Volume 65: Macarthur-Onslow correspondence, 1846-1929: No. 437
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Department of Agriculture, N. .S. Wales.
The Silk Industry
THE Department of Agriculture in directing exhibits of silkworms to be prepared was actuated by more than ordinary design and motive. For many years desultory efforts have from time to time been made by private men of great practical experience, as well as of acknowledged skill in rearing silkworms in countries outside Australia, who sought to establish the industry and make it profitable here in Australia. Even the best qualified and most hopeful all failed, and failed generally from one chief but fatal cause, namely, the insufficiency of the supply of mulberry leaf, the indispensable food for the silkworms.
The discredit that so long overshadowed the exertions of several ladies and gentlemen during late years, though justifying and worthy of more generous appreciation, has now given way to more hopeful consideration - and the evidence is now abundant that the whole subject is ripe for a rational a sustained effort to bring into being a substantial silk industry and create an additional spring or incentive to productive energy and employment for much hitherto unused or unprofitable labour. The Government has undertaken to afford some preliminary or elementary instruction, and by instruction and example assist for a while to help beginners to learn methods of rearing silkworms for profit.
For a long while it has been known that a local expert had invented and carried through successfully year after year a plan or system quite novel and unique in its character and unknown elsewhere. It is true that, though in some sense there was no secret about it, and the fact was patent that no other person had been able to master the process.
Thus the premises being the already well-ascertained facts -
1st. The well-proved and acknowledged suitability of the climate and natural conditions for commercial production of cocoons in New South Wales.
2nd. The existence of mulberry trees of all the most useful varieties and of mulberry silkworms of the best kinds already acclimatised in the Colony.
3rd. The material advantage, unknown elsewhere, of the power of using the strictly annual silkworm as stock to be reared at any period of the year desired, wherever ,and whenever, there may be mulberry-leaf available in sufficient quantity to feed the worms.
the Government was induced to arrange for the instruction of a limited number of persons of both sexes in the most approved and economical methods of rearing silkworms, and for the propagation and treatment of mulberry trees.