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John and Tristan Russell
History

Who owns Nerada Tea?

The Russell family, third-generation tea-producers, own Nerada Tea and in 2021 will celebrate 50 years of Nerada producing Australian-grown black tea right here in Far North Queensland. The Russell family’s long career in the tea industry spans three continents, starting out in Britain before heading to Malaya in 1880, and later Australia. The Russell family also owns 70% of BOH Tea. You won’t meet a family with a stronger passion for producing exceptional tea, having been actively involved in the tea industry since 1929.

The Russell Family’s Australian Tea Legacy

Having seen his family produce tea whilst growing up in Britain and Malaya, Tristan Russell, son of Kathleen and John Archibald Russell, came to Australia in the 1950s in search of diversifying the family portfolio. Having fallen in love with Australian-born Joan Broadfoot, Tristan married in Sydney in 1960 and had two children, John and Caroline. The young couple were mesmerised by the Queensland terroir, recognising that the climate was perfect for growing tea, and with some help from Western Australian Bill Benson, they started Glen Allyn Tea Estate near Malanda in Queensland in 1984. The family has been involved in growing tea and supporting the Nerada brand in Australia ever since. Without the Russell family’s investment and belief in Nerada (which produces 85% of black tea grown in Australia), the business certainly would not exist today, and Australia’s tea industry would undoubtedly look very different.

At 87 years of age Tristan Russell recently retired from the family business and his son John Russell has oversight of the Australian business, having been actively involved with Nerada for many years. In fact, John was CEO and was integral to the development of both factories in Malanda and Brisbane. The tea factory in Malanda was officially opened by Queensland Premier Wayne Goss in 1991. John has his father’s unwavering passion for tea, and actively shares best practice and expertise within the family business to ensure Nerada’s tea competes with some of the best in the world.

John’s sister Caroline also has tea running through her veins and is the CEO of the Malaysian Tea business BOH, the largest producer of tea in Malaysia, which she’s been the Executive Chair of since 2019.

Hear more from John Russell in this short video.

The future of Nerada Tea

The Russell family is incredibly proud of the longstanding contribution it has made to producing pesticide-free black tea in Queensland. There are 85 employees managing everything from the tea production to the packaging, all here in Australia. The 360 hectares of tea fields are situated on the Atherton Tablelands in Far North Queensland, while Acacia Ridge in Brisbane is home to the factory, carrying out all packing and distribution functions. Committed to supporting other local organisations, Nerada has a network of businesses in Queensland who are also integral in ensuring Australia’s freshest tea travels the short journey from crop to cup.

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