University of Tasmania
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The Tasmanian timber trade, 1830-1930 : a case study in spatial interaction

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posted on 2023-05-27, 13:23 authored by Row, M
Tasmania was a forested land when first sighted by Europeans. It remains essentially a forested land. The forests of Tasmania have served man well. Captain Bligh and other early seafaring explorers found i.n the forest the means for their continued survival. Colonizing Europeans sought in them self sufficiency, others turned to them for commercial gain. The list of their uses continues to grow water catchments, recreational areas, and wilderness retreats. The forests are ubiquitous yet the usual image of Tasmania is not of a forested land. A source of wonder and delight, and also of dismay and despair, the forests have beckoned and hindered settlement. In return the settlers have reshaped the landscape through their particular uses of the land but the forest has prevailed over large areas of the state. This account of the Tasmanian export timber trade is the beginning of a larger study on the geography of the timber industry over the same one hundred years. Since the only clues to some aspects of the timber industry are contained within the trade statistics, they became the starting point. The story of the Tasmanian timber trade is presented as a systematic study of change integrating narrative and a topical approach. The earlier chapters are descriptive, emphasizing the changes as they occurred over time and attempting to set events and trends within their proper context. The images held of Tasmanian fnrest as a wealthcreating resource are examined in Chapter 2 for contemporary attitudes and expectations, while the following chapter assesses the performance of the forest-base.d export trade by reference to its importance in the State trade economy and by comparison with the export timber trade of another Australian state. Included in Chapter 3 is a description of the evolution of the Tasmanian timber trade. The analysis of the detailed trade statistics in Chapter 4 enables a picture of the nature of the trade to be constructed and Chapter 5 outlines the factors responsible for this pattern of trade.


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