History


The first Ritson arrived in the Blackwood Valley Region of Western Australia in 1906, when Roland Arthur Ritson left the family business (the Nautilus Steamship Company of Sunderland, England) to take up farming in Australia. The initial property was developed, with his wife Bertha, near Boyup Brook and called Daneholm after the Ritson family home in England. He then went on to purchase several other blocks of land within the Shire as they became available. An area of land further out from Boyup Brook was called Grindon, after Roland Arthur's maternal family home.

 

Commencing in 1937, Roland Arthur's son Frank, and his wife Mary, developed much of Grindon for sheep production. By the late 1940's Grindon was established as a superfine wool enterprise.

 

Further blocks were developed or purchased by grandson Roland Frank and his wife Anne. In addition to another superfine flock of sheep, they also incorporated an intensive piggery with a cropping program. Grindon now totals 1512 hectares (3736 acres).

 

Approximately 400 hectares (1000 acres) of forest, both virgin and regrowth bush, have been preserved by the Ritsons. The trees are mainly Jarrah, Wandoo, and Marri and there is a huge variety of shrubs and wildflowers in the understorey. Roland Arthur's great grandson David has carried on the family tradition of preserving the natural vegetation and has also planted thousands of trees along the watercourses.

 

 

Grindon has now become internationally renowned for the production of superfine wool and is highly regarded in the sheep and wool trades. In Western Australia, the record for the highest price per kilogram of greasy wool is held by Grindon.


However, with fickle wool markets and rising costs during the 1990’s, it was deemed prudent to develop another income stream. Research showed that the climate and landscape around Boyup Brook is ideally suited to growing olives, and the first trees at Grindon were planted in 1998.


While researching the olive industry, Roland was impressed that olive growers have a real passion for their product. He could relate to and appreciate this as it was a factor common amongst superfine wool growers and processors. Olives also have the added benefits of providing shelter for the sheep and lowering the water table to reduce salinity. An integrated system has resulted with the olive trees, the sheep and the pasture all benefiting each other.




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