Sacred Dutjahn Tree

The Dutjahn Homelands – These are isolated desert parts of Western Australia and the pristine forest spreads over a massive geographical area. Santalum spicatum is endemic to these lands.

Dutjahn Homelands


The History of Sandalwood

Indigenous Link to Sandalwood

Australian sandalwood is mankind’s first recorded perfume

Indigenous traditional use of sandalwood in the central desert of Australia can be traced back to the dawn of humanities interaction with flora and fauna. Australian sandalwood was volatized through fire, heat releasing the active compounds – smoking the body in the pure fumes of this scared tree forms an integral part of the culture of the Dutjahn Homelands for over 30,000 years on a continuous basis.


Traditional Aromachology Applications

Traditional applications for warfare, nomadic adventures and love give this species a special and sacred status. While many specific aspects of the cultural applications of sandalwood are culturally sensitive, smoking of the body and inhalation of active components provides an alignment of mind, body and spirit prior to arduous, sensual or stressful activity.


Traditional Topical Applications

Known for it’s powerful anti-microbial activity, poultices of ground wood and herbs are applied to topical cuts and infections with the juice of the heartwood ingested for it’s healing qualities.

Contemporary History 

Global trade in sandalwood (timber and related products from the genus Santalum) has been well documented for over one thousand years with references to its spiritual and therapeutic use across Asia with 25 known species found across Australasia, Indomalaya and Oceania ecozones

For the last couple of hundred years, demand for sandalwood has focused in particular on West Australian sandalwood (Santalum spicatum). Australia became a major exporter of sandalwood to Asia in the 19th Century with early European settlers exporting up to 14,000 tonnes of West Australian sandalwood per year from Fremantle Port. 

More recently, global demand for sandalwood has grown rapidly driven by an increasing population and income, in particular in Asia. This demand has led to a significant depletion of all sources of naturally occurring wild sandalwood. This depletion has led to the protection of sandalwood in most countries where it naturally occurs. Regulations governing the harvest, trade and processing of sandalwood derived from wild stands have been broadly introduced. Despite this protection, the decline of remnant sandalwood has continued with an insufficient natural resource to satisfy global demand.

The evolution of a plantation industry offers the solution to provide an environmentally sustainable supply for the long term. 

Harvesting c. 1910 – Courtesy of The State Library of Western Australia.

Harvesting c. 1910 – Courtesy of The State Library of Western Australia.

Grading – Courtesy of The State Library of Western Australia.

Grading – Courtesy of The State Library of Western Australia.


Plantation History

During the 1990's the Australian government and private sector recognised the impact that the decline in Indigenous wild sandalwood would have and responded to this decline by stimulating the establishment of a plantation industry for Western Australian sandalwood (Santalum spicatum).

Australia is now home to an estimated resource of 20,000 hectares of Santalum spicatum plantations of which WA Sandalwood Plantations manages 13,000 hectares. 

Over many years WA Sandalwood Plantations have conducted extensive research and development in producing, harvesting and selecting the best oil bearing plantation wood to ensure a consistent product for our clients. The sandalwood oil from this plantation wood meets the ISO specification which is so important for major global users of Western Australian sandalwood.