Emu Ridge visit Eucalyptus oil Distillery in Victoria

We took a few weeks holidays and look what we found 2 Eucy stills. One run by Robbie and work for the dole helpers operating every second weekend as a tourism project and at Mickeys Distillery an old relic that was last used in 2011, the State Forest stopped harvesting in that area unfortunately. Not much different to what they did to us, but we were harvesting on private land not government land. We were fortunate to have established our plantations on our own land and as a result the mongrels couldn’t touch us and we are lucky to still be harvesting today. We are proud to be one of only a few remaining commercial stills left in Australia today.

Below is a story of fellow distillers:

Robbie & Larry at the stewing put at Wedderburn

Mickeys Distillery now derelict in Victoria 1902 – 2011

Geoffrey Robin Collins better known as Robbie was born at Rathdown Street Carlton on the 3rd June 1939 to Fred and Sarah Collins.

Due to the early death of Robbie’s father, his mother took him to live with his grandparents Bob, Mary and Aunty Jean Grieves at Rheola. His mother went to work in Melbourne to help support him.

At school age Robbie attended the Rheola Primary School No 59. At the age of fourteen he took his first job at Harold and Janet Prenton’s. Robbie was milking cows and picking apples. My first wage in 1953 was 2lb pounds and 10 shillings per week.

In 1955 Robbie started another job on Stan and Alice Catto’s farm milking cows and doing general farm duties.  His wage then 7 pounds a week. Robbie milked sixteen cow’s morning and night by hand which was a big job. He then had the pleasure of using the first cow milking machine in the district called a Lister which was driven by petrol cutting milking time in half.


Victorian Blue Mallee a different variety to what we use

In 1956 Robbie started a new job as a bulldozer operator for the Robertson Brothers Earth moving company sinking dams and road making. Unfortunately Robertson Brothers cease operation in 1964 and Robbie became unemployed.

During the time of bulldozing and sinking dams he met and married wife Margaret and had three children Julie, Pam and Robyn.

Larry and Robbie having a chat at the little tourist still

In 1964 when Robbie was unemployed there were not a lot of jobs available in the area.

Robbie’s luck changed when Jack Hansen approached him regarding cutting eucalyptus leaves. It was an offer to good to turn down.

So a new era began for Robbie cutting eucalyptus leaves. He had not done this sort of work before but didn’t take long to find out. It was hard slogging work cutting with choppers and hoes for a eucalyptus distiller Mr Reg Matthews on Mr Reg Holt’s farm.

Jack and Robbie cut leaves together for a few months and their wages were around 16 pounds a week each. In 1965 when decimal currency was introduced he was employed as a tractor driver being paid $40 dollars a week. Even when Robbie became permanently employed at the Korong Shire, he still cut eucalyptus leaves at the weekends and on holidays to make sufficient income for his family.

In 1975 Robbie teamed up with a work mate on the Korong Shire, Mr Tommy Webb. Tommy and Robbie started cutting leaves for Jim Ghan from Inglewood. Jim use to cart leaves for distilling from the Wedderburn area to his Inglewood factory. Jim payed $2.50 lb for cutting and the vats would produce 80 to 100 lb of eucalyptus oil. For one month Tom and Robbie would produce around 400 lb of eucalyptus oil. The eucalyptus oil was sold to a company in Melbourne Felton Grimwade and Bickford Pty Ltd. Robbie cut leaves with Jim for a few years. Sadly it all came to a halt when Jim lost his life in a car accident. When this accident occurred Tom and Robbie had to stop cutting eucalyptus leaves and look for a factory to distil the eucalyptus oil. It took sometime to find an old eucalyptus factory seven miles from Wedderburn at a place called Woolshed Flat. This factory required some maintenance.

Tommy and Robbie contacted the owners Les & Eric Nisbet and asked if they could restore to distil eucalyptus leaves. The brothers agreed so Tommy and Robbie set to work in restoring the old factory. It took them a few months before it was workable. Once the repairs were finished they started distilling their own leaves and made it a profitable enterprise.

Tommy and Robbie worked the factory together for a number of years and then Tommy decided to give away the eucy leave cutting and work cutting fire wood. This left Robbie working the factory with the help of his wife Margaret, daughters Pam and Robyn and an old eucalyptus cutter from StArnard Mr Jim Hines. Jim worked and cut leaves for the factory and the Collins family were able to entertain tourist’s who visited the site to see the production of eucalyptus oil.

Larry at the boiler of Mickeys relic still

In 1997 Robbie’s daughter Robyn started a business called Loddon Discovery Tours. The tours would stop at the old factory which made it very famous in the coach tour sector in Victoria.

In 1994 when Robbie retired from the Korong Shire, Les & Eric Nisbet of Wedderburn gave him a Stew Pot that they had worked in Les’s backyard for many years. This was a very important gift, because it showed how the old pioneers worked over 150 years ago. It was the way Eucalyptus Oil was distilled in Australia since 1852.


Owing to the vast interest taken by tourist’s visiting the old factory, seeing the eucalyptus oil process Robbie approached Wedderburn Tourism Inc about placing the Eucalyptus Stew Pot at Hard Hill Tourist Reserve as a major tourist attraction for Wedderburn. He requested the Stew Pot be owned owned by the community.

Robbie operated the Eucalyptus Stew Pot as a volunteer for Wedderburn Tourism Inc from 1998 through to 2006.

Wedderburn Tourism Inc engaged their first contractor in 2006 and now Robbie supervises and passes on his considerable knowledge to contractors and work experiences participants about eucalyptus oil production in Australia.

Robbie is very happy that he has been able to past on his knowledge to Wedderburn Tourism Inc about the history, heritage and culture of processing eucalyptus oil.

Eucalyptus oil is a very important part of Wedderburn’s history as well as the history of Australia.

Eucalyptus oil was the first indigenous export which has been produced for 154 years and continues to be sold both in Australia and around the world.


So theres a bit of history bout this lovely guy we met Robbie and some Victorian history for you. If you would like to know more about our South Australian History and Kangaroo Island in particular see this link.

Could Eucalyptus oil become Jet Fuel?

Renewable jet fuel could be growing on Australia’s iconic gum trees

An interesting read, we believe in sustainable farming its far better for the environment! Wouldnt it be amazing if eucalyptus oil was used for jet fuel! They did use it in the old days as fuel in cars. Apparently it was a bit smokey! Time will tell.

As demand grew around the world, Australia dominated the global supply. But as the 20th century progressed, cheaper production from plantations in Spain, Portugal, South Africa and China drove Australia’s market share down to less than 5%.

Today the global market for Eucalyptus oil sits at around 7,000 tonnes each year, with a slowly growing demand and price. In fact, Australia is now a net importer of its own iconic oil!

But a range of cutting-edge new uses for plant-based oils appear set to give this old dog some new tricks, potentially jolting the local eucalyptus oil industry out of its sleepy niche and into the high-tech limelight.

What’s in the oil?

Eucalyptus oils are a cocktail of aromatic compounds called terpenes. The oil that is sold in pharmacies and supermarkets is dominated by one compound called eucalyptol that instantly gives it a recognisable medicinal scent. This oil is sourced from about a dozen species.

There are many other types of oils from Eucalyptus. Oil from the lemon-scented gum, for example, is full of citronellal, which is used in perfumes and insect repellents. What makes a specific oil valuable are the commercial uses for the major terpenes found in that oil.

Eucalyptol is a flammable terpene. Carsten Kulheim

Jet fuel grown on trees

Powering a modern jet aircraft with anything other than fossil fuels is a big ask. Renewable ethanol and biodiesel might do fine in the family SUV, but they just don’t possess a high enough energy density to cut it in the aviation industry.

Certain terpenes commonly found in oils from eucalypts, such as pinene and limonene, can be refined through a catalytic process, resulting in a fuel with energy densities in the same league as JP-10 tactical jet fuel.

Turpentine from pine trees is another potential source of these terpenes, but pines grow more slowly than eucalypts.

As a pure fuel, or as an additive to standard aviation fuels, the potential exists to carve out a renewable slice of the enormous aviation fuel market, if the volume of terpene production can be increased to economically competitive levels. Current plantations produce up to 200kg of oil per hectare per year, but by selecting the best genetic stock it is estimated that yields could be more than 500kg per hectare.

Graphene from terpenes

The 2010 Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded for the discovery of the physical properties of graphene, a two-dimensional carbon grid or film, less than one-millionth of a millimetre thick yet more than 100 times stronger than steel.

In fact, a square metre of graphene can support the weight of a house cat, but weighs less than one of its whiskers. Production value in 2012 was US$9 million and growing fast, and new ways of producing graphene are keenly sought.

Terpinene-4-ol, which is found in Eucalyptus and its close relative tea tree, is an ideal starting material for the direct production of high-quality graphene. This method is scalable and sustainable, potentially providing the solution to the growing demand for graphene and opening up further innovative uses for Eucalyptus oil.

Australia’s advantage

Worldwide, more eucalypts are grown for the production of pulp, paper and timber than any other type of tree. However, all of that global production comes from just over a dozen of the almost 800 Eucalyptus species that occur naturally in Australia, and mostly from a limited ancestry. This means the existing plantations lack genetic diversity and they also lack diversity and variability of oils.

This is where Australia’s advantage lies. We have the choice of 800 species growing in every imaginable ecological niche and possessing vast genetic diversity. For example, within a single species the amount of oil found in leaves can vary 30-fold among wild individuals, which can contain as many as six different major oil variants.

Australia has a veritable smorgasbord of variation from which to select plants with high yields of the right oil for new commercial purposes.

Ecologically a good alternative

Growing eucalypts for oil can provide benefits beyond the commercial value of the terpenes. Several Eucalyptus “mallee” species, which happen to be prolific oil producers, are purposely planted in wide rows on agricultural land to combat dryland salinity and prevent soil erosion.

Mallees are known for their bushy form, which is best described as a “ball of leaves”, and can be re-harvested for oil every 1-3 years. This puts them in the rare class of being renewable oil crops with added ecological benefits.

Ramping up oil production would still require large, dedicated plantations. A frequent criticism of biofuel crops is that land suitable for food production is diverted to fuel production, in turn pushing up food prices. But many eucalypts can grow well on marginal land that is not used for other agricultural purposes, skirting this issue altogether.

With the right genetics from the right species grown in the right places, the humble Eucalyptus oil may be on the verge of an ecologically sustainable renaissance.

Disclosure statement

David Kainer receives funding from the Australian National University and Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation

Carsten Kulheim receives funding from Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation and Australian Research Council.


Australian National Universityprovides funding as a member of The Conversation AU. 

Click on these links if you would like to know more about Emu Ridge and our Kangaroo Island Eucalyptus oil Distillery History or our range of pure natural Australian produced eucalyptus oil and products.






This newsletter is to firstly let our customers know that we really value your support of our family owned Business. As a thank you for being one of our valued customers we would like to offer 15% Discount on any of our products.

Below is some info on what’s been happening on Kangaroo Island and Emu Ridge and some hints, tips and recipes for you.

Thanks again and we look forward to your continued support.

Happy reading,
Bev, Larry and Staff



We are very pleased to offer this great special as a thank you to our loyal customers! 15% OFF EVERYTHING for 1 week only, so get in quick before it ends on the 19/7/18. Click here or below to take advantage of this great offer! Make sure you use Coupon Code emu15 at the checkout to receive your discount.



Emu Ridge are WINNERS!

The annual Kangaroo Island Food, Wine & Tourism Awards were recently held at the Award Winning Dudley Wines Cellar Door. We are very proud to have won Best Farm Gate Experience 2018 for the third year in a row! Thanks to SeaLink for sponsoring the award and all our wonderful staff that are a big part of what makes our business success! Click here for more pics and info on the other winners from the night.



New Eco Friendly Products
Shampoo & Conditioner Bars

Shampoo and Conditioner Bars are   making a comeback. They are much   better for the environment and fantastic   for travelling. No more plastic bottles     and they actually last a lot longer! Click   here to our blog with plenty more info.   Don’t forget you can get 15% off these   new products too!


What’s Been Happening At Emu Ridge?


Back Deck

Tristan has been busy during the quiet season out on the back deck. He’s been sanding & re-varnishing our tables & cafe chairs and even the deck floor has been sanded and oiled. It looks great, all refreshed ready for the  visitors and locals to enjoy some food and drinks with our local Kangaroos. View our blog to see the transformation.



DIY Eucalyptus Laundry Liquid

It’s Winter here and we’re all wearing our warm woollen clothes. We would like to share this recipe with you. It’s gentle when Washing woollens and great for normal washing to. Perfect for front and top loaders as it doesn’t suds. We do sell this product but unfortunately freight makes it too costly to post. It’s biodegradable and economical! Click here for more info.


DIY Reed Diffuser

We sell this refreshing  fragranced Reed Diffuser by Maine Beach. It is infused with native lemon myrtle, wild orange, our eucalyptus & jasmine. It’s paraben, sulphate, colour and mineral oil free.

What happens when it runs out? We have the perfect DIY recipe to refill them. Click below and this will take you to our DIY Reed Diffuser recipe or if you’d like to buy this one just click here.



100% Pure Eucalyptus Oil

Our 100% Pure Eucalyptus oil is perfect for winter. Don’t forget you can use it for coughs, colds, as a decongestant and for disinfecting. Plus so much more, see below for all the other wonderful uses.

All Natural Lip Balm

DRY LIPS? Our all natural lip balm is just what you need. Our lip balm has Eucalyptus, Emu oil and Beeswax which are great for chapped, dry lips and it even helps keep cold sores away!


Here’s some news on what’s new on Kangaroo Island. We have a brand new state of the art airport, this link will take you to the official opening.

We have a new 5 day Wilderness Walking Trail in some beautiful areas of the Flinders Chase National Park, you can do sections at a time.

Penneshaw has a lovely Sculpture Walking Trail recently completed, due to the hard work of the Penneshaw progress group.

Thanks for taking the time to read our newsletter and thanks again for your support.

Bev, Larry & team!



Emu Ridge Eucalyptus
PO Box 299, Kingscote, SA 5223





As a thank you to our valued customers for supporting our family owned Business, we would like to offer 15% Discount on any of our Emu Ridge products. So stock up on this great offer it ends on the 19th of July 2018.

Just pop emu15 in the Coupon Code at checkout to receive your discount! Shop link.

Thanks again and we look forward to your continued support.

Larry Bev and Staff


Did you know we have a Testimony or Review page?

If you interested in seeing what our customers are saying about our products and services? Click here.

We love to hear back from our customers. Nothing pleases us more than to hear the ways that our products have helped and what our customers think. Since our inception in 1991 we are proud to have earned a reputation of producing excellent quality pure natural Australian made and produced products on beautiful Kangaroo Island.

A very big “thank you” to those that have taken the time to share their experience about Emu Ridge or our products we really appreciate it. We would love to hear from you to.

Thanks again Larry, Bev & staff




DIY Refurbished Back Deck at Emu Ridge

During the quiet time its always great to catch up on the jobs that we never have time to do! This Winter Tristan has been busy out on the back deck. He has been sanding and re varnishing our original handmade tables, our cafe chairs had a sand and varnish, and even the deck floor has had a sand and oil. Its nice to see it refreshed ready for another season! Thanks also to our volunteer Mattia from Italy for you great help as well!

Its a great space and its not only the visitors that get to enjoy it. We are also grateful for the support of the locals that come out for a visit as well, grabbing some product, enjoying  the view on the deck or the inside cafe with lunch or a drink! (0r having a chat with the Emus)

Its great that we do have some lovely spots to visit to have a meal just out of Kingscote if your wanting a change of scenery you can visit our venue at Emu Ridge, Frogs and Roses, Emu Bay Lavender and when the season starts The Honey Pot Food Van at Cliffords Honey Farm!

Click on these links if you would like to know more about Emu Ridge and our Eucalyptus oil Distillery History or our range of pure natural Australian produced products.

WINNERS! Kangaroo Island Food, Wine & Tourism Awards 2018

The Kangaroo Island Food, Wine & Tourism Awards were held recently at the Award Winning Dudley Wines Cellar Door and Emu Ridge is extremely proud to have won Best Farm Gate Experience 2018 for the third year in a row!

We thank SeaLink Kangaroo Island for sponsoring our award it was an honor to have Julie-Anne give us the award being a part of Sealink for 26 years she has seen our growth from the very beginning. Our business is also so proud of our awesome staff that are a big part of what makes our business success!

Pierre Gregor Tourism President, Julie-Ann from Sealink and Larry and Bev Turner –Photo courtesy of the Islander Newspaper

The awards were held at the beautiful Dudley Wines Cellar Door and the food was provided by Chef Marion Trethewey of St Austell Farm. Thanks to all involved it was great to be at the event with our son Tristan, we are normally away on this night of celebration taking our Winter break, it was a fab night! And yes Larry had a very enjoyable night, he had been celebrating with Jamie Helyar drinking the Kangaroo Island Wine of the Year False Cape 2015 The Captain Cabernet Sauvignon!

We have travelled alot and believe our Island really is a very unique place, all Kangaroo Island businesses really do an amazing job! It was also nice to meet the Minister of Trade, Tourism and Investment Hon David Ridgway

Larry & Bev Turner with Julie-Anne from SeaLink and Hon David Ridgway and Tristan Turner.


Larry, Bev & Tristan with the award.

Below is the Winners from all categories and if you would like to know more about the night and other winners CLICK ON THIS LINK


What the Judges said about Emu Ridge

Emu Ridge Eucalyptus Distillery knows its market well and presents an authentic bush experience. Judges again chose this destination as the best Farm Gate experience on Kangaroo Island, awarding the top mark – 10/10 – for its “exceptional welcome”and atmosphere.

Emu Ridge is the only commercial eucalyptus distillery in South Australia, a pioneer in sustainable tourism, and it became the first-ever farm gate on the island 27 years ago.

The judges said that this distinctly Kangaroo Island business provides a most comprehensive range of interesting products; that their DVD presentation works very well for visitors; and the availability of the DVD and printed items in many other languages was excellent. Staff and owners provided an excellent welcome and “a very good explanation of all products and services”.

The business is working towards environmental sustainability, land management and re-vegetation, while producing 100 per cent pure eucalyptus oil from the Narrow Leaf Mallee (Eucalyptus cneorifolia), which is only found on the island. There were “very good processes in place to conserve water and energy, also good full use of all by-product”.

On-line subscribers are treated to regular newsletters and offers, so the farm gate experience continues long after visitors have returned to their homes. The business’ online marketing strategy was also singled out for praise.


Kangaroo Island Dining

Mercure Kangaroo Island Lodge

 Farm Gate Experience

Emu Ridge Eucalyptus Distillery

Cellar Door Experience

Dudley Wines Cellar Door

 Unique Food and Beverage Experience

Table 88

New Tourism Business

Wandering Souls Australia

 Nature-Based Tourism Experience

Kangaroo Island Ocean Safari

Best Value-Added Product

Kangaroo Island Free Range Eggs

 Kangaroo Island Rising Star

Eliza Sheridan-Turner

 Kangaroo Island Outstanding Contribution by an Individual

Craig Wickham

Kangaroo Island Wine of the Year

False Cape 2015 The Captain Cabernet Sauvignon

Click on these links if you would like to know more about Emu Ridge and our Eucalyptus oil Distillery History or our range of pure natural Australian produced products.