Records of the Blackwood Homestead, the Ritchie Chair of Economic Research at the University of Melbourne, and business and personal correspondence.
Over the course of over 170 years successive generations of Ritchies nurtured their prosperous pastoral interests in livestock, primarily in merino stud. The records of family business R.B. Ritchie& Son Pty Ltd relating to land licences, fencing agreements, stock accounts, wool clip accounts and sales, provide the researcher with insight into the inner world of nineteenth century agricultural operation and business. The final fourteen years of Ritchie ownership of the Blackwood Homestead saw ownership pass onto Jason and Dan Ritchie (sons of Robin Ritchie and grandsons of Alan Ritchie). They transformed the property from being livestock based to a cropping enterprise, largely of wheat, barley and canola. The property was eventually sold to investors in early 2014.
Researchers interested in farming, agriculture or the wool industry should refer to the Farm Administration Records and Farm and Budget Records series to find material from 1923-1983. The Ritchie Business Agriculture and Investment Records series contains similar farming management documents, as well as records relating to company governance, business and share portfolios, and other pastoral ventures. This series ranges from 1859-1986 and is a comprehensive collection of records illustrating the length and depth of the Ritchie family involvement in Victorian history.
The Ritchie family has close ties with other well-known farming families in the Western District. Former Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser’s sister in-law is Eda Ritchie (former President of the Victorian Liberal Party 1984-1987) is married to Robin Ritchie. Eda Ritchie and Fraser’s wife Tamara ‘Tamie’ Fraser (AO) are descendants of well-known Western District pastoralist Hugh Norman Beggs.
Many of the nineteenth century pastoralist families who had lived and worked in the Western District have since sold their family holdings and moved on.
Zachariah, Richard. The Vanished Land: Disappearing dynasties of Victoria’s Western District’, Wakefield Press, 2017.
Department of Crown Lands and Survey, ‘PROCY26 YALIMBA’, 10 May 1880, Historic Plan Collection, VPRS 8168, Public Record Office of Victoria https://mapwarper.prov.vic.gov.au/maps/9170#Show_tab