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Paul Madden

British Ambassador to Japan

Part of UK in Australia

18th December 2012

Frankincense, Myrrh and Gold Rushes… and their modern equivalents

In this season of frankincense and myrrh I have just been reading a really interesting book by David Hill The Gold Rush about Australia’s gold rushes in the second half of the 19th century.  On my travels around Australia I have seen some of the physical legacy of the industry in splendid gold mining towns like Ballarat and Bendigo in Victoria, and ports like Maryborough and Cooktown in Queensland.

I was struck by some interesting parallels with the resource picture today. It was an incredibly globalised industry. The first discoveries in 1851 followed hot on the heels of the California Rush of 1849, when an Australian miner in California realised that he had seen similar rock formations in New South Wales. “Diggers” poured in from all over the world, including large numbers from China  – which led to some political tensions.

As now, it was necessary to build infrastructure to develop the resources, which were often found long distances from the major population centres. One of the earliest examples was the Cobb & Co stagecoach company, who had to set up a network of stables so horses could be changed every 15 miles.I have visited a fascinating museum dedicated to the company in Toowoomba, Queensland.

The discovery of gold guaranteed the success of the fledgling colony. The population of Melbourne rose from 80,000 to half a million in ten years, and many of the city’s fine 19th century edifices were built on gold wealth.  It also effectively ended the system of penal transportation, as it was no longer much of a deterrent when so many people were heading here of their own volition.

Resources – mineral, energy, and agricultural – continue to be a hugely important part of the Australian story, and British companies are big players in it. The current boom has begun to slow. But we will still see huge investment projects and massive export flows for a long time to come.

About Paul Madden

Paul Madden has been the British Ambassador to Japan from January 2017. He was Additional Director for Asia Pacific at the FCO in 2015.He was British High Commissioner to Australia…

Paul Madden has been the British Ambassador to Japan from January 2017.

He was Additional Director for Asia Pacific at the FCO in 2015.He was British High Commissioner to Australia until February 2015. Prior to this he was British High Commissioner in Singapore from 2007-2011.

A career diplomat, he was previously Managing Director at UK Trade and Investment (2004-2006), responsible for co-ordinating and
implementing international trade development strategies to support
companies across a wide range of business sectors.

As Assistant Director of Information at the Foreign and Commonwealth
Office (2003-2004) he was responsible for public diplomacy policy,
including managing the FCO funding of the BBC World Service, the British
Council and the Chevening Scholarships programme. He led the team
responsible for the award-winning UK pavilion at the Aichi Expo in Japan

He was Deputy High Commissioner in Singapore from 2000-2003 and has
also served in Washington (1996-2000) and Tokyo (1988-92). Between
1992-96 he worked on EU enlargement and Environmental issues at the FCO
in London.

Before joining FCO he worked at the Department of Trade and Industry
(1980-87) on a range of industrial sectors and trade policy, including
two years as a minister’s Private Secretary.

He has an MA in Economic Geography from Cambridge University, an MBA
from Durham University, studied Japanese at London University’s School
of Oriental and African Studies, and is a Fellow of the Royal
Geographical Society. His first book, Raffles: Lessons in Business
Leadership, was published in 2003.

Married to Sarah, with three children, he was born in 1959, in Devon.