Buzz and pipelines: Knowledge and decision-making in a global business services precinct

Simon Ville, Claire Wright

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


This paper provides a historical analysis of an urban services district through its examination of the Melbourne wool trade precinct in the 1920s. It is a study of both a local and global community whose social and spatial interaction facilitated large-scale trade of a complex commodity that has rarely been examined. Geographic mapping of the local and global connections of the precinct has been combined with archival evidence. It reveals the “buzz” of the Melbourne precinct, created by local social and professional connections among wool brokers and buyers. “Pipelines” to wool growing and textile regions were developed through overseas branches of firms, with global knowledge exchanged through correspondence, telegraph, and migration. These features shaped the progress of the trade, facilitating improvements in its infrastructure and in the ability of Melbourne’s wool brokers and buyers to fulfill their role as intermediaries in the global supply chain for this complex commodity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)191-210
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Urban History
Issue number2
Early online date5 May 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • commodity trades
  • geographic information system (GIS)
  • industrial districts
  • urban services district
  • wool trade


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