Abstract: The Individual in the Community: American Entrepreneurs in the Australian Colonies, 1850–1890

Deborah Breen

Abstract

Following the discovery of gold in the Australian colonies in the 1850s, commercial adventurers from around the world made their way to the antipodes. Among these were a number of young American entrepreneurs. This paper examines the American entrepreneurs who made their mark in the Australian colonies in the latter half of the nineteenth century, and considers how individuals achieved success within intersecting communities. Individual entrepreneurs found support in communities based on family connections, associations through friendship and experience, and shared nationality. They also found support through informational networks created in the commercial world, including consular reports, trade magazines, and International Exhibitions. Primary sources of the era, including family letters, newspaper and magazine accounts, and consular records, reveal the complex communities within which entrepreneurs in Australia operated to achieve their commercial goals.

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