Why Emu Ridge Eucalyptus Kangaroo Island
Why the name ‘Emu Ridge?
A South Australian company, F.H. Faulding & Co. was famous for “Emu Brand” Eucalyptus Oil.
Faulding’s purchased the majority of oil produced on Kangaroo Island from other farmers to sell as their own brand. As the supply dwindled with more farmers turning to sheep, on 6th May, 1923 they purchased ‘Windy Ridge’, renaming the farm ‘Emu Ridge’ after their famous ‘Emu brand’ Eucalyptus oil.
Fauldings intended planting plantations to counter act for the land being cleared, establishing two plantations in 1938 for the purpose of systematically harvesting it on a rotational basis.
They produced Eucalyptus oil from the farm until 1952. With freighting costs and competition from overseas companies producing oil at much better prices, Fauldings Kangaroo Island production was no longer viable, and the farm was sold for the soldier settler scheme and sheep farming became the Islands new industry.
The name still remains today, as a reminder of the history associated with Kangaroo Island’s Eucalyptus oil production. ‘Emu Ridge’ is now owned and operated by Larry and Bev Turner, who re-invented the industry in 1991.
Our Emus are a mascot to the farm being part of the history!
KANGAROO ISLAND AND THE EMU
The common mainland Australian Emu is not native to Kangaroo Island. However, a native dwarf Emu which was much smaller than the mainland species was discovered by Matthew Flinders on the Island in 1802.
At that time it was found quite extensively throughout the Island, hence the name ‘Emu Bay’. The native Emu was a great source of food for the settlers, and as a consequence is believed to have been hunted to extinction in 1827. Also major bush fires on the Island in the early 18th century are suspected of contributing to their demise.
Eucalyptus Oil Industry on Kangaroo Island
The eucalyptus oil industry began around the 1880’s and was a good source of income for farmers as they were clearing the land. In 1914 about 9,210 gallons or approx. 34,863 litres of oil were shipped to the mainland. In the 1920 records show 114 drums, approximately 285 litres of oil were shipped away in just one month. The industry reached its peak in the 1930’s where 48 distilleries employed approximately 600 people, making it one of the Island’s major industries. After the 1930’s agricultural farming practises took over and the commercial part of the industry ceased around 1952 when the company FH Faulding sold their interests on the Island.
Eucalyptus Oil was Australia’s first true export overseas, these days around 90% of Australia’s requirements are imported!
The unique oil produced on the Island is the only one of its kind on the world, it is distilled from the Kangaroo Island Narrow Leaf Mallee Eucalyptus cneorifolia. The bulk of the oil is produced in Spring and Summer as the new growth from Spring holds the best oil. Emu Ridge renewed this past industry in 1991 and is increasing productivity and harvest every year.