MercyCare’s own olives have been harvested and cold-pressed by staff and volunteers to produce high quality olive oil and soap. All Good Habits products will be sold to raise funds towards directly supporting refugees and people seeking asylum toward gaining meaningful long-term employment.
The centuries-old trees were planted in the 1850s by Benedictine Monks who occupied the site through to the 1860s. Monks had harvested olives, which they pressed in The Stables nearby onsite to make olive oil.
Over time, the Stables fell in to disrepair after years of neglect until the restoration returned the building to its original glory.
In the 1860s, the Wembley site was officially handed over to the Sisters of Mercy who looked after the olive trees for over 100 years. The traditional olive harvest continued through this period and was restarted in 2020.
The century-old trees which are listed on the State Register of Heritage Places, have served as a connection to the site’s history.
The olives come from century-old trees at our Wembley site, planted in the 1850s. Thanks to the collaboration with the Benedictine Community of New Norcia, who provided the equipment, we’ve been able to offer paid employment to refugees and asylum seekerss. This provides them with valuable work experience and helps them secure stable employment.
Among the MercyCare volunteers helping out on the harvesting day were several Wembley residents who have lived in the area for their whole lives. They reminisced about their visits to the orphanage and observing the olive harvest.
While some modernisation has taken place with the use of the specialised air rake, the essence of the harvest remains unchanged. The olives fell onto shade cloth laid out underneath the trees, swept into piles and then collected in buckets with dustpans and brushed.
Once collected, the olives were separated from the debris of leaves and transported to our facilities for further processing.
The olives will continue their life cycle as oil. A portion of the oil will be used by MercyCare as part of the candle and soap-making workshops which provide a pivotal step towards building enterprise opportunities for refugee women. Good Habit soap and Good Habit olive oil are sold to raise funds toward directly supporting refugees and people seeking asylum toward gaining meaningful long-term employment.
Hosted by MercyCare’s Multicultural Services team, the Good Habit brand of soaps and olive oil have been developed over the past few years as part of several small-scale experiments in an effort to help build livelihoods among refugees as well as develop new skills to help start their own enterprises.