Cultural diversity, economic change and family farming in the Australian sugar industry

Elder, Janice (2001) Cultural diversity, economic change and family farming in the Australian sugar industry. In: Lockie, S., and Bourke, L., (eds.) Rurality Bites: The Social and Environmental Transformation of Rural Australia. PK Editorial Services, Annandale, pp. 191-203.

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The family farm has dominated rural landscapes, images of country life and agricultural production in the minds of Australians for well over 100 years. Until the late nineteenth century, the agrarian ideology of small family farming was pitted against the political influence of large pastoralists who, through a combination of land grants, squatting and cheap convict and Aboriginal labour, came to dominate non-metropolitan Australia. But in a nation where social equality and personal independence were powerful ideals, the idea of families owning and working enough land to provide a good living was irresistible, and in the early decades of the twentieth century small family farms became the dominant form of rural production. Positive images of farming families abound in Australian cultural history - from pioneering selectors, 'cockies' and struggling soldier settlers to the hard-working, good-hearted country families who peopled the ABC's postwar radio serial Blue Hills. However, despite the ideological appeal of the familv farm, its future appears uncertain. Although the vast majority of farms in Australia are still run by families (about 97 per cent of a total of 142,476), current changes are radical and far-reaching (see chapters 13 and 14). With farms now stringently judged by government agencies and lending institutions in terms of their economic viability and contribution to agricultural exports, the status of the family farm as a cultural icon is increasingly problematic.

Item ID: 14331
Item Type: Book Chapter (Research - B1)
ISBN: 1-86403-169-7
Keywords: cultural; rural; rural Australia; sociology
Date Deposited: 30 Aug 2017 04:44
FoR Codes: 16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1608 Sociology > 160810 Urban Sociology and Community Studies @ 100%
SEO Codes: 95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9599 Other Cultural Understanding > 959999 Cultural Understanding not elsewhere classified @ 100%
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