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So Far and Yet So Close: Frontier Cattle Ranching in Western Prairie Canada and the Northern Territory of Australia

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There are many points on which the western Canadian and northern Australian cattle frontiers evoke comparisons. Most obviously, they came to life at about the same time: the late 1870s–early 1880s. In both cases corporations were heavy investors and utilized an open-range system in which tens of thousands of cattle roamed over thousands of square acres. Ranchers shared sim There are many points on which the western Canadian and northern Australian cattle frontiers evoke comparisons. Most obviously, they came to life at about the same time: the late 1870s–early 1880s. In both cases corporations were heavy investors and utilized an open-range system in which tens of thousands of cattle roamed over thousands of square acres. Ranchers shared similar problems such as predators, disease, and weather, as well as markets. Ultimately, a nearly indistinguishable “country” culture developed in both of these geographically disparate and distant lands, which is still apparent today. Many similarities were in one way or another reflections of frontier environmental conditions, that is, conditions associated with the very “newness” of society. However, the two ranching societies had their differences too. In the end, the natural environment pushed agricultural development in these two regions along very different paths. This book provides a comparative study of frontier cattle ranching in two societies on opposite ends of the globe. It is also an environmental history that centers on both the natural and frontier environments.  


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There are many points on which the western Canadian and northern Australian cattle frontiers evoke comparisons. Most obviously, they came to life at about the same time: the late 1870s–early 1880s. In both cases corporations were heavy investors and utilized an open-range system in which tens of thousands of cattle roamed over thousands of square acres. Ranchers shared sim There are many points on which the western Canadian and northern Australian cattle frontiers evoke comparisons. Most obviously, they came to life at about the same time: the late 1870s–early 1880s. In both cases corporations were heavy investors and utilized an open-range system in which tens of thousands of cattle roamed over thousands of square acres. Ranchers shared similar problems such as predators, disease, and weather, as well as markets. Ultimately, a nearly indistinguishable “country” culture developed in both of these geographically disparate and distant lands, which is still apparent today. Many similarities were in one way or another reflections of frontier environmental conditions, that is, conditions associated with the very “newness” of society. However, the two ranching societies had their differences too. In the end, the natural environment pushed agricultural development in these two regions along very different paths. This book provides a comparative study of frontier cattle ranching in two societies on opposite ends of the globe. It is also an environmental history that centers on both the natural and frontier environments.  

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