Image 19: A wheat stack, South Australia, 1890
NAA: A13774, 17
Early European settlers in South Australia engaged in agricultural and pastoral activities, with wheat, vines, horticulture, cattle and sheep the basis for early production. By Federation, South Australia's agricultural areas had greatly expanded due to drainage of parts of the Lower South East region, invention of the stump-jump plough and introduction of irrigated horticulture along the River Murray.
Over time, the Commonwealth Government created agencies to deal with single purpose issues such as flax, wheat and wool production. For example, the Australian Wheat Board was established in 1939. 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 from the Department of Supply to the Department of Primary Industry.
The Commonwealth created the Department of Commerce and Agriculture in 1942. This department was responsible for a range of primary industry matters including agricultural economics, assisting primary producers, and collecting and disseminating commercial intelligence and general information. It also liaised with state agricultural departments about agricultural production, general trade and investigation of overseas trade.
In 1956 the Department of Commerce and Agriculture was superseded by the first Department of Primary Industry, which was responsible for administering legislation on the export of meat and eggs, tobacco charges, and the dairying, wheat and wool industries. Divisions responsible for marketing, fisheries and agricultural economics, production and inspection were established within the new department. It 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.
The State Branch, South Australia of the Department of Primary Industry dealt with agricultural, pastoral, fisheries and forestry issues. The department implemented and administered a variety of government programs for primary products such as meat and dairy products, field and horticultural crops, fisheries and wool. It was abolished in 1987 when it merged with the Department of Resources and Energy to become the Department of Primary Industries and Energy.
Records held by the Archives relating to agriculture in South Australia are principally the correspondence series of these agencies, files and some publications.
|Selected series relating to agriculture in South Australia|
|Recorded by: Department of Commerce and Agriculture/Department of Primary Industry, State Branch, South Australia|
|Correspondence files, 'F' (Flax), 1941–58||D2085|
|Personal history files, 1943–62||D473|
|Dairy farming in Australia publications, 1949–64||D1457|
|Correspondence files, 1947–56||D4898|
|Correspondence files, 1956–77||D919|
|Correspondence files, 'K' (some 'V'), 1977–||D920|
|Recorded by: Australian Taxation Office, Branch Office, South Australia|
|Wool tax contributory charge subject files, 'WTM', 1952–64||D3998|
|Selected items relating to agriculture in South Australia|
|Agricultural and pastoral statistics – policy file – South Australia, 1945–59||A1871, 1946/57|
|Rural Reconstruction Commission exhibit – South Australia, 1941||A6184, EXHIBIT 61|
|Photograph of mustering sheep, Partacoona, Flinders Ranges, 1965||A1200, L52224|
|Frost damage to wheat and barley – South Australia, 1970–71||A463, 1971/612|
|J Martin and Co. – Martins Home and Farm, a monthly journal for Australian farmers, 1885||AP476/4, B203|
|Government statist – statistical returns – yearly return also agricultural, dairying and pastoral statistics, 1942–49||D2077, EX195|