The Range News is Maleny's premium Weekly Newspaper delivered each Friday
to the People of the Sunshine Coast Hinterland from Glasshouse to
Kenilworth and west to Peachester.

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Good Oil Developer
looks for backers

by Cameron Outridge

A Maleny man has developed a cultivar of rose geranium plant which produces an oil ranked second in the world.  Terry Morris said his sample was rated by ISO standards after tests done at the New South Wales Agriculture Institute.    It follows nearly five years work creating a cultivar suited to local conditions.

“It is highly regarded as one of the best onesgoing.   I’m stoked.   It’s been a long run,’’ said Terry.  It shows on the scale that it actually beat a lot of them by a long way in many categories. “These judgements are always debatable but the experts ranked it second.”   Mr Morris is now keen to take his operation to the next stage and begin production on a larger scale and eventually export.

He said rose geranium oil sold for $180 a litre wholesale and around $250 retail while 10ml bottles cost as much as $18 in a shop.    One hectare of rose geranium plants will produce 135 litres.    Australia imports 30,000 litres of rose geranium oil, mainly from China and Reunion Island and Morocco.   Worldwide 300,000 litres is used.

“Australia has 75 percent of the world’s essential oil bearing plants but yet we only have about four oils that we produce,’’ said Terry. “Tea tree oil is the obvious one. “We’re under-utilising our essential oils. There’s a big market for this. Especially with everyone turning to more natural remedies.

From fixatives to perfumes to fly sprays.” Mr Morris said rose geranium oil was used as a fragrance in perfume, and in aromatherapy.   It is an additive for confectionery for taste and is a reputed anti-aging agent and an organic cure for lice.   “I’d like to get about 10 hectares running as a pilot project, preferably in a high profile area,’’ Mr Morris said.

“You can get a crop up and running and producing in six months but your optimum period is in year two and the plant has a seven year cycle.   The optimum years are two to six and then you pull them out and re-propagate with cuttings from the same crop.   And hopefully you end up with an even better crop.

“Nothing eats it. Nothing kills it. It’s a very hardy plant. I’m looking for people to invest in the project but the priority is the house and land to get it up and running.   I need to lease a house and land package.”

Anyone interested in finding out more can phone Terry on 5494 4559.

Terry Morris and a bottle of his rose geranium oil which has been ranked second in the world for its properties ... “We’re under-utilising our essential oils. There’s a big market for this”.

Our thanks once again to Cameron & Tanya Outridge
of the Range News Newspaper for this story.