Ritchie Family and Business
The Ritchie story in Australia began in 1841 when James Ritchie landed at Williamstown and commenced his survey of the Western District. He subsequently took out a license covering the area that was to become the Blackwood run.Freehold was secured, and the ownership successively passed to James' brothers Daniel (a doctor who had previously served nineteen years as a Royal Navy surgeon) and John, then to Daniel's son Robert (also a businessman and politician), his son Alan and grandson Robin Ritchie.The successive Ritchie generations have nurtured the prosperous pastoral interests, particularly their merino stud. The final fourteen years of Ritchie ownership of Blackwood saw ownership pass onto Jason and Dan Ritchie (sons of Robin Ritchie and grandsons of Alan Ritchie).They transformed the property from being largely livestock based to being a viable cropping enterprise with wheat, barley and canola being most commonly sown each year. The property was sold to investors in early 2014.
The University of Melbourne Archives (UMA) hold the papers of the well known Western Distict pastoralist family and with the generous philanthropic support of the Ritchie family the finding aids to this extensive collection are now available online.