Australian sugar-producing regions have differed in terms of the extent and rate of incorporation of new technology into harvesting systems. The Mackay sugar industry has lagged behind most other sugar-producing regions in this regard. The reasons for this are addressed by invoking an evolutionary economics perspective. The development of harvesting systems, and the role of technology in shaping them, is mapped and interpreted using the concept of path dependency. Key events in the evolution of harvesting systems are identified, which show how the past has shaped the regional development of harvesting systems. From an evolutionary economics perspective, the outcomes observed are the end result of a specific history.