The South Australian Almond Industry

Early in the settlement of South Australia, the climate was  recognised as being suitable for almond production.  Introduction of almonds to South Australia occurred  on Kangaroo Island before formal proclamation of the state.  By the early 1900's, commercial almond  production was spread across the Adelaide Plains around the city of  Adelaide.

As Adelaide's urban areas expanded in the 1920's and 1930's,  the almond industry became concentrated in the western suburbs (especially  around the Marion, Edwardstown, Brighton areas), and developed in the Willunga  and Southern Vales districts.  Plantings  subsequently expanded on the Northern Adelaide Plains (Virginia, Two Wells,  Angle Vale) in the 1960's and 1970's, and then into the Riverland and Murray  Valley areas.

The SA Department of Agriculture has played a key role in  fostering development of almond production in South Australia.  George Quinn, the SA Department of  Agriculture's first Horticulture Instructor identified the potential of this  crop for South Australia's climate, and fostered early research on variety  assessment, plant improvement, flowering and pruning.

Almond Trees at Beaumont circa 1910

Almond trees at Beaumont, South Australia in 1910. 
Issued by the State Tourist Bureau and Intelligence Office. 
Source: State Library of South Australia B72520.

Almond and Apricot Cracking Shed

Almond and apricot stone cracking shed at "Watiparinga", Tonsley Park, ca 1932.  Source: State Library of South Australia B33780.

Almond Cracking Machine

Almond cracking machine at Tonsley Park, ca 1932. 
Source: State Library of South Australia B33779.

Almond Sorting

Almond sorting at Tonsley Park, ca 1932. 
Source: State Library of South Australia B33777

Major Almond  Publications

Commencing in 1904, the SA Department of Agriculture  published a series of comprehensive articles and booklets about commercial  almond production.  These publications  provide an overview of the increasing knowledge about commercial almond growing  over a period of 80 years.  Below is a  list of these publications:

Quinn, George; (1904)  Some Notes on Almonds, SA Department of Agriculture Journal of Agriculture and  Industry, No 6, Vol VII, P335.

Quinn, George; (1928)  The Almond in South Australia, SA Department of Agriculture Journal of  Agriculture Nov 15 1928, P 328.  In  writing this publication, George Quinn, Chief Horticulture Instructor utilised  latest research findings obtained from Hackney, Blackwood and Berri Research  Stations.

Quinn, Noel: (1941)  Almond Culture in South Australia, SA Dept of Agriculture Bulletin No 367.  Written by Noel Quinn, District Horticultural  Adviser in 1941, this publication was subsequently updated by members of the  Horticulture Branch in 1953.

Moss D.E., (1962)  Growing Almonds Commercially, SA Department of Agriculture Bulletin No 367.  This was a major update of Bulletin 367  prepared by David Moss, District Horticultural Adviser

Baker B.T., Gathercole  F.J., and Cowley R.W.I., (1973) Commercial Almond Growing, SA Department of  Agriculture Extension Bulletin No 10.73.

Baker B.T. and  Gathercole .F.J. (1977), Commercial Almond growing, SA Department of  Agriculture Bulleting No 9/77.  This  edition was also updated and reprinted in 1983, introducing new information  about mechanical harvesting.

Accessing Further Almond  Industry Historical Information

The Almond Board of Australia published a comprehensive book  about the history of the Australian almond industry in October 2012.  This can be purchased on line from the Almond  Board of Australia web site at , or by contacting Ms Jo Ireland, Communications Manager at the Almond Board of  Australia on 08 8582 2055.

This 336 page book written by Jennifer Wilkinson is titled "Almonds in Australia – From pioneer  planting to prime production".  It  costs $35 and provides information about development of the almond industry  over 100 years, and the role of growers, processors, marketers, nurserymen and  researchers in development of the industry.

This comprehensive book chronicles the endeavours of those  that have shaped today's vibrant almond industry.  It covers the history of almond production in  Australia from the first plantings through to and including 1995 when the first  national industry body was formed, the Australian Almond Growers Association.

Jennifer Wilkinson is the editor of the Australian Nut  Industries journal "Australian Nutgrower", and has authored 6 related books  including "Nut Growers Guide".

Almond Board of Australia

The Almond Board of Australia also provides a wide array of  information about Australia's almond industry on their comprehensive web site at

This includes:

  • Use of almonds 
  • Nutrition and health aspects associated with almonds 
  • Marketing and promotion of almonds 
  • Technical and industry news and information 
  • Industry statistics


Prepared by Barry Philip with assistance from the author of  "Almonds in Australia – From pioneer planting to prime production", Jennifer  Wilkinson
Page Last Reviewed: 20 Nov 2017
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