May 05, 2021 5 min read

Darwin couple Tracey and Alan discovered Tamanu oil by chance, on a family cruise through the Pacific Islands, and quickly fell in love with this beautiful soothing oil.

Cherished for centuries in Polynesia, and one of the hottest beauty products in south-east Asia, Tamanu oil remains relatively unknown in Australia – something Tracey and Neil are working to change.

Their blossoming business, Northern Tamanu Oil, produces the only Australian-grown tamanu oil available on the market. Tracey and Alan wild harvest and process tamanu oil right here in Darwin, producing premium quality Tamanu oil in small batches and working to spread the word on the multiple benefits of Tamanu oil right across the country.

Australian grown and produced Tamanu oil

Tracey Farrar comes from a long line of Territorians and can trace her family back to the pioneering pastoralists that arrived in the NT around 1865, establishing Elsey, Annabaroo, and Ban Ban Springs cattle stations.  The suburb Farrar has been named after Tracey’s family.

A love of plants and the natural world led Tracey to study Environmental Science and Business Management at Charles Darwin University, later working in Plant Pathology and Animal Production at Research Stations, as well as a Producer for ABC radio.

Tracey met Alan in Darwin in 2010, a New Zealander from a family of pioneering horticulturists who developed a love and knowledge of horticulture growing up on a nut and stone fruit orchard. Having worked in commercial fishing and construction in the NT, Alan has always been fascinated by the power of plants, but he had little idea that his work would soon be dedicated to gathering and processing the seeds of the beauty leaf tree.

A delightful discovery

On a family cruise through the Pacific, Tracey and her daughter treated themselves to a day spa visit while docked in Port Villa, and enjoyed the luxurious experience so much they bought the beautiful tamanu oil based skin care products sold at the Spa, and enjoyed using them back home in Darwin.

Tamanu oil

Researching this amazing oil, Tracey understood it was good for scarring and healing, so when she was diagnosed with breast cancer a few months later, she ordered more tamanu oil from the Pacific as part of her treatment plan to support her following surgery.

“After placing the order, I wondered what tree this oil came from, and a quick search revealed that it was pressed from the dried fruits of the Beauty Leaf tree Calophyllum inophyllum. I was very surprised to find that it grows right here in Darwin!”

A sign from above

Tracey shares that on that same afternoon that she ordered more tamanu oil from the Pacific, and then learned that the trees grew locally, she was walking to the post office and passed under a large tree with low flowering branches.

Tamanu tree flowers

“The flowers on the tree brushed my hair as I walked past. When I looked up to see stunning white and yellow inflorescences, I was startled to realise that it was a beauty leaf tree flower! It literally tapped me on the head. That was a good enough sign for me. We have been working on producing Tamanu Oil ever since.”

Tracey is now well, but her experience with tamanu oil led her to learn more about the benefits of this incredible natural oil and encouraged her to share it with the world.

Australian grown tamanu oil

Northern Tamanu Oil currently wild harvests tamanu seeds from the greater Darwin area. “The Council hates them” Alan explains, “as the seeds have a very tough exterior and wreck havoc with Council’s lawnmowers. They’re annoying for joggers too; people call them ankle-breakers!”

Tamanu seeds

Tracey and Alan are turning an ignored natural resource into a highly valuable product, carefully hand harvesting, drying and pressing tamanu oil to provide the only Australian-grown Tamanu oil available.

Tracey and Alan’s Northern Tamanu Oil brand has been growing steadily since the middle of 2018, as Australians are increasingly interested in natural and low-tox skin care and natural remedies. They are committed to improving the consistency of oil quality by developing a dedicated Tamanu oil orchard in the NT and using all parts of the Tamanu seed in a closed loop production process.

“Tamanu oil grown in Darwin is of especially high quality,” Alan explains. “Our distance from the equator means that trees flower twice a year, providing a more consistent and reliable supply. We’ve also had our Tamanu oil analysed by university researchers and has been shown to have the same high content of antioxidant fatty acids on par with premium Tamanu oil from the Pacific Islands.”

Nature’s swiss army knife

Tamanu oil has very high levels of antioxidants and omega fatty acids, and also promotes collagen and glycosaminoglycan (GAG) production – which is essential for bone and skin regeneration.

It is naturally anti-bacterial and anti-fungal (an excellent natural remedy for athlete’s foot) with anti-inflammatory properties, and has been clinically proven to support wound healing.

At Stylish Australiana we use it for instant relief from mosquito and midge / sand-fly bites and in home made skin serums.

“We have received some amazing stories of how it has helped people with all sorts of skin conditions and this inspires us to keep going. It’s a completely natural product that has helped so many people – so it’s a gift to be able to share it with others” Tracey says.

Alan notes that quality is especially important when caring for our largest organ – our skin. “As consumers, we’re learning a lot about the impacts of chemicals on our body systems, yet still, so many things that are marketed to us to care for our skin are actually full of parabens and other nasties. Tamanu oil is superbly moisturising and soothing and is an absolute gift from nature. We are passionate about keeping all of our products 100% natural.”

So many uses

Alan’s favourite use of Tamanu Oil is for midge and mosquito bites – having tested it in ‘midge hell’ – also know as Buffalo Creek. It’s also essential for the keen fisho to stop the painful sticking of Box Jellyfish – he never goes fishing without it.

Tracey’s favourite use of Tamanu Oil is for relieving pain from burns and cuts, and as an excellent flea and tick treatment for the beloved family dog. She also highly recommends applying tamanu oil to your feet at night, perhaps with another relaxing oil such as lavender – and ideally massaged in by your partner.

You can read more about Tamanu oil here.

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