Oil of Cloves ABC Radio Interview

Back in 2014, The Oil of Cloves Company was a guest on the ABC Radio Country Hour. Although it was some time ago the discussion about Oil of Cloves, the Darwin rainy season, Brisbane floods and clove oil production and supply are still relevant today.

Click here to listen to the interview and read along with the transcript below.  The first few minutes of the audio cover the rainy season at the time. To skip ahead to the Oil of Cloves interview scroll down to the heading 'The Country Hour'.

Audio transcript

Will this rain get an and initially it will be just the Berkeley and sorry, the northern Berkeley and the heavy falls would be over the northern Berkeley and Roper MacArthur District once the law becomes slow-moving. And then the low starts to move south west. So it is going to affect the entire territory eventually. Yeah. By the weekend. Because as the load does start to move, as the low starts to move into the Barkly and then later on into the victor of a district on Sunday or Monday, it's going to drag the monsoon trough a little bit further south as well.

So eventually it will affect the entire Northern Territory. Wow.

And there's already been some nice rain in Central Australia.

Oh, yes. Yes. I think the people are loving it. I think there have been some concerns about the Todd River is starting to flow again. Well, we've had some good downpours at through the catchment. Sort of between 20 to 30 millimeters yet this morning.

The rain, the rain band, it's a very small band that's been sitting over the Alice. Alice, the town of Alice Springs. It's starting to break up and move off to the west. So we're not expecting any much any more rainfall than maybe a few more sprinkles. Late this afternoon into the evening, it should start early in the evening, but maybe later in the week, get a bit more. Yes.

Starting from Saturday. So there will be a few sunny days ahead. Some dry air coming in from this ridge to the southeast. That's going to clear much of the Alice Springs district over the next few days. But starting from Saturday with the. But the tropical low north starting to move southwest, we're going to it's going to drag all this moisture back over the Alice Springs district. So there's definitely more rainfall in store for you on the weekend and into early next week.

Seen a few pictures from Mickey Murdoch there at Senat. Teresa. The roads web. It's just looking beautiful, I imagine. Good rain or a Nance. Thanks for that update.

Noise is going on and Brassard there. The weather bureau got another little tip here from a caller says The best thing to do to get rid of mold is to turn on your air conditioner. Thank you for that. Zero four eight seven double nine one oh five seven mold and what it's doing to the clove oil industry talking about that soon. We've been hearing about this today in ABC News. Rio Tinto has announced its rescue package to help businesses survive in Norlane.

Boy, when the alumina refinery closes later in the year, Rio will reduce power tariffs over three years, including a 50 percent reduction next year. It will also heavily subsidized rates, sewerage and rubbish charges for all commercial properties and also for homeowners who are experiencing financial hardship. The Chamber of Commerce and Industry in East Arnhem Land has welcomed this announcement. Chairman Dave Suder told Andrew Thompson from ABC News that he hopes Rio Tinto remains open to negotiations.

At least they're are thinking about businesses so that they put something in writing which people can now digest over the next few days. It would be interesting to know if it's a document that can be discussed. The fact is that they're there talking to us. And they've released this. This is going to be a plus take into account that there has not been much communication between Rio Tinto and the wider business community other than there will be things happening. And I'm assuming this is some of the things that are happening.

Has there been any consultation with Rio and the business community over this package?

Basically, it's been a one-way street, I would say. People have been feeding information into Rio and Rio has been gathering that information. Certainly, Rio has a financial advisor that's available to businesses in town. And that also dovetails into the anti government's business growth plan that is happening over here at the moment. So they are getting a lot of information and will receive a lot of information. They will have received a lot. So that's how they probably formulated this.

This document is coming out today.

How much do you think these assistance in terms of these subsidies and things like that will help the business community and I suppose residents there?

Well, it will help the business community because it is something like going from not having much knowledge, not knowing much until now. There's something actually in writing. I mean, I know that I had meetings. I've attended these percentage rates they got on here are probably half of what people wanted. I think people wanted, at least for the next two to three years, zero cost on business, direct business output expenses. Will that help businesses survive?

Look, it's fairly. Shit, we've probably got another couple of months before we all know for sure. I feel I feel it will. It will help businesses that some businesses may be over-geared and they won't be able to be helped from this offer anyway.

Dave Suder is from the Chamber of Commerce and Industry in East Arnhem Land, speaking there to Andrew Thompson from ABC News.

The Country Hour

Still to come on the Country Hour, we are going to find out who grows clove plants and if they are benefiting from a surge in sales of clove oil from people wanting to beat the mold.

Green limousine.

The bad loves green mold. We're getting a lot of calls from people who are having trouble with the mold. I mean, conditions have just been perfect, haven't they?

I mean, around the top end, there's barely been a sunny day. Darwin's had something like 700 millimeters since the start of the year, been cloudy. It's been a wet mold. Perfect for it. One of the weapons of choice for people fighting mold is clove oil. But if you look around the top, in the supply of the oil is pretty low. A lot of stores have just flat out sold out. So businesses selling clove oil are doing well. And so, too, are the farmers which grow clove plants.

To tell us more about clove oil production. Paul Shaw, who is from the company Oil of Cloves. Paul, just first off, tell us, how do you make clove oil?

Yeah, well, it's made from the clove plant and there are several different parts of the plant that can be used, either the leaves of the plant, the stem of the plant, or the clove buds on the plant. And the way it's made, it's made in an apparatus called a steel. And what happens is in this steel apparatuses, the plant material and water and then steam is pumped into the bottom of that. And what that does, it vaporizes the oil in the plant material.

And it's obviously mixed in with the water and it forms the steam. And then after that, the steam goes into a cooling tank. So cools right down. And then you've cooked. So you've got a mixture then of water mixed with the oil. And because oil floats on water, it will eventually separate out. So then you've got the water down below and you've got the oil at the top. 

So how much a closed plant is needed to create one those little bottles?

Well, uses that use a lot of plants because there isn't a lot of oil in each bud. So, yeah, you're talking about quite big quantities of plant, which makes oil of cloves and most essential oils. Actually, most, you know, for a small bottle, they tend to be relatively expensive, I guess, because you do use a lot of plant material goes into making each year each bottle of oil. So, yeah, quite a lot of plant material.

So, Paul, where are clove plants grown? Where's the production?

Well, it's mainly Indonesia, and that's because the clove tree is native to Indonesia. And to grow really well, it needs a very warm, humid, tropical kind of climate. So the plants themselves are grown there. And then the oil is typically produced quite close to those farms, Raha, obviously, to keep down on transport costs and that kind of thing, particularly because of the volume of leaves and plant material that you're needing just to make a bottle of oil.

So it's always produced quite close to the farms.

So is there any Australian production? No, there isn't, because it doesn't suit our climate. The essential oils that are grown in Australia, you've got, for example, eucalyptus oil and some lavender oils and things like that, because those plants grow really well in Australia. But the clove plant doesn't grow so well here. It doesn't have the humidity that Indonesia has and the level of rainfall. So, yeah, that's why it's not really growing here. 

You'd wonder if it could do well around Darwin. Darwin's rural area.

It's possible, I'm guessing, in time in, you know, going back in time. People have probably tried it. It's also an oil that isn't produced in massive volumes. There are around 50000 tonnes. Per annum. The oil, which I guess really worldwide, it's not that's not a massive amount.

So that's the global yearly production, is it? Yeah. About that. Yeah, that's right. Yeah. Yeah. But in terms of how much oil you need from the plant. Yeah. About that. Five percent of the plant is actually made up of the oil. So if you, if you work that out, you've got say 20 kilos of plants and you'll get about a kilo of oil out of that.

So what's supply like at the moment? Look, supply at the moment, I'd call it the moulds. Even at the moment, because of the weather, you've got humidity and lots of rainfall. So it's a lot of mould growth. So in Australia at the moment, this time of the year, supply supplies are okay, but demand is very strong. So, yeah. So there can be a bit of a shortage at this time of the year.

Well, that's why we've got you on. Darwin is struggling. Is it one of your biggest customers, this city.

Yeah. Yeah. Darwin, Queensland. Any anywhere. Yeah. Higher up around Australia. That's where the mould tends to grow the most devious. You still get a little bit down the bottom, but not so much here. So it's. Yeah, the more human climate you get a lot of mould growth typically. Yeah.

So there must be good news for the Indonesians growing the plant. Darwin's keeping them in business.

Yeah, that's right. That's right. Well, normally it's the demand tends to spike around that kind of round Christmas through to January and February tends to be the time when there's really a lot of that mould, a lot of mould growth here around the late summer kind of period.

And if there were any natural disasters like floods, origin, that's when you go completely out of stock.

Yeah, that's when things got really crazy, like the Brisbane floods a couple of years ago. If you get like a big built-up city and you have flooding, you know, it's just, you know, a major kind of mould, mould problems around that time. Also, there are a lot of rural areas and places that really prone to a lot of mould growth. So, yeah, a lot of the Queensland kind of rural areas, in particular, get to a lot of it, the oil itself.

You have to use it carefully. It's sort of a poison in a way. Is the plan itself poisonous yet?

It's a very strong oil that's poisonous. If you really had a lot of it in a big quantity, but it has been used for example, it's been used for in dentistry for a long time. So in small amounts, it's okay. Dentists used to David on teeth tend to num the tooth that was used a lot back about 15 years ago. So but if you have like a large amount and you ingested that, it's potentially dangerous.

So I would be very hard to do because it's you know, it's such a strong oil, even the smell of it, it's really, really very strong. Fanti are very concentrated. So, yeah, you have to be careful with it. And you have to when you're using it on for treating Mole, just be very careful. Yeah. I mean, it's a very, very small amount mixed with water to use it. It's only a quarter of a teaspoon of the oil mixed with a litre of water.

So that's a dilution ratio of about one to a thousand. So very, very concentrated. The oil is very, very effective, but only it's a tiny amount. We often tell people with oil of clothes that less tends to be more. You know, you're really no point using any more than what you need to make well up here.

Tis the season to be mouldy and really enjoy learning a bit more about the production with you today. 

Paul Ryan, I appreciate it. Great to be here. Yeah, that Paul Shaw, he's from the company, all of the clothes and to all the people who are sending in tips on how to keep mould off tiles, sinks agenda, how to keep mould off your art, cannot tell you might be to share their secrets and your program would say running time.

You will keep them old rolling. Well, great. Also, today why hermit crabs are getting high. Holy smokes. Keep it rural.



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