Agriculture - Historical background
Dairy cattle were part of the livestock that arrived with the First Fleet. Little pasture land was available around Sydney and Parramatta and most of the land was cleared and cultivated for crops. Dairy farming was an important industry in the following districts: Campbelltown, Camden, Liverpool, the Hawkesbury and Badgery's Creek. Co-operatives and butter factories were also set up in these areas to process the milk and by-products. Smaller dairies operated in most other areas in Western Sydney. Camden was renowned for the breeding of quality dairy cattle.
Co-operatives and butter factories were set up in dairy farming areas in Western and South Western Sydney. View shows the Menangle Butter factory in the 1930s. Photo acknowledgement : Campbelltown City Library.
Plants and seeds of various fruit were sent with the First Fleet in 1788. The climate was well suited for fruit growing and by the 1800s most types of fruit were being grown and flourishing. Parramatta and Baulkham Hills were the first areas successful in the citrus industry. The Hawkesbury district was also well known for fruit production. By 1821, 484 hectares of orchards and gardens were recorded in and around Sydney. In the Blue Mountains areas orchards were established at Shipley, North Springwood and Mt Riverview. In conjunction with orchards in the Blacktown area, Walter Lamb established the Woodstock Fruit Company at Plumpton in 1887. He grew fruit for canning purposes but unfortunately competition form Victorian fruit canneries and the 1890s economic depression led to his bankruptcy in 1893. The cannery closed soon after and was demolished in 1920. The Parramatta to Castle Hill Tramway carried both fruit and passengers from 1902 until 1923. Fruitgrowing remains an important industry in the Hawkesbury however in areas such as Baulkham Hills, the industry has declined and many of the orchards were subdivided for housing.