Sandalwood was one of the early Swan River Colony’s major exports, and hundreds of cutters made a living bush felling the wood which was brought to this yard. It was stacked upright in the open to dry and then carted to Fremantle to be shipped overseas. This Wagon Yard and Horse Stalls, constructed by John Henry Monger Snr. is the only major site in Western Australia which can be clearly linked back to the early Sandalwood industry.
In 1845 an important trade in sandalwood was commenced with Singapore and Shanghai. The first consignment realised £40 for 4 tons. It became profitable for York farmers to fetch in sandalwood which could then be exchanged for farm articles and implements.
J.H. Monger became a leading merchant of Sandalwood in the York district and soon built a booming business. Sandalwood became an important revenue earning commodity for the Swan River Colony realising £4400 in 1847, and £13 353 in 1848, thus nearly equaling the £15 098 bought from wool.
As local resources were exhausted the felling moved eastwards and by 1896 the trade had moved to Kalgoorlie.
The yard was taken over by Millar’s Timber & Trading Company and used to store jarrah and other building materials. The Sandalwood Yards is now home to the York Society who purchased it in 1980 to prevent demolition.
The Sandalwood Yards building is used for the annual Photographic Awards, and is home to the York Society Photographic collection. The building is used for other social events and is available for hire. The Sandalwood Yards site also includes the York Society Archives & Research Centre and the rebuilt Tipperary School.