Sir George Bowen, Queensland’s first Governor was particularly interested in cotton as a future staple. He interpreted the growing of cotton as a patriotic response to an economic crisis at home in the British Isles. In Bowen’s vision, the whole subject of cotton growing was de¬serving the attention of small farmers as well as large capitalists; “for it seems capable of proof, that cotton growing can be prosecuted with success on extensive plantations, but can also be made a profitable part of yeomanry agriculture.”

With his vision the governor wished to create a flourishing agricultural industry in the colony. Cotton appeared to offer an opportunity to encourage family farm settlement, satisfying the government’s aim of creating closer settlement.

Between 1860 and 1940 the cotton industry in Queensland experienced two distinct economic life cycles of boom and bust, where valuable opportunities were squandered.

Funding: APA (Australian Postgraduate Award)

Advisors: Dr David Wadley

Project members

James White

James White

PhD Graduate 2017