Studying online

There are now 2 possible online modes for units:

Units with modes Online timetabled and Online flexible are available for any student to self-enrol and study online.

Click on an offering mode for more details.

Unit Overview


This unit examines the changing roles of government and private sectors in Australia's economy from the late eighteenth century to the mid-twentieth century. The economic aspect of the 'tyranny of distance', Australia's isolation from the markets in the rest of the world, is an underlying theme in the unit and particular attention is given to the economic and demographic change that followed from the founding of New South Wales and Western Australia.

6 points
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Level 1 elective

Students are able to (1) provide an account of the 'Transportation' versus 'Trade and Navel Power' debate concerning the reasons for Britain's decision to establish a settlement in Botany Bay; (2) use staple theory to explain the economic development of the Australian colonies with particular reference to whaling and sealing, wool and sandalwood; (3) explain the various ways in which the problem of distance has shaped Australian economic history; (4) analyse Australian economic growth and reflect on our colonies' (and subsequently our nation's) vulnerability to changes in the international economy, especially in the 1840s, the 1890s and the 1930s; and (5) critically reflect on the impact of protectionist policies on Australia's economic development during the first half of the twentieth century.


Assessment information is provided in the unit outline.

Student may be offered supplementary assessment in this unit if they meet the eligibility criteria.

Contact hours
lectures/tutorials/seminars/workshops: up to 3 hours per week
  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Unit readings, including any essential textbooks, are listed in the unit outline for each unit, one week prior the commencement of study. The unit outline will be available via the LMS and the UWA Handbook one week prior the commencement of study. Reading lists and essential textbooks are subject to change each semester. Information on essential textbooks will also be made available on the Essential Textbooks. This website is updated regularly in the lead up to semester so content may change. It is recommended that students purchase essential textbooks for convenience due to the frequency with which they will be required during the unit. A limited number of textbooks will be made available from the Library in print and will also be made available online wherever possible. Essential textbooks can be purchased from the commercial vendors to secure the best deal. The Student Guild can provide assistance on where to purchase books if required. Books can be purchased second hand at the Guild Secondhand bookshop (second floor, Guild Village), which is located on campus.
  • Contact hours provide an indication of the type and extent of in-class activities this unit may contain. The total amount of student work (including contact hours, assessment time, and self-study) will approximate 150 hours per 6 credit points.