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Tobacco growing in Tocumwal

15/10/2016

Tobacco growing commenced during Australia's early years of settlement. Governor Macquarie experimented with plantings at Emu Plains in New South Wales in 1818, and by the 1820’s tobacco was cultivated by farmers in the Hunter Valley. During the 1850’s growing extended to Victoria and Queensland and at the turn of the century tobacco was trialled along the banks of the Murray River with spray irrigation systems set up direct from the river.

Tobacco growing at this time was a very labour intensive activity, with many hands required for the harvest. The market for tobacco at that time was also very high, aside from the demand for personal consumption, a proportion of the early crops supplied the colony with the makings of pesticide for use in ridding sheep of parasites.

Unfortunately the crops along the Murray at Barooga were lost to "Blue Mould". Most of the growers then redirected their efforts to citrus with many orange groves established.



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