Travelling northwest along the Palana Road, hidden from sight are many homes situated along the beachfront at what is known as Blue Rocks. One of these houses is home to Kath Dallas. Off the grid and self-sufficient Kath lives with her husband Robert and sons Sid and Joe – Joe is currently offshore studying for higher education in Launceston.
Warmly greeted by Maggie the Border collie cross and an amazing aromatic scent, Sammi, Ziggy and I were welcomed to Kath’s “slice of heaven”. Her home doubles as a workspace and trading as Blue Rocks Soaps, Kath produces beautiful creamy vegetable based soap using Australian ingredients (as much as possible) and Flinders Island sourced ingredients such as Manuka Honey, Ocean Omegas Mutton Bird Oil and Flinders Island Olive Oil to create a natural product.
It wasn’t just the offer of green ginger tea or warm apple cinnamon cake prepared on the wood stove that got us there. This occasion was a celebration! The 1000th batch of Blue Rocks Soaps was about to be crafted. Life tends to be happier when you’re busy and there’s something funny about milestones… they just seem to creep up! All of a sudden the 1000th batch was upon Kath and we were lucky enough to share this anniversary with her.
Kath made her first batch of Blue Rocks Soaps in February 2001, using lemon petals, jasmine petals and calendula petals – no essential oils were featured in her soaps until a few months later. The early recipes were much more experimental, now, they are more of a refined art … Kath describes it’s like “making Spaghetti Bolognese – you have a base recipe, but can easily make variations”.
For the milestone batch of Blue Rocks Soap, Kath measured out the basic recipe, melting all the fats together – the fresh & stimulating Flinders Island Sea Lettuce (with a subtle salty smell of the sea) was added. The Sea Lettuce (harvested from the beach just a short walk from her house) featured alongside highly active Flinders Island Bush Honey, Wheat Germ, Flinders Island Olive Oil and Organic Avocado Oil. When combined, these ingredients make a gentle, exfoliating blend of vitamins & minerals to nourish the skin with a creamy lather. Lemongrass was added for its strongly antiseptic, antibacterial & antifungal properties and voila! There in the pot was the 1000th batch of Lemongrass & Sea Lettuce soap.
We left the mix to settle in the mould (the batch will set for two days before being cut into bars and cured on racks over the next four weeks) and walked to the beach where we watched Sea Lettuce swaying in the current. What a perfect island day!
Kath has never tried to create a huge business empire – as there is something so nice about keeping an even keel on everyday life. The scale of the business suits Kath’s self sufficient way of living and to simply go to the beach to pick a handful (as opposed to harvesting a truckload) of Sea Lettuce is far more rewarding, not to mention sustainable for island life. Most of the ingredients such as Calendula Petals, Rose Petals & Aloe Vera often come from her own backyard or from someone else’s close by…
There are over ten varieties of lasting soaps made from quality grains, minerals, herbs and spices available to choose from. Kath educated herself by reading many books about using essentials oils to create the soaps we use today. Favourites in the Dallas household include the Orange or Tangerine Calendula Soap, the Peppermint, Spearmint and my favourite the Flinders Island Black Soap.
Soap lovers are bubbling up the delicious range in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania (check out The Mill Providore and Honey Tasmania in Launceston, Under the Oak – Ulverstone, Rose and Sons Antiques – New Norfolk ) yet it is the Islanders that are the mainstay for Blue Rocks Soaps with stockists including Walkers IGA Supermarket, Freckles Café, Furneaux Museum & Lady Barron Store – Why would you buy soap ‘off island’ with such a wonderful commodity at hand?
Loads more bubbles, yet to come…
X Sammi & Megan
visit kath at www.bluerockssoaps.com