Australia is starting to become a major table olive producing country and olives are growing since the Europeans settled in. Since the European colonization, about 200 plus years ago, the settlers planted the first olive trees.
The Australian olive growing started in the New South Wales by George Sutton, who planted the first olive tree that was brought with a shipment of plants consigned by Sir Joseph Banks, around 1800.
In 1805 an important settler farmer John Macarthur planted an olive tree in his property in New South Wales. He also started the first commercial olive growing in Australia. More planting started in other parts of the country, with plants from Italy and Spain.
Sir Samuel Davenport in the 1800s was the major commercial olive grower, who distributed rootstock to others. The government also distributed olive rootstock all over Australia.
Part of the table olives in Australia come from its own production and part are imported. Spain and Greece are the two major importers of table olives to Australia. At present times Australians consume about one kilo yearly and the numbers are increasing. Olives are eaten as starters and as hors d’ oeurves. The quality and safety starts in the orchard and continues to the consumer. The methods of the table olive production are by fermentation, chemical and by drying methods.
The olive oil production in Australia is growing rapidly, but the table olives production is in its first steps. The next ten years is going to cover the needed use for consumption, plus the country will be a table olive exporter.
The climate is ideal for table olive production and Australian producers are paying attention to quality and safety of their production to enter to the international exporting market.
The university and the olive growers in Western Australia, the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation, have made possible the development of table olive production, with their support.
Table olives in Australia are produced at home or commercial premises. The home process is usually done by Australians mainly the ones with Mediterranean descent.
The raw olive fruit is picked when it is green-ripe or black-ripe, dependind on the method of process that is going to be used. Raw olives are not edible, because of the oleuropein content. The process minimizes bitterness.
The Australian olive industry is very vigorous and the quantities of olive oil and olives, are increasing every year. Substantial investments in olive orchards and processing facilities, using the latest technology, have been made.
Most of Australia has favourable weather conditions for olive growing and the olive products have been recognized internationally.