Let us see, on the other hand, the gigantic strides on the part of wool. In 1805 the amount of wool exported from Spain was 6,895,525 lbs., and from Australia nil. In 1811, however, Australia exported the modest quantity of 167 lbs. In 1861 the exportation from Spain had fallen to 1,268,617 lbs., while from Australia it had increased to 68,428,000 lbs. In 1891 New South Wales alone produced 357,096,954 lbs., representing a value of 11,036,018 l. And lastly, the wool exportation of Australia and Tasmania (not reckoning New Zealand) for the same year reached the enormous figures of 593,830,153 lbs., with a value of 20,569,093 l.
The disproportion between the attention which has been given to viticulture and that which has been bestowed upon wool-growing is well brought out in the following table:—
Table showing the value of the total amount of wine produced in the five colonies of Australia (including both that for local use and that for export) for the year ending March 31st, 1892; and the value of wool (only that exported, and therefore irrespective of that locally required) for the five Australian colonies and Tasmania alone, and not including that exported from new Zealand, for the year 1891:—
Total value of Australian wine (local use as well as export) produced for the year ending March 31st, 1892, only about..........800,000
Value of wool exported from Australia and Tasmania alone in 1891 (and therefore irrespective of the additional value of that locally required), not less than................................20,569,093
From the foregoing, therefore, it will be apparent that the whole subject of Australian viticulture is one of tremendous importance; and I am strongly of opinion that practical results will only be brought about by awakening in the mind of the Australian public an active interest in everything connected with this, though yet undeveloped, great wine industry. With that object in view, therefore, it will be my endeavour to bring forward those main points of viticulture which it is most desirable should be widely known. But such an attempt, to be successful, must largely depend upon the arrangement which is adopted, for it is impossible to do more than take up the principal matters concerned with the space which is at my disposal. The scheme which has been devised will, it is hoped, help to a clear understanding of the subject.
If there is one reason more than any other why the wine industry should sorely reach to colossal dimensions, it is that the climate is naturally adapted for the cultivation of the vine. Although human effort and human skill can overcome what looked to be almost insuperable difficulties, they cannot, as we know, fight against climate. Hence, having a climate created, as it were, for the growth of the grape, there can be no possible excuse offered for its neglect. Indeed, as I have already shown, the suitableness of the climate for this purpose directly attracted the attention of the first arrivals, and as a consequence the vine was actually planted a few years after the discovery of Australia.