Australia History Between 1788 and 1830 – Criminal Colonization Part III

The drought pushed the ranchers in search of new pastures; and in 1813, when the colony was threatened with losing its animal stock due to a lack of pasture, they crossed the Monti Azzurri, building a 130-mile road through them. Even more he pushed inward the enterprising spirit of the squatters, that is of the ancient deportees, who fled with the herds entrusted to them. The effective borders of the colony were thus rapidly expanding: to the point that the same breeders who remained within its official limits, damaged by competition from the squatters, also occupied the lands of the Crown without any authorization; and the example of squatters, from the independent life in the bosom of nature, he was imitated by the children of the oldest settlers, even by graduates of Oxford and Cambridge.

The prison colony of New South Wales began in fact, with the ease of enrichment that it offered through pastoralism, to attract free emigration from the metropolis, where the ancient prejudices against distant possession were falling. The population of the entire colony, during the governorship of Macquarie, quadrupled, reaching 35 thousand residents in 1821, at the same time that the area occupied by it became twenty times greater; and Sydney, in the process of becoming a small capital, organized itself into a municipality. Macquarie was succeeded in 1821 by Sir Thomas Brisbane. Barring the unyielding opposition to any attempt to introduce a less authoritarian government than the existing military despotism, responsible only to too distant England, and the excessive lavishness in granting public lands to the emancipated who most often resold them, thus favoring the first centralization of the colony’s lands in the hands of a few, Macquarie had been widely deserving of the country. Under Brisbane, the practically absolute government of the colony underwent a first temperament, with the creation of an advisory body for the governor, the so-called Legislative Council made up of six people appointed directly by the Crown. At the same time, having abandoned the tendency which had prevailed up to then to elevate the colonization of the country on the almost exclusive basis of deportation, there was now a dual tendency to favor free colonization. On the one hand, the indentured service, that is the compulsory service for seven years of the free immigrant in compensation for the advance of transport costs in Australia: on the other hand, land concessions were limited in favor of those who possessed 500 pounds at least of capital, but they gave him free the land and labor of the condemned, thus reduced to the condition of real time slaves. Who took as servants (servants) winds deported, obtained immediately a free grant of 2,000 acres (800 hectares). Thus the generalization of the assigned convicts system, initially adopted for essentially financial purposes, ended by transforming the Australian deportation from an administrative and political measure into a necessary instrument of colonization, given the extreme scarcity, not to mention the absolute lack, of free but capitalless workers, willing to immigrate in Australia to make a living as an agricultural or pastoral worker. And the Australian colonization of the time, while preserving itself – in its criminal type – also took place, and more, according to a capitalist type.

According to, this prevalence of capital over labor thus conspired with the nature of the country for the triumph of pastoralism as the primary, indeed prevalent and almost exclusive, industry of Australia in the first half of the century. XIX; since it alone allowed the land to be valued, granted for immense extensions free of charge or for ridiculous annual rents to individual capitalists or capitalist companies. To cite a few examples, the Australian Agricultural Company obtained one million acres, at the choice of its agents, in the territory of New South Wales; the Van Diemen Land Company got 400,000 of the best land in Tasmania, and so on. Therefore, only two real social classes exist in Australia, up to and beyond 1830: the free emigrant gentlemen settlers, that is, the capitalist colonists of perhaps criminal origin, with their pastoral estates, with their flocks, with their convicts servants ; the emancipated ex-convicts, gathered above all in the few urban centers as workers. In vain did the colonial legislator endeavor to prevent the almost exclusive development of pastoralism and to associate it with agriculture; because its attempts are emerging in the face of the economic needs of the environment. The same land restrictions and the increase in the value of land in the most populated parts of the colony, far from favoring agriculture to the detriment of pastoralism, indirectly give it an even greater impulse, pushing it, thanks to squatting, more and more inward. As the land is lacking or becoming too expensive, the shepherds are transformed into squatters, that is, into squatters, that is, into squatters of the farthest free land, pushing inwards with their herds and their convicts to thus enlarge every day more the actual if not legal boundaries of the colonized territory. Governor Darling (1825-1831), who succeeded Brisbane, issued some strict land regulations in 1825 (the famous Land Regulations), with the chimeric intent of evaluating all the available land, distributing it on the English model in counties, districts, parishes (countieshundredsparishes) and set a low average price for the sale of public lands; but to no avail. And in vain the squatters are declared trespassers, i.e. violators of the law. To the theory of absolute state ownership over the Crown lands, the squatters oppose that of no man’s land, ie the right of the first occupant to vacant lands; until the government, to make the illegal but not preventable fact re-enter into the law, sanctioned the temporary possession of the land for pastoral purposes upon payment of an annual fee of 20 shillings for every 100 acres.

The complete abolition, after 1831, of that system of free land concessions, which had given rise to nameless abuses and allowed the rapid establishment of immense properties in the best parts of the colony of New South Wales, emanated from it a wider expanding movement. Faced with government declarations that land occupation gave them no property rights, and with warnings to re-enter the colony’s official boundaries, the squatters, luckily for the Australian economy, they took shelter with their flocks beyond the mountains and seas: that is, towards the north-east, where Brisbane had founded in 1824, in Moreton Bay, the prison that later became, with the name of its founder, the capital of Queensland; to the south-west, where a penal colony had already arisen in Port Phillip in 1803, and where, despite the governor’s prohibitions, the excellent pastures were covered with flocks, Melbourne, the future capital of Victoria, which in 1850 will be established as a separate colony, detached from New South Wales; finally in Tasmania, then still called Land of Van Diemen, where convoys of deportees had also been sent and to which already in 1824 it had given itself.

Australia History Between 1788 and 1830 - Criminal Colonization Part III