While the commercial ambitions of indigenous capitalists are continuously displayed in Australia, little is known about the origins and initial development of the class. In this essay one area of the country, the north-west of Western Australia (WA), is chosen to show how changes in the principal agricultural industry opened space for Aboriginal commerce. Despite the opposition of State governments and existing firms that dominated cattle and sheep production, this space was enlarged as pastoralism underwent major changes. The rise of the indigenous bourgeoisie was also facilitated by the growing power of the class's political representatives in electoral and in executive politics. Parallel with changes in Australian federalism, which gave the national government increased financial and other powers, Aboriginal representatives captured this shift for commercial advantage.