Benjamin Richards opened a butcher shop in Richmond in 1837 and in Sydney in 1847. He acquired large grazing runs gradually expanding the business to provide meat for the Sydney market.
In 1878 Richards founded the Riverstone Meat Works, an abattoir supplying meat directly to Sydney.
Richards died in 1898 in the home he built for his family in Richmond, formally known as Kamilaroi, bequeathing the house and Richmond farm to his daughter, Elvina Durham.
Elvina Durham lived at Kamilaroi in 1896 and in 1900 Mr Hough was managing the Richmond Lowlands property. The season’s crop looked promising and a good maize yield was predicted. Potatoes and melons were also being grown on the lowlands. Elvina Durham leased the farm to the Crown on 8 June 1905.
Hawkesbury Agricultural College
Between 1891 and 1908 Hawkesbury Agricultural College was administered a section of Crown land from the NSW Department of Mines and Agriculture. Work commenced by the first students involved clearing and fencing of paddocks for grazing and cultivation and construction of dams. The principle Henry William Potts acquired the Riverfarm by lease in 1904 for growing crops enhancing the feed necessary to produce ‘’studs of high quality poultry, sheep, pigs, cattle and horses’’.
A year after the farm was in operation plans were made in 1909 to construct a large water tower to provide water to the Riverfarm, as well as the college and the Richmond Township. In 1921 a large scale ‘maize-breeding experiment’ was undertaken involving Chemists from the college testing the soil quality enhancing the productivity of the farm. It was considered the most fertile farms on the Hawkesbury River at the time.
In the 1950s Spence Reid, the farm manager, lived on site in the small cottage on the property. Students working at the Riverfarm drove there in a wagon or sulky accompanying Spencer to the stable to perform their daily routines. The fields were planted using horse draw ploughs, many of which were bred on the Riverfarm. The rich alluvial soils were used to grow maize, potatoes, mangolds (beets) and various other crops. The Riverfarm continued to be managed by the Hawkesbury Agricultural College until the second half of the 20th Century.