Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on LinkedIn Share on Google+ Share by Email

Skip to content

Key resources

  • Bibliography
  • Health promotion
    Health promotion
  • Health practice
    Health practice
  • Yarning places
    Yarning places
  • Programs
  • Organisations
  • Conferences
  • Courses
  • Funding
  • Glossary

Bush mechanic and low aromatic fuel champion

Date posted: 28 May 2015

Jonathan Hermawan works for the Red Dust role model organisation as an alcohol and men's health educator.
Born on the east coast of New South Wales, he has lived in most states of Australia and these days spends half his time in the Western Desert community of Kintore and the rest in Alice Springs, Northern Territory.

As well as being an educator, musician and advocate for Aboriginal leadership and young people empowerment, Jonathan is a self-taught mechanic who runs workshops for people interested in cars and the inner workings of engines.

As a mechanic with over 20 years' experience, Jonathan has seen many changes in the industry, but the most significant one he says was the introduction of Opal or low aromatic unleaded fuel in the mid 2000’s to help communities cope with the problem of petrol sniffing. At the time he was working in the remote community of Kintore, 530 kilometres west of Alice Springs.

'When it first came out the BP people came to Kintore to talk to us about Opal and I actually didn't believe it was fuel, it had very little aroma and it was a yellowy colour. I said 'this isn't fuel fella's', and they said 'yeah they had taken out a lot of the aromatic properties to lessen the intoxication factor' and I was blown away by that,' Jonathan said.

'Of course the most important thing about the fuel is that it's helping cut down petrol sniffing in our communities. I have seen the dramatic reduction in the lives lost to petrol sniffing in communities out our way'.

Jonathan says that we need to make people more aware of the benefits of using low aromatic unleaded fuel, something he does whenever he gets the chance.

Source: Australian Government (


Last updated: 25 May 2015
Return to top

Australia's National Research Centre on AOD Workforce Development National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre National Drug Research Institute