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What – And How Great Were The Major Environmental Impacts Of The Industrial Revolution On Australia In The 19th C (I.E. Before About 1900 When

2584 words - 11 pages

As observed by a contemporary W. Howitt, the diggers extensively felled down the trees near the gold mines, simply because they used the timber and bark to build huts or furniture that were needed. The impact on this was so severe that the editorial on 3rd October 1865 of the Age, said:

If preservation of the woods be necessary in temperate regions, it is imperatively called for in a semi-tropical climate like our own, where the supply of water, and consequently of animal and cereal produce, is in a great degree dependent on the existence of forests, especially in the elevated parts of the colony…The destruction which is proceeding in the ranges [that is in and around the goldfields] must ...view middle of the document...

Afterwards, it might even change to hard-rock mining. The cases of Ballarat and Bendigo in Victoria served as very good examples. These types of mining were also applicable to other mines, e.g. copper, tin, lead, silver, zinc etc. The consequences of mining to the change of environment varied. However, in handling the ore excavated, people started to change from manual selection to the use of machinery. With the extensive use of machinery, especially the method of ‘hydraulic mining’, the landscape changed worse and worse. The most devastating procedure involved the undercutting of the hillsides and steep stream banks down to bed-rock, using powerful jets fed by water jets stretched for between three and twenty miles. The results were a change of landscape and the local natural system. With the decline of gold digging in Eastern Australia, further deterioration of the environment ceased for the time but the damage done was not revertible.

Following the decline in gold mining in Easter Australia, people turned to agriculture to support their living. The settlement of ex-miners on the land which was too small for sheep rearing made them to grow wheat instead. With the advance of farming machinery, especially the harvesting machine ‘stripper’ increased the production of wheat at a lower cost. Further improvement in farming machinery, e.g. the stump jump plough, enabled the growing of wheat in bigger areas and moving inland. For example, the percentage of total area growing wheat in the coastal and tableland in New South Wales dropped from 91% in 1860 to 29 % in 1990 while the percentage in the inland area rose from 9% to 71%. The actual area also expanded dramatically. For example, in South Australia, the area in the inland growing wheat was 12,000 acres in 1860 but expanded to 1,167,000 acres in 1890. The expansion of wheat farms changed the nature of the country gigantically. The big increase in wheat farms inevitably reduced the woodland in South Australia. During the 1860’s and 1870’s, the Surveyor-General, George Woodruffe Goyder, R. Schomburgk, Director of Adelaide’s Botanic Gardens and F.E.H.W. Krichauff, a long-serving Member of the House of Assembly advocated the reservation of some 300,000 acres of forests in the southern, central and northern districts. This outcry of preserving the natural environment served as an example on the scope and the urgency for the destruction of the natural environment.

T.A. Coghlan wrote in the 1890’s about the importance and diminishing of the native flora. However, unfortunately in an article published in Wealth and Progress 1900-1901 in Sydney said that:
It is a matter for deep regret that the state’s beautiful native flora is being gradually destroyed. It now contributes at annual displays to the reduction of the debts of the churches and other institutions; and the coast-slopes and the bush lands in the neighbourhood of every town are periodically denuded to furnish attractions to local...

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