The Bunya Pine (Araucaria bidwillii) or Bonyi/bonye in Gubbi Gubbi/Kabi Kabi language is a tree that once only grew in the Bunya Mountains and Blackall Ranges. It is a native pine tree of Queensland that grows to heights of 50 metres and has genetic links to when dinosaurs roamed the earth. Thought to follow ancient song lines, the distribution of the Bunya Pine has grown as Indigenous people spread the seeds as they walked to and from Bunya ceremonies.
From December to March each year, the tree produces large pinecones that are the size of a football and can weigh up to 18 kg! These nuts contain rich oils and carbohydrates and can be eaten either raw or roasted.
Bunya harvest time would draw in First Nations people from all over Australia to gather here, in South East Queensland, to share and trade items of food and information. The Bunya gathering would also allow opportunities to resolve disputes, arrange any cultural or social kinship obligations, and swap stories, dances, and songs.
To this day, the Bunya nut continues to be celebrated and used throughout South East Queensland and can still be found on the country that surrounds Marrapatta.
Marrapatta staff have harvested some Bunya nuts this year and baked some Bunya biscuits for staff at Spring Hill. Bunya pesto is another delicious way to consume the nuts!
From the Marrapatta team