Kangaroo Island, South Australia, Emu Ridge Eucalyptus Oil Distillery
Here’s a post for you seasonal job seekers, science, and ecotourism lovers. Kangaroo Island is an extremely special place as many of my other posts have pointed out, but another one of the outstanding examples of why it is special is Emu Ridge Eucalyptus Distillery. Run by Larry and Bev Turner, Emu Ridge, is the only commercial Eucalyptus Distillery in South Australia. More than just that, the business is completely self-sufficient, operating on solar, steam and wind- power with all by-products and most building materials being recycled. In fact…an integral part of the distilling process involves old beer kegs. You’ve got to see it to believe it. The best news for many of you- they are willing to take on dedicated seasonal workers. Please contact them first.
Early in the Island’s history, Eucalyptus distilling was one of Kangaroo Island’s major industries, there were well over 100 stills, and the industry employed over 600 people when it reached its peak in the 1930’s. Sheep farming took over, initially being more profitable for farmers, making eucalyptus distilling a thing of the past. Emu Ridge was one of these farms until 1991. Starting with nothing, using salvaged materials and their own initiative, they have revived one of the most historical industries in all of Australia.
The Islands thick natural scrub plants are the key to this operation, making it eco friendly, conserving the scarce water resources, and keeping the top soil in place. Their oil is the only one of its kind in the world. It is known for its pungent aroma, and is distilled from the leaf of the indigenous Kangaroo Island Narrow Leaf Mallee, Eucalyptus cneorifolia. From personal experience, it is gorgeous!
From very humble beginnings in an old caravan by the Eucalyptus Distillery, they eventually grew into a small craft shop in the historical MacGillivray Post Office, which you can explore on their walking tour. Recently, they have expanded to include a visitor center and retail shop which is built from the recycled materials of the original shearing shed, which is currently a plant nursery.
A truly unique tourist destination that is good for the environment, good for the economy and great for the local wildlife. Bev is also one of the Island’s injured and orphaned wildlife rehabilitationists. If you are lucky, you just might get to see a Joey (baby kangaroo) hanging in a surrogate pouch (cloth bag) around the shop.
Larry and Bev Turner
PO Box 299, Kingscote
Ph: +61 8 8553 8228
Fax: +61 8 8553 8272
Other Kangaroo Island Articles
Kangaroo Island may have eucalyptus flavored sweets, but if Parisian chocolates are your thing, check out the Paris Travel Guide
If an Australian wildlife safari is interesting, what about a safari in Tanzania?