Olive trees have been cultivated in Australia on a small scale since the early 1800s but olives have never been a major contributor to the value of the primary industry of this country. Interest in the planting of olive groves in Australia has increased significantly over the past decade, mainly through the entrepreneurial activities of olive propagators and growers, the encouragement of local olive associations and general promotion of the crop for its nutritional and health benefits.
Most of the Australian plantings of olives have been made in areas with a Mediterranean type of climate, similar to that of the traditional olive growing areas in Europe. Many recent olive plantings have, however, been made in areas in Australia which do not have such a climate. Although much olive genetic variability has been imported into Australia over the last century. There has been little systematic evaluation of this variability, particularly in the new environments into which the latest plantings are now spreading.