Tidbinbilla’s history of distilling Eucalyptus oil preserved

A replica of a eucalyptus oil distillery has today been unveiled at Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve after receiving funding from the ACT Government’s Heritage Grant program.

Minister for Heritage Rebecca Vassarotti said that the new replica preserves and celebrates the rich eucalyptus distilling history at Tidbinbilla and surrounding regions.

“We know that the hills that surround us have borne witness to tens of thousands of years of human habitation, but today’s installations give us a window into a more recent past,” Minister Vassarotti said.

“Starting in the 1940s, the Tidbinbilla Valley had a unique local bush industry in extracting eucalyptus oil using distilleries.

“Production of eucalyptus oil in Tidbinbilla was stopped in 1962, when the initial fauna reserve was set up. Since then, all we’ve had to get a glimpse of this iconic history is a few old photographs and relics, which don’t really paint the full picture of life back then.

“This piece of our shared past was almost lost, until Geoff Pulston and the Tidbinbilla Pioneers Association were awarded $7,000 through last year’s Heritage Grant program. Thanks to their drive and passion, the association and the ACT Parks and Conservation Service have now revived a piece of history that all Canberrans and visitors can enjoy.

“Today’s installations will help keep these early European stories of our region alive and will let visitors to the reserve learn about this little-known history.

“I invite all Canberrans to come take a step back in time and experience this unique history for themselves these summer holidays.”

To learn more about the history of Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve, visit www.tidbinbilla.act.gov.au.

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