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Research Guides


Collections in Perth: A Guide to Commonwealth Government Records


22. Primary Industry

The Commonwealth's interest in, and responsibilities for, primary industry has often been tied closely to trade and commercial issues.

The Agencies

Agricultural industries

The Department of Commerce and Agriculture was created in 1942. It was responsible for a range of primary industry matters, including agricultural economics, providing assistance to primary producers, and collecting and disseminating commercial intelligence and general information. It also liaised with State agricultural departments about agricultural production, general trade and the investigation of overseas trade.

In 1956, the Department of Commerce and Agriculture was superseded by the first Department of Primary Industry which was given responsibility for administering legislation on the export of meat and eggs, on tobacco charges and on the dairying, wheat and wool industries. Divisions responsible for marketing, fisheries and agricultural economics, production and inspection were established within the new department. The department also became responsible for a number of related matters such as the War Service Land Settlement Agreements Act 1945, a function it inherited from the Department of the Interior.

In 1974, the Department of Primary Industry was replaced by the Department of Agriculture, which completely absorbed its functions.

Over time Commonwealth governments created agencies to deal with single purpose issues such as flax, wheat and wool production. For example, the Australian Wheat Board was originally established in 1939. Its existence was confirmed by the Wheat Industry Stabilization Act 1968. The board acquired and marketed each season's wheat crop and returned the net proceeds to wheat-growers. In 1948 the responsibility for flax production passed to the Department of Primary Industry from the Department of Supply.

Mining industries

A Commonwealth department with specific responsibility for mining industry matters was not created until the mid-1970s in WA. Before then, Commonwealth concerns about mining matters were mainly handled by the Department of Supply, by a relevant board or committee (eg the Joint Coal Board) or by a central office such as the Department of National Development.

The following list is a selection of agencies responsible for primary industry matters in WA.

  • 1942–56: Department of Commerce and Agriculture, State Branch, WA (CA 2890)
  • 1956–74: Department of Primary Industry, State Branch, WA (CA 2889)

The Records

CORRESPONDENCE FILES, SINGLE NUMBER SERIES, 1938–49
Perth
This series contains general correspondence files on administrative and operational matters.
Series: PP12/2
Quantity: 0.18 metres
Recorded by: 1942–49: Department of Commerce and Agriculture, State Branch, WA (CA 2890)
Pearl shell, 1938–39 PP12/2, 43 Part 1
Pearl shell, 1938–39 PP12/2, 43 Part 2
Textiles – export of, and allied products, 1947–48 PP12/2, 290/3/4
PLANT EQUIPMENT REGISTER, AUSTRALIAN WHALING COMMISSION, 1949–56
Perth
This series consists of a register of plant and equipment bought for use by the Australian Whaling Commission.
Series: PP10/1
Quantity: 0.18 metres
Recorded by: 1949–56: Department of Commerce and Agriculture, State Branch, WA (CA 2890)
GENERAL ADMINISTRATION RECORDS, PERTH OFFICE, AUSTRALIAN WHALING COMMISSION, MULTIPLE NUMBER SERIES, 1949–56
Perth
This series contains general correspondence files about operations of the Australian Whaling Commission.
Series: PP10/2
Quantity: 1.8 metres
Recorded by: 1949–56: Department of Commerce and Agriculture, State Branch, WA (CA 2890)
Plant and equipment – solubles drying plant (whales), 1954–58 PP10/2, 6/18 volume 2
Sales – whale solubles – C P Kigler & Co, Sydney, NSW, 1952–53 PP10/2, 18/4/5 volume 1
Sales – whale solubles – C P Kigler & Co, Sydney, NSW, 1952–53 PP10/2, 18/4/5 volume 2
CORRESPONDENCE FILES, MULTIPLE NUMBER SERIES, ALPHABETICAL PREFIXES, 1958–74 (CONTENTS RANGE: 1939–73)
Perth
Series: PP495/1
Quantity: 1.08 metres
Recorded by: 1958–74: Department of Primary Industry, State Branch, WA (CA 2889)
Meat registration of establishment – Poultry Growers of WA Cooperative Society Ltd, 1948–62 M1/2/5
CORRESPONDENCE FILES, MULTIPLE NUMBER SERIES, ALPHABETICAL PREFIXES, 1958–74 (CONTENTS RANGE: 1939–74)
Perth
This series contains general correspondence files on operational and administrative matters.
Series: K767
Quantity: 1.44 metres
Recorded by: 1958–74: Department of Primary Industry, State Branch, WA (CA 2889)
CORRESPONDENCE FILES, ANNUAL SINGLE NUMBER SERIES, 'E' PREFIX, 1974 (CONTENTS RANGE: 1928–73)
Perth
Records in this series deal with the administration and inspection of individually registered establishments exporting primary produce. The records contain reports on the state and condition of premises used for preparing export meat and reports by the veterinary officers-in-charge of such premises. They also contain notifications of annual registration and registration renewals.
Series: PP591/1
Quantity: 2.7 metres
Recorded by: 1974: Department of Primary Industry, State Branch, WA (CA 2889)
Honey – registered establishment – WA Honey Pool, 1949–70 PP591/1, E1974/1083
Wind-up of Australian Whaling Commission, 1956–59 PP591/1, E1974/2400
Export of live crayfish, 1959–66 PP591/1, E1974/1105
Meat diseases – swine erysipelas, 1962 PP591/1, E1974/0644
Reduced fat cheese – colby and cheddar, 1962–63 PP591/1, E1974/1836

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