At the end of the eighteenth century, Australia was going through a difficult time. Food was scarce and only storeships from England staved off actual famine. Things were so bad that officers in the army were importing rum and using it instead of money. However, John Macarthur, one of these officers, was convinced that money could be made out of fine-wool sheep, and he felt the army to breed Merino sheep. Today there are 150 million of them in Australia.