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Why Australia ProsperedThe Shifting Sources of Economic Growth$
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Ian W. McLean

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780691154671

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691154671.001.0001

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Becoming Very Rich

Becoming Very Rich

(p.80) Chapter 5 Becoming Very Rich
Why Australia Prospered

Ian W. McLean

Princeton University Press

This chapter looks at how the gold rushes beginning in the 1850s brought not only a diversification of the economic basis of prosperity beyond that provided by the wool industry, but coincided with the de facto political independence of five of the Australian colonies through their attainment of responsible government from Britain. Critical to the maintenance and extension of prosperity during these turbulent years was the way in which the shock to the economy of the gold discoveries was mediated by the evolving economic and political institutions. Gold continued to be important to prosperity for several decades, while a resumption of the expansion of the wool industry was matched by the development of other branches of agriculture.

Keywords:   gold rushes, prosperity, wool industry, Australian colonies, Britain, political institutions, agriculture

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