Lavender is produced on perhaps the largest scale in the world on the Bridestowe Estate at Nabowla, north-eastern Tasmania. It was first planted at nearby Lilydale in 1921 by the Denny family, using imported true lavender (Lavandula augustifolia) seed. They recognised similar soil and climatic conditions to those of prime production areas of southern France. The absence of local lavenders minimised possible cross pollination and consequent corruption of the pure stock. Following a small trial distillation in 1924, which yielded oil judged to be at least equal in quality to good French oil, plant selection and increased acreages have led to increased production of high quality lavender oil. Today the estate's 48 hectares of rolling fields present a spectacular sight in December and January each year. Products for skin care, aromatherapy, culinary delights, household products and even herbal pillows are made. An important sideline is tourism, and extensive facilities have been provided for visitors.

Graham Clements