This section on Eras, leads you through a chronological sequence of developmental eras in the history of agriculture in South Australia.

The following web links will lead you to a series of descriptions of Australian, Aboriginal agricultural heritage.
  • 1836-1864
    European Settlement: Beginning of European settlement; Planning surveying and land title distribution mainly for the growing of wheat.
  • 1865-1881
    Self Sufficiency of the Colony: Expansion; land clearing; land development; innovation and the beginning of farm mechanisation.
  • 1882-1904
    Development of Transport: Drought and declining yields drive the development and adoption of alternative farming methods;
    Expansion of transport infrastructure, i.e. roads, rail and seaports encourage export market development.
  • 1905-1925
    Research and Irrigation
    World War 1; Establishment of war service settlement schemes;
    Early development of the Department of Agriculture with a focus on research and establishment of a network of experimental farms;
    Government infrastructure set up to develop irrigation schemes including the Murray District Irrigation Scheme,
    the reclamation of Murray Swamps for dairying and the South Eastern Drainage Scheme for cereal growing.
  • 1926-1938
    Great Depression
    Great economic depression and oversupply of world markets;
    Soil conservation techniques introduced for dry land farming districts;
    The Marginal Lands Act introduced.

  • 1939-1945
    World War II; Maximisation of production.
  • 1946-1965
    Post War Boom
    Post war economic boom; Reintroduction of war service settlement scheme;
    Boost in agricultural science programs, including trace elements used in the South East.
  • 1966-1980
    Rapid Technological Development
    Communication and technology advances; National programs introduced.

  • 1981-1997
    World Markets
    Coordinating, consolidating and developing farming programs for conservation and profitability;
    Production catering to world market demand.
  • 1998-2007
    Focus on Sustainability
    Focus on profitability and sustainability utilizing modern technological advances and past knowledge and experience;
    Trend towards larger land holdings and corporate ownership;
    Reduced government involvement in marketing of agricultural commodities.


Abbot, R.K., Minister of Lands, 1986, The Measure of the Land, Department of Lands South Australia, Adelaide, South Australia.

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