheat production was made subject to annual licences, limiting the maximum acreage of each grower, and production fell from 14.3 million acres in 1938–39 to 7.9 million acres in 1943–44. In 1942 the government introduced a stabilisation plan to provide a guaranteed price for wheat farmers. Later in the war, long-term purchase agreements were made with the British government for meat, butter, cheese, eggs and dried fruit. Marketing agreements and stability of prices and incomes emerged as the principal post-war aims of Australian farmers.

Rural Reconstruction Commission

Soon after his appointment as Treasurer in October 1941, JB Chifley spoke of plans for rural reconstruction, including the establishment of a mortgage bank and improved procedures for debt adjustment. In May 1942 Cabinet approved his recommendation for a Rural Reconstruction Commission. Chifley resisted proposals that organised interests should be represented on the commission. Instead FJS Wise, the Minister of Lands and Agriculture in Western Australia; Professor Samuel Wadham of the University of Melbourne; Frank Murphy, the Secretary of the Department of Commerce and Agriculture; and CR Lambert, president of the New South Wales Rural Reconstruction Board were appointed in February 1943. The secretary was RW Brownlie, PR Judd of the Department of Post War Reconstruction was the executive officer, and JG Crawford and some of his research officers provided assistance. The commission began its hearings in March 1943, and over the next nine months visited all the capital cities and 232 country centres and took evidence from 808 witnesses. Rather than being neutral fact-finders, the commissioners brought strong convictions to their investigations and often engaged in debate with witnesses. This was especially true of Wadham and Lambert, who worked full-time and drafted most of the reports. Although he was chairman, Wise was unable to give much time to the commission after 1944 and he did not sign the last two reports.

The Rural Reconstruction Commission produced 10 reports, the first in January 1944 and the last in August 1946. The subjects were (i) General rural survey, (ii) Settlement and employment of returned men on the land, (iii) Land utilisation and farm settlement, (iv) Financial and economic reconstruction, (v) Rural credit, (vi) Farming efficiency and costs, (vii) Rural amenities, (viii) Rural land tenure and valuation, (ix) Irrigation, water conservation and land drainage, and (x) Commercial policy in relation to agriculture. Delays in completing reports were sometimes due to strong disagreements, with Murphy dissenting from his colleagues on the sixth report and Wadham on the tenth. There were also long delays in releasing some reports, owing to Treasury objections to specific recommendations. Consequently, it was not until 1947–48 that the reports were considered in detail by staff of the Bureau of Agricultural Economics and by inter-departmental meetings chaired by Crawford. As many of the recommendations required action by state governments, the reports were discussed at a special meeting of the Standing Committee on Agriculture in August 1948. However a year later Crawford was told that there had been no further action by the Australian Agricultural Council. Most of the commission's recommendations were not implemented and the commissioners themselves were well aware that the federal system was a barrier to rural policy initiatives by the Commonwealth Government. Nevertheless the 10 reports constituted possibly the most comprehensive study of the rural economy and rural living conditions ever undertaken in Australia.

In 1946 the government issued 'A Rural Policy for Post-War Australia'. It acknowledged that some areas of rural policy were mainly a matter for the states, such as housing, electricity and other rural amenities, and it referred to examples of Commonwealth–state cooperation, such as the Standing Committee on Soil Conservation. At the Commonwealth level, it set out four objectives (i) to promote general economic and employment policies in order to ensure adequate markets for rural industries, (ii) to provide greater stability and security for farm incomes, (iii) to promote more efficient farm practices and (iv) to conserve and develop water, soil and other resources.

Marketing of primary products

Overseas marketing and prices policy were major concerns of the government in the immediate years after the war. The long-term contracts with the United Kingdom covered exportable surpluses of meat, dairy products, eggs and dried fruits until 1948 or 1949. Some of these agreements were later extended well into the 1950s. The sugar agreement between the Commonwealth and Queensland, which originated in 1925, was amended in 1947, increasing both wholesale and retail prices. The recovery of the wheat industry was hampered by superphosphate shortages, import restrictions on tractors and other machinery, and shipping difficulties. The need for a stabilisation scheme was widely accepted, but the defeat of the 1946 marketing referendum necessitated lengthy negotiations with the states, as well as with producer organisations. Finally, in 1948 the Commonwealth and the states introduced legislation whereby the states would fix prices for local consumption, while the Commonwealth levied an export tax and established a price stabilisation fund. The Australian Wheat Board would handle all sales, both domestic and overseas, and the Commonwealth would guarantee a minimum price equal to the cost of production. In 1949 an International Wheat Agreement came into operation, with Australia granted a quota of 89 million bushels (15 per cent). The stabilisation scheme was supported in ballots of farmers in 1948 and 1954, and it continued with very few changes until 1968. It provided protection from sharp fluctuations, but it denied them the high prices that overseas buyers were willing to pay. As a result, many wheat farmers switched to wool and wheat acreage declined for several years.

Woolgrowers favoured a return to a free auction market, but during the war they had been insulated against fluctuations in demand and they feared that post-war surpluses might result in falling prices. Under the agreement with United Kingdom Dominion Wool Disposals, they were safeguarded by a guaranteed minimum price which continued until surplus stocks had been sold. By 1949 the wartime stocks had almost disappeared. Sheep numbers and wool production had fallen sharply in 1944–45, but they quickly recovered and prices rose rapidly after the resumption of auctions in 1946. The world consumption of wool also increased significantly and by 1949–50 Australian wool prices were three times higher than in 1946. Wool accounted for about 42 per cent of Australian exports and high wool prices were a significant factor in rising inflation in Australia after 1948.

Research and planning

The Rural Reconstruction Commission emphasised research, education, extension services and planning to combat such problems as erosion, declining soil fertility, inefficient farm sizes and poor land management. The Chifley government took a number of measures to promote research and planning. The commission's recommendations on soil erosion were considered by an inter-departmental committee in January 1945 and, following discussion at the premiers conference, a Standing Committee on Soil Conservation was appointed. In 1948 the government set up a Commonwealth Territories Soil Conservation Service to carry out surveys and disseminate information to landholders. Under the Wool Use Promotion Act 1945, a Wool Research Trust Fund was established, funded partly by the tax on wool, to support research on wool and woollen textiles. The research was mainly carried out by CSIR, and it also received additional funding for research on insecticides, weed control and trace elements.

The most important initiative was the creation of the Bureau of Agricultural Economics in 1945. Apart from specific functions relating to soldier settlement, the Rural Reconstruction Commission reports and the Food and Agriculture Organization, it was required to carry out a wide range of economic research, including the economic outlook for the various primary industries. The results of the research was publicised in its Bulletin, which began publication in 1946, and the Quarterly Review of Agricultural Economics (1948), as well as in monographs such as Economic Outlook for the Fat Lamb Industry (1947), Economic Outlook for the Pig Industry (1948), Statistical Handbook of the Sheep and Wool Industry (1949) and The Australian Potato Industry (1949).

Cabinet
CURTIN, FORDE AND CHIFLEY MINISTRIES: CABINET MINUTES AND AGENDA, 1941–49
Series: A2700
Rural reconstruction, 21 May 1942 245
International wheat agreement: questions concerning price fixation, 27 March 1944 640
Assistance to the dairying industry, 10 May 1944 649
Long-term purchase arrangements for meat, 10 May 1944 653
Wool research, 10 May 1944 655
Wool research, 31 May 1944 655A
Wool research, 25 September 1944 741
Drought relief, 10 November 1944 750
Drought relief, 6 March 1945 750A
Wool marketing: post-war disposal of stocks accumulated during the war, 6 December 1944 759
Soil erosion and conservation, 2 February 1945 787
Wool disposals plan, 18 June 1945 867
Proposed wool agreement, 30 July 1945 867A
Renewal of sugar agreement, 4 September 1945 909
Revision of sugar agreement, 2 February 1947 909A
Meat industry: future control, 20 November 1945 975
Australian Wool Realisation Commission: establishment and personnel, 30 October 1945 984
Establishment of a whaling industry, 20 November 1945 989
Wheat stabilisation, 20 November 1945 996
Barley: post-war marketing plans, 12 May 1947 1157B
Wheat for export, 1 May 1946 1165
Seventh report of the Rural Reconstruction Commission, 1 May 1946 1166
Eighth report of the Rural Reconstruction Commission, 19 November 1946 1166A
Fourth and fifth reports of the Rural Reconstruction Commission, 25 November 1947 1166B
Dairy industry assistance, 14 June 1946 1193
Dairy industry, 15 April 1947 1193A
International Wheat Agreement, 16 March 1948 1300B
Cotton growing industry, 25 October 1949 1654
Production Executive
PRODUCTION EXECUTIVE AGENDA PAPERS, 1941–45
Series: A2866
W6
JJ Dedman. Assistance to the dairying industry, 15 April 1944
47/1944
W6
WJ Scully. Long-term contracts for meat and dairy products, 1 May 1944
58/1944
W6
JB Chifley and JJ Dedman. Development of cooperative societies in the fishing industry, 16 June 1944
74/1944
W7
WJ Scully and JJ Dedman. Soil erosion and conservation, 19 June 1945
57/1945
W8
RV Keane. Dairy industry assistance, 25 October 1945
110/1945
Bureau of Agricultural Economcs
CORRESPONDENCE FILES, 1946–75
Series: A1422
Rural Reconstruction Commission, 1946–49
Summaries of reports, a draft Cabinet submission (April 1948) on the recommendations of the Rural Reconstruction Commission, minutes of inter-departmental meetings (17–26 February 1948) to consider the recommendations (chair: JG Crawford), minutes of a special meeting (30–31 August 1948) of the Standing Committee on Agriculture, and related correspondence. The correspondents include JG Crawford, E Wood, F Grogan, R Wilson, HC Coombs and FJS Wise.
13/1/1-13/1/13
Rural Reconstruction Commission reports, 1943–49
Correspondence and other papers relating to the content, release and publication of the reports of the Rural Reconstruction Commission. The correspondents include JB Chifley, HC Coombs, AS Brown, JG Crawford, E Wood, SM Wadham, CR Lambert, JF Murphy, HT Armitage, GT Chippindall and FW Bulcock.
14/2/4-14/2/40
Department of Commerce and Agriculture
CORRESPONDENCE (A SERIES), 1943–91
Series: A604
Central Wool Committee: annual reports, 1940–45
Annual reports (1940–45) of the Central Wool Committee (chair: Sir Owen Dixon, WFL Owen) and related correspondence.
A18/7/4
CORRESPONDENCE FILES (RESEARCH AND RECONSTRUCTION), 1943–51
Series: A606
3rd report of the Rural Reconstruction Commission, 1945–46
Includes the minutes of an inter-departmental meeting (12 July 1945) to consider the establishment of an agro-climatological service (chair: WT Doig).
R3/1/1
Agriculture and food: Australia's policy of protection in relation to rural production, 1943–44
Includes letters (2 March 1944) from CR Lambert to CL Steele enclosing notes by JF Nimmo on Australian protection policy in relation to rural production.
R40/2/14
CORRESPONDENCE FILES, 1948–56
Series: A609
Australian Wheat Board minutes, 1945–48
Minutes of meetings (March 1945–December 1948) of the Australian Wheat Board (chair: Sir Clive McPherson, Sir Louis Bussau).
10/18/4-7
Fisheries Division: Commonwealth–State cooperation, 1947–48
Minutes of a conference (24–27 February 1947) of Commonwealth and state fisheries officers (chair: FF Anderson) and correspondence regarding Commonwealth–state cooperation, whaling proposals, and the rehabilitation of the pearling industry.
105/14/3
Rural reconstruction: general, 1941–50
Reports, correspondence, addresses and newspaper cuttings on wartime agricultural planning, agricultural reconstruction, the Western Australian comprehensive water supply scheme, overseas developments, and the 1948 British Food Mission. The correspondents include WJ Scully, E McCarthy, JG Crawford and LF Loder.
255/1/1
Rural Reconstruction Commission, 1943–51
Correspondence concerning the establishment of the Rural Reconstruction Commission, meetings of the commission, statements forwarded to the commission, and meetings between research officers of the Department of Commerce and Agriculture and the Department of Post War Reconstruction. The correspondents include JF Murphy, E McCarthy, CL Steele, JG Crawford and CR Lambert.
255/1/2-4
Policy of farmers' organisations, 1943–45
Statements and correspondence about the post-war policies of the Farmers and Settlers Association of New South Wales, the Graziers Association of New South Wales, the Primary Producers Council of Australia and other organisations.
255/1/5
Dairy industry, 1943
Report [April 1943] of the Rural Sub-Committee of the New South Wales Reconstruction Advisory Committee on the post-war dairy industry.
255/1/6
Agricultural economics: proposals for research, 1941–47
Proceedings of a conference (24 July 1941) on the training of agricultural economists (chair: E Ashby) and correspondence on a proposed Commonwealth Rural Advisory Bureau, the need for research in agricultural activities, and the establishment and activities of the Bureau of Agricultural Economics. The correspondents include JF Murphy, JA Tonkin, E McCarthy, JG Crawford and HC Coombs.
255/2/3
Standing Committee on Soil Conservation, 1946–54
Includes the agenda and minutes of the first meeting (12–13 June 1946) of the Standing Committee on Soil Conservation (chair: E McCarthy).
255/4/9
Wool Use Promotion Act, 1945–50
Parliamentary questions, financial statements and correspondence about the 1945 Wool Use Promotion Bill, the Wool Research Trust Fund, grants to educational institutions, expenditure on wool research, relations between the Bureau of Agricultural Economics and the Australian Wool Realisation Commission, and the appointment of JG Crawford as Commonwealth Wool Adviser. The correspondents include WJ Scully, RT Pollard, E McCarthy, JF Murphy, JG Crawford, PA Reid and H Thomson.
316/1/9 Pt 1
American wool market, 1942–55
Correspondence, cables, statements and newspaper cuttings concerning the American domestic wool clip, wool duties, price control of wool, wool requirements of the United States army, sales of stockpiled wool, shipping delays, Australian wool prices, and wool consumption in the United States. The correspondents include JF Murphy, H Thomson, JU Garside, RR Ellen and WA Westerman.
317/1/1-3
Wool for Japan, 1945–49
Cabinet submissions, parliamentary questions and correspondence about the sale of raw wool to Japan, the selection of wools, negotiations with the Supreme Commander of Allied Powers, the drafting of the Wool Reciprocal Agreement, the Australian mission to Japan (September 1947), pre-war trade, and the rehabilitation of the Japanese wool industry. The correspondents include RT Pollard, E McCarthy, JA Tonkin, JF Murphy, GV Williams and SF Lynch.
317/20/2-5
Wheat: Eastern trade, 1942–47
Parliamentary questions and correspondence mainly concerning the food situation in India and the supply of wheat to India. The correspondents include RT Pollard, JF Murphy, E McCarthy and JA Tonkin.
354/17/1 Pt 3
Re-establishment of the pearling industry in Australia, 1946–49
Minutes of a conference (5–7 October 1948) of pearlers and departmental representatives at Darwin (chair: FF Anderson); and correspondence and reports on the pearling situation at Thursday Island and Broome; the design of pearling vessels; the proposed establishment of a marketing pool; recommendations of the Northern Australia Development Committee; and the American market for pearls. The correspondents include JB Chifley, RT Pollard, JJ Dedman, E McCarthy, JG Crawford, FF Anderson and MP Hay.
520/1/2
Department of External Affairs
CORRESPONDENCE FILES, 1943–44
Series: A989
Economic reconstruction: commodities: wool, 1943–44
Correspondence and newspaper cuttings on the future of the wool industry, including a memorandum (7 March 1944) by the Australian Wool Producers Federation on post-war marketing of wool.
1943/735/91
Department of Post War Reconstruction
CORRESPONDENCE FILES OF THE ECONOMIC POLICY DIVISION, 1944–49
Series: A9790
Export income and primary producers' income, 1947–49
Includes an investment and employment committee paper (6 August 1947) on the stabilisation of primary producer incomes and notes (9 March 1949) by JG Crawford on export industries in relation to the general economy.
211
Bureau of Agricultural Economics: progress reports, 1947–49
Reports (August 1947 – September 1949) by JG Crawford to the Minister for Commerce and Agriculture on the work of the Bureau of Agricultural Economics.
212
Wool: general, 1945–50
Papers relating to the post-joint organisation marketing of wool, including evidence given by JG Crawford (25 November 1947), a report (April 1949) of a committee of the Australian Woolgrowers Council, and notes (27 June 1949) by RJ Randall.
221
Meat, 1946–48
Correspondence, notes and newspaper cuttings on meat production, rationing and consumption, including a report (28 February 1946) by JB Cumming, JA Tonkin and ME McCarthy on the meat situation.
223
Rural Reconstruction Commission: general, 1947–49
A summary of the recommendations of the Rural Reconstruction Commission and related correspondence, including references to the proposed National Council of Farmers. The correspondents include JJ Dedman, JG Crawford, SM Wadham and JW Allen.
241
CORRESPONDENCE FILES, 1941–50
Series: A9816
Primary industries: fishing, 1943–44
Correspondence concerning post-war development of Australian fisheries, the possible depletion of stocks, cooperatives in the fishing industry, and the wartime and post-war activities of the Fisheries Division. The correspondents include JB Chifley, JG Crawford, GT Chippindall and H Thompson.
1943/389 Pt 1
Research on internal subjects: irrigation settlements, 1942–45
Correspondence of JG Crawford on research at the University of Melbourne on irrigation settlements in Victoria and plans of the South Australian government to develop irrigated areas.
1943/582
Research on internal subjects: rural labour problems, 1940–45
Correspondence about rural wage rates and rural labour statistics. The correspondents include E McCarthy, SR Carver and Sheila Rowley of the University of Western Australia.
1943/583
Wool, 1944–45
Correspondence relating to a survey of the wool textile industry by the Secondary Industries Commission, the Wool Use Promotion Act 1945, the supply of raw wool to China, and other topics. The correspondents include JG Crawford, JK Jensen, K Brodribb and HR Cowdery.
1943/586 Pt 1
Research on internal subjects: rural credit problems, 1942–46
Correspondence between JG Crawford, LG Melville, JM Garland and CP Dowsett relating to estimates of rural indebtedness in Australia and recommendations of the Rural Reconstruction Commission.
1943/595
Wheat: general, 1945–48
Correspondence, cables and press statements, including a letter (23 January 1946) from JJ Dedman to the RSL on the rehabilitation of soldier settlers in marginal wheat areas in New South Wales.
1943/712
Forestry: policy matters, 1942–47
Correspondence about post-war forestry programs, forest resources, control and production of timber and the proposed functions of the Forestry and Timber Bureau. The correspondents include HC Coombs, Sir Harry Brown, LF Crisp, KJ McKenzie, CE Lane-Poole, SL Kessell and S Clarke.
1943/714
Research on internal subjects: cotton, 1941–46 (2 parts)
Correspondence about cotton production in Australia, the report (29 May 1944) of the Textile Advisory Panel on cotton, and production goals. The correspondents include RV Keane, HC Coombs, JG Crawford, GG Firth, W Ives and JK Jensen.
1943/940
Research for Rural Reconstruction Commission, 1943–44
Correspondence relating to research undertaken by Department of Post War Reconstruction officers for the Rural Reconstruction Commission. The correspondents include HC Coombs, LG Melville, JG Crawford, SM Wadham, JF Murphy and R Brownlie.
1943/1152
Rural Reconstruction Commission: policy and research on international aspects, 1943–45
Correspondence and memoranda concerning research on international aspects of rural reconstruction, the 1943 International Food Conference, and overseas agricultural development. The correspondents include HC Coombs, AH Tange and PR Judd.
1943/1362
Department of War Organisation of Industry
AGENDA, MINUTES AND CORRESPONDENCE OF THE PRICE STABILISATION COMMITTEE, 1943–46
Series: A12175
Dairy industry assistance, 1945
Review (16 October 1945) by the Prices Commissioner of subsidies for dairy products and a Production Executive submission (25 October 1945).
11
SECRET CORRESPONDENCE (S SERIES), 1940–46
Series: CP80/1
Assistance to dairying industry, 1944
Report (March 1944) of the Inter-Departmental Committee on the Dairying Industry (chair: GT Chippindall) and related correspondence and minutes.
Bundle 13/S648
Sugar production goal, 1943–45
Cabinet and Production Executive submissions, memoranda of the Inter-Departmental Committee on Production Goals, and correspondence and minutes on the production goals for sugar in 1944–46, the Commonwealth–Queensland Sugar Agreement, sugar stocks and the workforce position. The correspondents include RV Keane, JJ Dedman, GT Chippindall, PC Greenland and CM Donald.
Bundle 22/S950/1-3
Meat Industry Advisory Committee: minutes, 1944–45
Minutes of meetings (August 1944 – February 1945) of the Meat Industry Advisory Committee (chair: JA Tonkin).
Bundle 23/S960/14
Prime Minister's Department
CORRESPONDENCE FILES, 1934–50
Series: A461
Dairy industry: policy, 1943–46
Cabinet submissions, parliamentary questions, correspondence and statements about problems of the dairy industry, subsidies, and the establishment of the Joint Dairying Industry Advisory Committee.
B325/2/1 Pt 2
Wheat: general, 1943–47
Parliamentary questions and correspondence concerning the financial position of wheat farmers, shortages of wheat supplies, the effects of drought, crop production, and the import of wheat to New South Wales, Tasmania and Queensland (1946–47).
A325/9/1 Pt 7
Stabilisation of wheat industry: policy, 1941–47
Parliamentary questions and correspondence of J Curtin and JB Chifley, mainly with state premiers, on the administration of the Wheat Stabilisation Scheme, advances to wheat growers, resolutions of the Australian Wheat Growers Federation, the continuation of the wartime wheat marketing scheme, and the Wheat Industry Stabilisation Act 1946.
D325/9/3 Pt 7
Sale of wool: policy, 1943–49
Parliamentary questions and correspondence of J Curtin and JB Chifley with British officials, the Australian High Commission in London, the Central Wool Committee and wool producers concerning the British Wool Purchase Agreement, prices of manufactured woollen products, British proposals for the liquidation of wool stocks after the war, and sales by the joint organisation.
Q325/10/1 Pt 4
Post war reconstruction: rural reconstruction, 1942–50 (2 parts)
Correspondence of J Curtin and JB Chifley, mainly with ministers and state premiers, concerning the establishment of the Rural Reconstruction Commission, rural training of ex-servicemen, rural credit and the central banking system, leasehold tenure, and Commonwealth–state consideration of reports of the commission.
D387/1/1
Rural Reconstruction Commission
TRANSCRIPTS OF EVIDENCE OF THE RURAL RECONSTRUCTION COMMISSION, 1943–44
Series: A6182

Transcripts of evidence submitted to the Rural Reconstruction Commission.
REPORTS OF THE RURAL RECONSTRUCTION COMMISSION, 1944–47
Series: A6188

The 10 published reports (January 1944 – August 1946) of the Rural Reconstruction Commission.
CORRESPONDENCE RELATING TO THE PREPARATION AND PUBLICATION OF REPORTS, 1943–48
Series: A6189

Correspondence of members of the Rural Reconstruction Commission concerning progress in drafting their reports, dissent on particular recommendations, comments and criticisms of other individuals, and presentation of the reports to the government. The correspondents include SM Wadham, JF Murphy, FJS Wise, CR Lambert, R Brownlie, PR Judd, P Lang, LF Giblin and GL Wood.
Treasury
CORRESPONDENCE FILES, 1901–76
Series: A571
1st, 2nd and 3rd reports of the Rural Reconstruction Commission, 1944–47
Correspondence and notes mostly about the need for rural banks and the relationship between the Commonwealth Bank and the Western Australian Rural and Industries Bank.
1944/541
Sir Douglas Copland
RECORDS OF THE ECONOMIC CONSULTANT (RECONSTRUCTION), 1940–45
Series: CP6/1
Agriculture and nutrition: Food Conference, 1943
Correspondence, cables and reports of the United Nations Conference on Food and Agriculture at Hot Springs, Virginia (18 May – 3 June 1943) and the Interim Commission on Food and Agriculture.
2
Agriculture and nutrition: primary products, 1942–45
Includes cables (December 1942) on British proposals for the international regulation of primary products, a statement (24 March 1943) by WJ Scully on price control for primary products, and a memorandum (18 June 1943) by Copland entitled 'War and post-war finance and the farmer'.
5
Agriculture and nutrition: rural reconstruction, 1943–44
Papers on the investigations of the Rural Reconstruction Commission, including a comparison prepared by the prices branch of farm costs in 1939 and 1944.
6
Sir John Crawford
PAPERS RELATING TO IMPORT LICENSING, LAND SETTLEMENT, RURAL AND FOOD PRODUCTION, 1938–60

Unregistered papers assembled by JG Crawford while working for the Rural Bank of New South Wales, the Department of Post War Reconstruction, the Bureau of Agricultural Economics and the Department of Trade.

Series: A12085
Rural wages, 1943–48
Memoranda by GG Firth and NG Butlin on rural wages and a summary of departmental comments on the recommendations of the Rural Reconstruction Commission on rural wages.
7
Soil conservation: Australia, 1944–45
Minutes of a meeting (11–12 January 1945) of the Inter-Departmental Committee on Soil Erosion and Conservation (chair: JG Crawford) and related minutes and press statements.
15
Agricultural policy: Australia, 1940–45
Memoranda, correspondence and broadcasts on wartime agricultural policy. The correspondents include Crawford, SM Wadham, JF Nimmo, CP Dowsett and CL Steele.
32
Farm labour: Australia, 1942–44
Correspondence and statements on the rural workforce, age distribution of the rural population, people engaged in rural industries, and seasonal labour in rural industries.
43
Financial assistance to primary producers, 1942–47
A statement (18 December 1942) on Commonwealth financial assistance to primary producers since 1934/35 and related correspondence and memoranda.
44
Land values control, 1943–45
Correspondence, memoranda and reports on land value policy and the control of land values and land acquisition. The correspondents include Crawford, HC Coombs, GG Firth and CP Dowsett.
57

Further reading

Butlin, SJ and Schedvin, CB, War Economy 19421945, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1977.

Crawford, JG, 'Primary industries in the economy', in Hartley C Grattan (ed.), Australia, University of California Press, Berkeley, 1947, pp. 184–203.

Crawford, JG, 'Rural reconstruction', Australian Journal of Science, vol. 6, no. 2, 1943, pp. 37–40.

Crawford, JG et al., Wartime Agriculture in Australia and New Zealand 193950, Stanford University Press, Stanford, 1954.

Hume, LJ, 'Wool in the Australian economy 1946–1958', in Alan Barnard (ed.), The Simple Fleece: studies in the Australian wool industry, Melbourne University Press, Melbourne, 1962.

Martin, AW and Penny, Janet, 'The Rural Reconstruction Commission, 1943–47', Australian Journal of Politics and History, vol. 29, no. 2, 1983, pp. 218–36.

Whitford, Troy, Australia's Rural Reconstruction Commission: the making and reception of its reports 1943–1949, PhD thesis, Charles Sturt University, 2005.

Whitford, Troy and Boadle, Don, 'Australia's Rural Reconstruction Commission 1943–1946: a reassessment', Australian Journal of Politics and History, vol. 54, no. 4, 2008, pp. 525–44.

Whitwell, Greg, A Shared Harvest: the Australian wheat industry, 19391989, Macmillan Australia, Melbourne, 1991.


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