The Oaks, New South Wales - Farming

Farming

Pastoralists from Camden, Campbelltown and The Oaks began running their cattle in the Burragorang Valley, explored by Francis Barrallier in 1802-03 when Governor King asked him to find a way through the Blue Mountains. It was most likely that the pastoralists drove their cattle along what is now called Burragorang Road. This road runs from The Oaks to the Burragorang Valley and was surveyed in 1827 by Robert Dixon. It was merely a basic bullock-dray track until the traffic generated by the silver mines required an improved surface.

Labour shortages became an issue when convict transportation to New South Wales ceased in 1840 and convicts received their ticket of leave, Free settlers with large holdings sold or let portions of their land to emancipists as they did not have or could not afford a large enough workforce to work their land. The economic focus then shifted from mixed farming to wheat from the 1840s and a wheat mill was established in the area. The 1850s became a period of economic expansion for the area. Early in the 1860s, wheat rust devastated the wheat industry. The farmers moved their focus to market gardening, dairy farming, hay production and the building of hay presses. Oranges and milk became staple products.

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