FOOD PRODUCTION BY THE FIRST FLEETERS
It has been said that "the two main preoccupations of man are, first, earn his dinner,
and the second, to eat it". The first Australian community, 1200 miles (19,312 Km) from its
supply base , he was faced with the task of establishing a food supply. There were no edible
plants or animals, so the first Australian industry had to be farming. Three first fleeters
who took the lead in establishing agriculture in N.S.W. were assisted by the reluctant labour of
many other compulsory First Fleeters.
Henry Dodd came to Australia a free man, the personal servant of Governor Phillip.
Having been a farm hand in his home land, he was given the task of establishing the first crops at Farm
Cove on the present site of the Botanical Gardens. With the aid of convicts, he had a small
area of land cleared, hoed and planted with corn. But the soil was poor, and the crop failed.
Better land was found at Rose Hill, and a government farm was started. Dodd was placed in
charge, and here he was able to archive much better results. His garden produced a 26 lb cabbage,
which was presented to the governor for Christmas in 1789. Dodd also had a gift for managing his convict
labourers, getting the best out of them without resort to too much punishment. Just before
his untimely death in 1791, Dodd and his 100 convicts had cleared 200 acres, and had 88 acres under
wheat, barley, oats and maize (corn).
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