As is so often the case, times of adversary become opportunities for the creation of the great and the extraordinary.
So, it was with the Herbal Lore and subsequently, Terra Australis Distillery.
After 30 years of producing premium ports (now known as tawny) and exquisite wines, Roger faced challenging circumstances surrounding his family and his health.
Choosing a pathway of natural healing methods was difficult and arduous, but it opened a world of opportunity embracing the many gifts of Nature. Self-discovery and self-mastery were key components as he progressed through his healing. Botanicals and herbs played a major role, and as Roger’s knowledge and experience with these gifts of Nature grew, so too did his passion for their elegance, magic, and power.
Herbal Lore was born from the creativity and genius which unfolded from these extenuating circumstances. Combining ancient wisdom, modern techniques and all he had learned and experienced, Roger created a pure expression of the magic, beauty, and flavour with each of Nature’s herbs.
Roger continues to develop his wisdom and understanding of botanicals and herbs. He draws from the ancient practices known throughout Europe and Asia, Native American culture and South American Shamanism. He has begun to embrace the ancient wisdom of the Australian Aboriginals, a natural extension of his study of herbal lore. Terra Australis Distillery fulfills the role, the desire, to produce the finest, the purest ethanol possible to blend, respectfully, with their medicinal herbs used for thousands of years within the Aboriginal culture.
It just so happens this beautifully smooth, fine alcohol makes fun things, too, like gin, vodka, whisky…
Meet the makers
Just like any fine blend, we come from eclectic left-field paths that somehow managed to find a rare harmony in our work and life.
Sue was born and raised in New Jersey (close to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA) – a city renowned for its street-smart attitude contrasted with kindness and acceptance. Also, a perfectly apt description for Sue – an honest, strong, direct and highly motivated woman… whilst simultaneously gentle, nurturing, supportive and deeply compassionate.
As a qualified Doctor of Chiropractic, Sue evolved her passion for healing and wellbeing into a thriving multi-discipline practice amalgamating leading chiropractors, complimentary health practitioners and several allied staff. She has since dedicated her life to researching, studying, practicing and mentoring all aspects of physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing.
Sue's curiosity for Australia was triggered by the fact that many of her fellow students happened to be Australian.
Sue immediately fell in love with our diversity of people, cultures and nature and in 1981 leaped across hemispheres to live here. When faced with some major life- changing events, she decided to remain in Australia, her spiritual home, with her son.
Call it serendipity, call it fate, call it whatever… it’s little surprise that Sue and Roger found each other. Kindred spirits, peas in a pod… together they found deep connection beyond words and ideas. Like opposing-complimenting hemispheres of mind and soul, they share a profoundly symbiotic bond, from which an ever-unfolding stream of ideas, passion and love seem to flow.
As Roger affirms: “Sue is the quintessential glue that hold us together – the north to my south. Together, we’re interconnected as a shared-singular spiritual expression. Without Sue, Herbal Lore simply wouldn’t exist in this form; nor would I.”
Owner & Master Blender
Roger’s journey is one of diverse paths – intellectual, entrepreneurial, spiritual, creative and practical.
As a gifted polymath, Roger’s natural curiosity has seen him cultivate an inspiring array of skills and expertise, including artisan baker, specialist winemaker, restaurateur, naturalist, scholar and internationally renowned author.
Soul-mate, life partner and business partner, Sue describes Roger as: “An old soul who travels with a profound meta-passion for life. It seems to radiate through everyone he meets”.
Man plans, God laughs.
With the onset of life-threatening illness and deeply-challenging family events, Roger (in typically stoic form), faced these circumstances through vigorous inner-enquiry and investigation of ancient and emerging health sciences and spiritual wisdom. Subsequently, he dissected and re-examined everything he knew – challenging the very nature of ‘self’, relevance and validity.
Through these experiences, a profound depth of insight and passion for healing, nature, herbs and spirituality emerged. Herbal Lore was born!
Call him what you will: The larrikin, the philosopher, the friend, the mentor, the child, the adult, the counsellor, the entrepreneur… all labels apply when describing Roger.
As Roger surmises “I aspire to travel with a 'Beginners Mind’ – perpetually open to embracing each day afresh and eager to learn, again and again… through every breath, every taste, every encounter”.
Sydney born, country boy at heart, Nathan was raised in Kempsey (between Port Macquarie and Coffs Harbour). He travels with a gentle yet firm spirit and an undeniably honest demeanour.
Nathan’s family heritage is deeply linked to distilling and wine making – spirits run though his veins. Couple this with his extensive engineering qualifications and a genuine passion for distilling and you start to see the making of a master craftsman.
In 2022 Nathan finally accepted Roger’s invitation to join Terra Australis as our resident Distiller. His greatest skill is evidenced in his ability to consistently create pure alcohol to exacting ‘world’s best’ standards – essential for everything we create. In fact, thanks to Nathan, we are one of a very very few distilleries who make their own alcohol.
Combined with Roger and Sue’s breadth of expertise and herbal knowledge, Nathan’s skills complete the perfect team – creativity, tradition, knowledge, craft.
According to Sue, “If this were Star Trek, Nathan would be our Scottie… he’s a treasure, he’s a gem”.
As Roger states, “I feel deeply privileged that Nathan accepted our invitation to create something so special. It’s particularly exciting to see the legacy of so many generations carried on through his work.”
Let the adventure begin!