Board Members

Dean Butler - Chairperson

Dean has worked throughout the wheatbelt as a physiotherapist over the last 21 years and has recently completed a post graduate certificate in occupational health and safety management and most recently completed two post graduate units of study in co-operative management.  Dean has worked in health management and occupational health and safety in the mining sector.

Dean has lived with his family in Toodyay for the past 16 years and has a small farm in the Koorda shire and has been growing sandalwood at both properties since 2009.  Dean has been a member of the Australian Sandalwood Network since 2008.

Dean was one of the founding members of the co-operative and was elected as the chair.  He aims to oversee the establishment of a strong co-operative structure that will establish a marketplace for plantation sandalwood and promote members produce locally and internationally.  The co-operative should create value for members by maximising their returns.  The co-operative should also provide end users with confidence in quality, continuity of supply, provenance, traceable and environmentally sustainable plantation sandalwood products.

Bruce Storer - Secretary

Born in Wyalkatchem before the turn of the century, I was educated at Bellevue Primary School and Wyalkatchem District High School until year 10. At the age of 15 I left school to pursue farming on our family property at North Gabbin and also learnt to shear. Over the next 10 years I spent seeding and harvest on the farm and the remainder of the year shearing. My shearing travels took me to Queensland, NSW, Tasmania, New Zealand, England, Wales and Scotland.

In 1989 we purchased a farming property in Cunderdin, where I continue to live with my wife and oldest son. It was here I had my first experience with sandalwood, after a fire on the property, during which neighbours pointed out several dead sandalwood trees. We promptly obtained a licence and salvaged the dead trees, thus discovering the lucrative sandalwood trade, then $7,000 a tonne.

In 1995 my wife and I purchased 387 Ha in Mt. Marshall.  After purchase we discovered a large amount of remnant sandalwood growing on the property and we have since harvested about $30,000 worth of sandalwood, both green and dead, over the last ten years.

As a result we have planted 70 Ha of sandalwood at our Mt. Marshall property over a period of ten years. I have learnt a great deal about cultivating sandalwood and we have no hesitation in continuing to plant more and more sandalwood.

I have been involved with the Australian Sandalwood Network since its inception in 2002, as Committee and Chairperson. I am a Board member of the Wheatbelt NRM and I served on the Forest Industry Working Group, a state government initiative, representing cultivated sandalwood. I am also a member of Avongro, a not for profit Agroforestry focused organisation.

I believe the future for cultivated sandalwood is extremely bright and I look forward to being part of a great and profitable industry in the years to come.

Geoff Woodall

Geoff is a sandalwood grower in the great southern region of WA. He has also been a researcher and has helped many people cultivate sandalwood species for over 20 years. He has pioneered many practical establishment techniques, including direct seeding methods, biodiverse cultivation systems and the orchard style of plantation where sandalwood are spatially offset from hosts for easy nut harvest. Geoff has a passion for our native sandalwood and other native plants with commercial potential.

Andrew Robinson

I have spent most of my working life engaged in the Information Technology/Information Management arena before a change in the early 2000s into Environmental Science, where I spent the last 10 years as an Environmental Officer in the mining industry working on site in the Kimberley for several years and later in regulatory roles in Perth.  I have very recently retired from professional life and now work a small farm, with my partner, growing Australian Sandalwood.

My interest in Australian Sandalwood sprang from a shared desire with my partner in planting trees in Western Australia.  The decision to pursue growing Australian Sandalwood was long considered and never regretted.  It ticks all the boxes for my partner and I from good soil management to sustainable farming, a match with the changing climate and finally being able to watch trees grow around us.

We have planted around 20-hectares of our 60-hectare property to Australian Sandalwood with a diverse range of associated host trees.  We have three separate plantations planted over the past 10 years.

I accepted a nomination to the Board of the Australian Sandalwood Co-operative because I wanted to see the enterprise of growing and selling Australian Sandalwood produce to succeed where so many other initiatives for Wheatbelt farmers have failed.  Think of oil mallees, brushwood, blue gums for wood chips and many others. All good farming opportunities, based on growing Australian native trees, but faltering because the market was not developed or the promised support was not delivered.

The Australian Sandalwood Co-op provides an opportunity for the current flock of Australian Sandalwood growers, believers in both the value of Australian Sandalwood for sustainable agriculture and in the products it provides, to band together and support new growers and promote plantation Australian Sandalwood.   

Rosamund MacFarlane (Huxley)

Most people know me as Ros Huxley due to being married to the late Bob Huxley. I am a mother of four grown up children. I like to be proactive and I like growing anything for good purposes and WA sandalwood got me hooked from the moment I got here.

Through Bob, the ASN, other mentors and through working in our business “Sandalwood Solutions” I have gained a wealth of experience in the establishment of biodiverse sandalwood systems on wodjil soils, a type of acidic sandplain prevalent in our Shire of Mt Marshall and throughout the NE Wheatbelt. The sand is relatively easy to work and if established correctly, the plants can grow quickly on minimal rainfall.

In recent years Bob’s passion had been to find viable markets for the bountiful supply of sandalwood nuts, so I have become intimately conversant with everything from harvesting, dehusking, sorting, bagging and supplying to various entities. The challenge has been to create efficiencies to achieve the best financial return, a difficult task given that the dollar value for dehusked nuts has been very low. Local growers have been very supportive of this initiative which has paved the way for the future.

I am passionate about working together with others to start a sustainable endeavour which will give the best deal to sandalwood growers, initially for the sandalwood nuts and then for other sandalwood products including timber. I believe we will be able to deliver a consistent, good standard of product, as well as have continuity of supply for buyers of large, annual orders. As a group of sandalwood growers, we can do a lot more with ease together, than singly, to maximise the value of our product

Bethan Lloyd

I have worked previously as a landcare coordinator in the Shire of Toodyay and as private consultant in environmental management since then. I have been involved with the Australian Sandalwood Network since 2004 since establishing a sandalwood plantation on my rural property.

I think Santalum spicatum is an amazing species and has great potential to help improve sustainability, biodiversity and the economy of traditional farms especially those in in lower rain fall areas.  My main hope for the co-operative is to provide economic returns for its members through quality and consistency of supply. 

Grant Pronk

Grant has been involved in the Australian and international sandalwood industry since the early 1990’s. He served seven years in the position as the manager of the Western Australian government sandalwood resource and research development sections. Since 2011 Grant has been the managing director of his forestry consultancy business specialising in sandalwood plantations and their management. Grant is a long-standing member of the Institute of Foresters Australia (IFA).

Grant maintains a strong interest in the development of the sandalwood industry in Australia. His consultancy has assisted many private businesses and government entities with their sandalwood endeavours. He looks forward to sharing his knowledge and skills through the Australian Sandalwood Co-operative.

In 2005 Grant’s business (GP Forestry) established its own Australian sandalwood plantation within the Shire of Wandering. Over the last 20 years Grant has travelled throughout Australia and internationally assisting growers and industry managers involved in Australian sandalwood (Santalum spicatum) and Indian sandalwood (Santalum album).

With having significant exposure to the broad range of components of the global sandalwood industry, Grant wishes to assist the Co-operative in providing advice on a range of strategies and commercial decision making. Grant also has a keen interest in evaluating and understanding the private sandalwood plantation resource in Western Australis and how to find the best utilisation and return outcomes for growers. Grant would like to see the Australian Sandalwood Co-operative established as a knowledgeable and experienced outfit that can provide considered, uncomplicated answers and valuable outcomes for its members.

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