The Phylloxera Fight in South Australia
Phylloxera is one of the most feared pests in viticulture, having wrecked havoc in vineyards around the world and in other states of Australia.
Phylloxera first appeared in France around the late 1860s, causing death of vines and near total crop loss. The insect pest quickly spread throughout much of France and Europe. It first appeared around Geelong, Victoria, in 1877 and by 1902 had spread to many vineyards in Victoria and an area west of Sydney. In 1910 a small outbreak was detected around Brisbane.
The wine industry was a high priority for the developing South Australia economy. Parliament passed an Act in 1858 "..to encourage the culture of the vine in South Australia by permitting distillation of the fermented juice of the grape". Subsequent acts were passed in 1878 and 1885 dealing with the management of pests and diseases in vines.
In response to the threat to the SA wine industry, Parliament passed the Phylloxera Act in 1889. This provided powers to establish a Board, to collect funds for preparedness and compensation in the event of an incursion and to regulate the entry of planting material into the State.
The history of the fight against Phylloxera is very well summarised in the following report, by Wally Boehm in 1996:
The support of Vinehealth Australia and permission from Winetitles to make this review available is appreciated.
Early manuscripts about South Australia’s Wine Industry
Following is a collection of early manuscripts and papers written about development of South Australia’s wine industry.
- The Future of Our Wine Industry (pdf 4.8 MB)
and the Results of Manuring Vineyards in Europe and Australia was written by the Chairman of the Agricultural Bureau of SA, Mr. F.E.H.W. Krichauff in 1899.
It provides an excellent overview of the potential for development of SA’s wine industry and European vineyard management techniques that could be adopted in SA.
- Directions for Planting the Vine (pdf 1.7 MB)
was written by George Sutherland in 1892.
It forms Part 1 of the South Australian Vine grower’s Manual, and contains interesting considerations about vine planting from this period.
1986 marked the 150th anniversary of the colonisation of South Australia. To commemorate the sesquicentenary, the Jubilee 150 Board decided to honour a selection of people who had made a significant contribution to the community or gained national and international recognition for their work. It created a Jubilee 150 Walk of 150 bronze plaques set in the footpath of North Terrace, which includes two sets of pioneer vigneron plaques (placed after William Veale). Information on those pioneer vignerons, Johann Gramp, Richard Hamilton, Joseph Seppelt and Samuel Smith on the first plaque and Thomas Hardy, Christopher Penfold, Mary Penfold and John Reynell on the second plaque are reproduced below courtesy of the Historical Society of South Australia Incorporated.