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  • Author or Editor: Louise C. Johnson x
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The Australian urban system has been shaped by its historical origins: separate periods of colonization and dependent development within the British Empire (Arnold et al, 1993; Schreuder and Ward, 2010). Six very separate colonial centres were established over the course of the 19th century as England occupied the country – Sydney as the capital of New South Wales (NSW) was created as a convict camp in 1788, as was Hobart on the southern island of Van Diemen’s Land in 1804 and Moreton Bay-Brisbane in 1824 in south-eastern Queensland. In contrast, other colonies in the west – King George Sound (later Perth, 1826) – and south – Melbourne anchoring the Port Phillip colony (1835) and Adelaide, South Australia (1836) – were established as ‘free’ colonies based on commercial land uses. Limited by an arid interior and boosted by their roles as administration hubs, these ports and points of initial settlement in turn became the major centres of their 19th-century export-oriented economies: wheat from South and Western Australia, wool and meat from the remainder.

While large and dominant economically and politically, with all but Brisbane and Hobart becoming primate cities, the presence of these colonial capitals did not preclude the existence of other townships, servicing their inland pastoral, agricultural and later mining economies. Some of these centres saw themselves as successfully rivalling the first-order cities and, in the 20th century, grew on the basis of particular industries; examples include the steel cities of Newcastle and Wollongong adjacent to Sydney, Whyalla north of Adelaide and Kwinana near Perth (Rich, 1987).

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