Griggs, Peter D.
Global Industry, Local Innovation: The History of Cane Sugar Production in Australia, 1820-1995
Year of Publication: 2011
Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, New York, Oxford, Wien, 2011. XXXVI, 928 pp., num. ill., tables and graphs
ISBN 978-3-0343-0431-3 hb. (Hardcover)
Weight: 1.650 kg, 3.638 lbs
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Australia is currently the second largest exporter of raw sugar after Brazil, and one of the world’s top five sugar exporters. This book tells the story of how the Australian cane sugar industry grew into a major global supplier of sugar, how it became a significant innovator in the technology associated with the growing and harvesting of sugar cane as well as the production and transport of sugar. It describes the spread of sugar cane growing along the north-eastern coast of Australia during the late nineteenth century, and how subsequent twentieth-century expansions were tightly regulated in order to avoid overproduction. It examines changes in agricultural techniques, efforts to combat pests and diseases, breeding new cane varieties and the significance of improvements in the sugar milling and refining processes. Special attention is also devoted to documenting how sugar production changed the landscape of north-eastern coastal Australia. Topics considered include deforestation, soil erosion, loss of wetlands associated with drainage improvements, the introduction of fauna to control insect pests affecting the crops of sugar cane and mining the coral of the Great Barrier Reef to produce agricultural lime. It is the first comprehensive account of the history of the Australian cane sugar industry.
Contents: Sugar Cane and The Production of Sugar – Intermittent Attempts at Sugar Production in Australia – The Rise of the Colonial Sugar Refining Company – Spread of Sugar Cane Cultivation – The Production Unit: Planters, Central Millers and Small Farmers – Science and the Canegrower – The Milling Sector – Competing for the Sugar Basin – Regulated Expansion – Growing a Crop – Managing Water – Breeding and Improving Cane Varieties – Combating Pests – Defeating Diseases – Harvesting and Transport of Cane – Regulating and Modernising the Milling Sector – The Refining, Marketing and Pricing of Sugar.
About the author(s)/editor(s)
Peter D. Griggs is a historical geographer with an interest in agriculture and environmental history. Since 2000, he has been senior lecturer in human geography at the Cairns Campus of James Cook University, Queensland, Australia. He has published extensively on the Australian cane sugar industry.
«Peter Griggs has written an institutional history of high calibre. [...] This book is an amazingly complex study of a major Australian agricultural industry in all its variations. Its technical apparatus is superb. The photographs, maps, graphs, and tables enable the reader to absorb and summarise the dense text. The book will be of interest to all historians of the world’s sugar industry and to anyone interested in how governments can control and shape an industry, then deregulate and let it float alone. [...] Griggs has produced what will stand as a masterpiece in historical geography. I doubt that anyone else will make a similar attempt in the next forty years.» (Clive Moore, World Sugar History Newsletter)