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Australian Urbanisation Early 1900's

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Australian Urbanisation Early 1900's

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The process of urbanisation is a central feature of Australian history. By 1900 over two-thirds of Australians were living in areas that were classified as urban. The growth of these cities was encouraged by various factors; the interaction and engagement of economic, demographic, political and social characteristics are definitely the key features that promoted the urbanisation of Australia. However, with the development of Australia came problems that people living in cities had to face. Environmental and health difficulties were to be over come in the city suburbs while economic depression followed after a period of prosperity and progress.

Economic factors are fundamental in determining urban structure. Cities can be seen as a form of economic organisation, which plants the seed for important consequences for the non-economic aspects of life. There are two pursuits or economic functions of urban growth resulting from the relationship between a city and it’s surroundings and growth resulting from the cities internal economy. At first the former is more important but in the long run the latter dominates. Yet both internal and external economic aspects are closely related. In Australia, cities developed in advance of their hinterlands. Apart from wool, most Australian industries developed, at first, in order to supply an existing urban market. For example, the influx of workers from rural area’s and migrants pushed forward the building sector.

With the beginnings of a new colony in 1788, capital accumulation, land concentration, foreign trade and free labour markets developed. Australian economy was being set up in a rapidly expanding world market dominated by the expansive phase of the first Industrial Revolution in Britain. By 1820 the colonial economy entered a period of transformation and geographic expansion that culminated in the short-lived emergence of a staple export-oriented economy, wool.

The wool industry played a significant role in...