The wheat-farming industry developed rapidly in the British Australian colony of Victoria between the late 1840s and early 1860s. Contrary to prevailing academic views, this paper demonstrates that the 1851 gold discoveries set up favorable economic conditions for commercial domestic crop growing, including wheat production. The spread of wheat farming was especially rapid in the hinterland Central Victorian goldfields region. The undeveloped system of overland transportation granted newly established local farmers immunity from outside competition, whilst cheap land and application of labor-saving harvesting machinery lowered the production cost of wheat. By the early 1860s the colonial wheat frontier had moved far inland to the edge of the vast virgin plains bordering Central Victoria to the north. This shift would greatly simplify later largescale northern agricultural settlement, when Victoria turned into a large wheat exporter.

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