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History of Bosisto's Eucalyptus Oil

1788 -  Surgeon-General John White arrives on the First Fleet; he notes in his diary the presence of ‘olfactory oil’ in the native eucalyptus, named by French botanist L’Heritier in the same year.

1789 – A quart of oil distilled from the so-called “Sydney Peppermint”, Eucalyptus piperita Sm., is sent back for testing in England.  It is, according to reports, “much more efficacious in removing all cholicky complaints than the English Peppermint…. less pungent and more aromatic.”  Despite this flurry of official interest nothing much is done with it for the next several decades.

1848 – Yorkshire pharmacist Joseph Bosisto arrives in Adelaide aged 21.  He moves to Victoria in search of gold but instead opens a pharmacy in Richmond, where he builds a lab specifically to investigate the medical and pharmaceutical properties of Australian plants.

1850 – Joseph strikes up a friendship with Government Botanist Baron Ferdiand von Meuller, a founder of the Royal Botanic Gardens in Victoria.  The Baron is an avid fan of the eucalypt and encourages Joseph to investigate its medicinal properties and exploit it commercially.

1852 – Bosisto opens Australia’s first commercial distillery, at Dandenong Creek in Victoria, followed by others at Emerald, Menzies Creek and Macclesfield.  He begins selling the oil locally.

1865 – Businessmen Alfred Felton and Frederick Grimwade see the possibilities of the trade and their firm, Felton Grimwade & Co. become the distributors of Bosisto’s “Oil of Eucalyptus”. They form a new firm, the Eucalyptus Mallee Company and purchase Antwerp Station near Dimboola, Victoria, full of low-growing Mallee eucalypts perfect for cropping.

1882 - By June 1882, 40 pounds of oil had been produced for export to England and Germany.

1885 - the Antwerp Company was merged with Bosisto’s original business and a firm called J. Bosisto and Co. was formed.

1891 - Bosisto’s Oil of Eucalyptus is the darling of the international exhibition circuit, awarded prizes in 17 international exhibitions. 

1892 – A elaborate new label was produced as well as a thousand circulars attesting to the powerful properties of oil of eucalyptus for “arts, manfactures, medicine and sanitary purposes”.  Popular Bosisto’s products of the time included asthma cigarettes (with or without tobacco) and Syrup of Red Gum for ‘bowel complaints’.

1900 – By the turn of the century Australia’s eucalyptus oil industry was well established and supplying the world market – including the UK, Germany, USA, Canada, South Africa, India, China, New Zealand and the Far East - with substantial quantities of various high grade oils.

1939 -  World War II arrives, and with it, a new work standard.  The ‘old breed’ of eucalyptus workers – old bushmen and victims of the gold mining bust - make way for a younger generation with designs on a different way of life.  They will no longer accept the prevailing low wages and poor living conditions and this greatly increases labour costs.

1950 – The cost of producing eucalyptus oil in Australia had spiked so much that the oil could no longer compete against Spanish and Portugese oils.  Advances in machinery and technology means wheat becomes more profitable as Australia’s eucalyptus industry, which dominated internationally for 80 years, regresses.

1974 – Current owners the Abbott family purchases the company Felton Grimwade & Bosisto and a new era for eucalyptus oil begins.

1982 – Bosisto’s Eucalyptus Rub was launched, a muscle rub for arthritis and sports.

1984 – The water-soluble Bosisto’s EucoSteam Inhalant was introduced, making eucalyptus oil more suitable (and safer) for use in the water chamber of vaporisers.

1987 – Bosisto’s Eucalyptus Spray is introduced; the ground breaking aerosol format is a first for essential oils.

2001 – Bosisto’s enters the laundry category.  Based on research by Sydney University professors Tovey & McDonald, Bosisto’s Dust Mite Wash is clinically proven to kill 99% of dust mites and remove their allergens in the laundry wash.  Bosisto’s EucoFresh Pre-wash follows shortly after.

2005 – Bosisto’s Tea Tree Oil is launched, soon to be followed by a 100% Spray format.

2006 – Bosisto’s Lavender Oil and Spray also join the Bosisto’s family.

2007 – Bosisto’s launches a natural, eucalyptus-based laundry powder (Bosisto’s EucoFresh) into the competitive laundry category.  It’s accompanied by a liquid detergent, Bosisto’s Allergen Wash, an everyday laundry liquid which also removes allergens from fabrics.

2008 – Full Bosisto’s range available in unbreakable PET bottles – world first.  Bosisto’s also launches its Bosisto’s Lavender Spray and Sugar-free Bosisto’s Lozenges.

2010 – Bosisto’s Antiseptic Spray is launched.   Bosisto’s Wool Wash also joins the laundry range, making a total family of five products in laundry, including the Dust Mite Wash.

2011 – Bosisto’s launches its new water-soluble “Solutions” in Eucalyptus and Tea Tree, to meet the increasing demand for cleaning uses and a budget-friendly alternative to 100% pure oils.

2012 – Bosisto’s celebrates its 160th birthday, as one of Australia’s oldest iconic brands.  It launches Bosisto’s Lavender Solution to complete the Bosisto’s Oil/Spray/ Solution trio in all ranges.

2013- Bosisto’s launches Bosisto’s Dust Mite Spray, to complete the Bosisto’s “Dust Mite Control Program” trio along with Dust Mite Wash and Allergen Wash.

2014 – Bosisto’s launches Bosisto’s Echinacea Throat Sprays, in three delicious flavours:  lemon, eucalyptus and peppermint.

2015 – Bosisto’s Echinacea Throat Gargle, a natural sore throat gargle alternative, joins the growing Cough & Cold range.