Full text: Borrowing and business in Australia

THE COMMONWEALTH, 1900-14 115 
depression following the collapse of the land boom, the Austra- 
lian community had made a remarkable recovery, and had 
accumulated wealth. In the years from 1906 to 1912, inclusive, 
the output of minerals had totalled £175 millions, wool had been 
exported to the value of £176 millions, other pastoral and dairy 
produce averaged £42 millions per annum, agricultural produec- 
tion rose steadily in value from £25 millions in 1906 to £46 
millions in 1912, while the total value of manufactures went from 
£33 to £57 millions. This advance was, of course, the result of 
both rising prices and increased production. Total exports rose 
from £481 millions to £70} millions, and bank deposits advanced 
from £123} to £206 millions. But over against this had to be 
set a more than proportionate increase in indebtedness. It will 
be sufficient to say here that, after 1910, bank advances rose 
22 per cent. in three years, whereas the increase for the previous 
similar period had been less than 4 per cent. Federal and state 
expenditure reached £55 millions in 1912 and new public, 
municipal, and business loans totalling £16 millions were raised. 
In the consequent expansion of the national income is to be 
found the source of the remarkable prosperity of this period. 
The threat of an unfavourable season was once again the first 
cloud. Heavy losses of stock, small harvests, and a decline of 
300,000 bales in the wool export soon confirmed the worst fears. 
For the first time since 1891 the total value of imports exceeded 
that of exports. Primary producers were in sore straits and im- 
porters found themselves heavily overstocked. The natural 
result was an alarming decrease in bank deposits. All this was 
a dramatic change ; and the increased interest rate, the reduction 
of overdrafts, the difficultyin obtaining accommodation, and the 
decline in the value of all investment stocks told of strained 
conditions which were similar in all respects to those of 1908. 
Further, a sudden collapse in shipping freights took place which 
was a symptom of the general world reaction, and another effect 
of the capital shortage which was causing London once more to 
frown on overseas loans. The reasons for this reaction can be 
more conveniently examined in the next chapter; but there is 
little doubt that Australia was on the edge of a severe crisis 
when the tremendous happenings of 1914 intervened.

Note to user

Dear user,

In response to current developments in the web technology used by the Goobi viewer, the software no longer supports your browser.

Please use one of the following browsers to display this page correctly.

Thank you.