Through colonization by the British, tea was introduced to Australia. In fact, tea was aboard the First Fleet in 1788. Tea is a large part of modern Australian culture due to its British origins. In 1884, the Cutten brothers established the first commercial tea plantation in Australia in Bingil Bay in northern Queensland.
Tea is grown across a wide range of environmental conditions in Australia, varying in latitude from 16 0-180 S in North Queensland to experimental planting in Tasmania at 410-430S.The main producing areas are North Queensland and Northern New South Wales.The main areas of production in Queensland near the towns of Malanda, Innisfail and Daintree, close to the coast or on the coastal ranges.Tea is grown at elevations ranging from sea level to about 800 m above sea level. In Northern New South Wales, the main producing areas are near the towns of Murwillumbah, Lismore and Casino between 280 and 290S, at elevations upto 200 m above sea level. In Tasmania and Victoria, Australian Agricultural Department and individual growers have planted Japanese clones “Yabukita” and “Sencha” from Japan for production of green tea. Tea was cultivated initially by big businessmen; however, planting of new areas of tea is started by small growers from mid 1970s. Owing to the high cost of labour in Australia tea production is highly mechanized right from planting to harvesting. All the tea plantings were done by seedling except the new areas which have been planted by Japanese clonal plants.
Tea production in Australia remains very small and is primarily in northern New South Wales and Queensland. Most tea produced in Australia is black tea, although there are small quantities of green tea produced in the Alpine Valleys region of Victoria.