The first shipments of sandalwood, Santalum spicatum, left Shark Bay in the 1890s. Pastoralists commonly cut the aromatic timber to supplement their income. Sandalwood was harvested for more than 100 years, mainly for export to south-east Asia, before licences were phased out in 2000.
Loading the timber for export was hard work as the parasitic sandalwood’s favoured host, ‘dead finish’, has large thorns and harvesters had to cart the sandalwood through spiky thickets to the nearest beach. From the beach sandalwood was taken by small craft to a waiting ship.
A 16-ton cutter, Two Sons, sank with a cargo of sandalwood on its way from Flint Cliff to Denham in 1902.