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Agricultural sector growth

At this time, farmers had to be incredibly frugal and also willing and keen to experiment not only with different types of seeds and sowing methods, but with the application of machinery while carefully managing their land in conditions of drought. Despite the odds being stacked against them, farmers forged ahead and managed to competitively represent elements of major export like grain, minerals and wool.

In response to the great drought of 1864-65, George W. Goyder, who was Surveyor General (from 1861) created Goyder's Line. The line indicated where land in South Australia received more than 30 centimetres of rain. The northern side of the line received less and became deemed unfarmable by the government, who would later provide assistance to those farmers judged by their proximity to the line.

Invented in South Australia by designers and brothers, Richard and Clarence Smith of Kalkabury, Yorke Peninsula, the stump jump plough allowed farmers to cultivate the land without removing rocks and stumps. Along with the Ridley stripper (another South Australian invention), the stump jump plough revolutionised farming worldwide. The stump jump plough is recognised as one of the most important agricultural inventions of the 19th century.

The area around Kalkabury (now Arthurton), where Richard Smith was a farmer, and many other parts of South Australia are covered with Mallee eucalyptus trees that have stubborn stumps at, or just below, ground level that make clearing the land difficult. In 1876, after breaking a bolt on their plough and finding that it rode over a stump rather than getting stuck behind it, Richard and Clarence tinkered with the idea and came up with the design for the stump jump plough. In 1877 the machine won first prize at the Moonta show. Clarence began commercial production of the stump jump plough in 1880 with credit from GP Harris, Scarfe and Company. Richard was awarded £500 and a square mile of land at Ardrossan for the invention in 1884.

Widespread land clearing in the 1860s and 1870s meant a vast number of mallee stumps were left in the ground posing an expensive problem to farmers wishing to plough their land. The stump jump plough was designed to allow the farmers to jump over the stumps in their way thereby protecting their machinery and avoiding the cost of having to remove each stump.  

The Mullenising machine, invented by Charles Mullen 1868, was much like the Stump Jump Plough, and helped to eliminate the time consuming task of clearing land filled with eucalyptus mallee stumps and stones and allowed mallee land in South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales, previously thought to be too difficult to work, to be cultivated.

South Australiana: Sources a comprehensive list of websites, published and non-published sources for South Australiana materials.

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Afghan handlers and camels
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Charles Mullen and family
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Map of northern runs - Goyder's Line
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South Australian exports
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The South Australian
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Working drawing of plough, the first 'single furrow'
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Working drawing of plough, the first 'three furrow'
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Working drawing of plough, the 'Vixen'
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