The magnificent Bunya Pine grows as a rainforest emergent in my local area. As a furniture maker it is too easy to become excited about the long lengths of easy working material they provide.

But these trees are of particular significance to the local indigenous people, and the Bunya’s story highlights many of the complexities of black white relationships in Australia. 

Reconciliation Week has just ended in Australia; its purpose is to celebrate and build relationship between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians so it seems appropriate to tell some of the story here.

Bunya’s produce enormous cones, about 300mm in diameter (12 inches), and they weigh anywhere from 3-10 kg (6.6lb - 22lb). The seeds - both raw and cooked - are edible and are produced yearly, with bumper crops every 3 or so years. 

The local indigenous people, the Gubbi Gubbi or Kabi Kabi, held large gatherings to feast on the seasonal plenty. Individual clans were responsible for trees or groups of trees, with custodianship passed from father to son. People from other tribal groups travelled from many hundreds of kilometers away to these important occasions, to share in celebrations and ceremonial business.

When Europeans first arrived in this area, the colonial authorities recognised the importance of the Bunyas to the Gubbi Gubbi. In 1842 a statute was proclaimed by the colonial authorities in far away Sydney to preserve the trees against occupation of the lands where they occurred and against the cutting of the timber. 

As more white settlers arrived in the region, pressure on the available resources increased, resulting in territorial disputes,  resistance, and massacres of aboriginal people. In 1859 the new state of Queensland was formed, and in 1860 one of the very first acts of the new parliament was to overturn the previous proclamation, freeing the way for the exploitation of the trees and the land, and directly challenging the Gubbi Gubbi’s custodianship and culture.

The Gubbi Gubbi who were not direct victims of frontier violence or disease were forcibly removed from this area in the period 1880 -1920, and placed in government reservations with many other tribal and language groups, resulting in large scale cultural disruption and loss.

In 2007 Beverley Hand, a local woman of Gubbi Gubbi descent, reinvigorated the Bunya festivals as the Bunya Dreaming - a deliberate attempt to rebuild local culture and to share and celebrate it with indigenous and non-indigenous inhabitants of the region. I am proud to be her friend, and my family and I join the gathering each year to celebrate and support the survival and growth of local Aboriginal culture.

I still lust after the Bunya tree for its fine timber! But by knowing its history and sacred value, I only use it sparingly with great care and respect and we have planted many new Bunyas on our land.

Tags: Annels, Ross, aboriginal, bunya, culture, furniture, timber

Views: 284

Replies to This Discussion

Amazing story. Thank you VERY much!

RSS

Tales From the Tool Box - A Crafthaus Online Exhibition

Diana Greenwood
‘There is always one moment in childhood…’

Mantel Box 230 x 330 x 45 mm

Mantel Box in Cherry wood with a hinged glass door, containing a silver vessel marked ‘drink me’, marbles, sweets and found objects

A piece about childhood, forgotten toys, favorite stories and the loss of innocence as the future beckons, inspired by ‘Garden of Love’ by William Blake.

Image Credit: Diana Greenwood

www.diana-greenwood.com

View the new CRAFTHAUS online exhibition (October 24-November 24, 2014)

Tales from the Tool Box - Chapter 1

Curated by Mark Fenn - Studiofenn, UK

Latest Activity

Heather Perry is now a member of crafthaus
21 hours ago
Brigitte Martin posted blog posts
21 hours ago
Brigitte Martin posted a video

Entfaltung collapsible fashion by Jule Waibel

See more architecture and design movies at http://www.dezeen.com/movies Royal College of Art graduate Jule Waibel has designed a series of folded paper clothes and accessories including a dress that adjusts and expands as you move and a…
23 hours ago
Lindsey Snell posted photos
yesterday
Stefanis Alexandres liked Vicky Saragouda's photo
yesterday
Stefanis Alexandres liked Vicky Saragouda's photo
yesterday
Brigitte Martin posted blog posts
Monday
Harriete Estel Berman posted a status
"The merchandising of making exploits new technologies & brings fresh blood, but comes at a cost as well.http://j.mp/1wBtHYH"
Monday
Harriete Estel Berman posted a status
"Craft World Sucks Like Vampires http://j.mp/1wBtHYH"
Monday
Rebecca Skeels commented on Rebecca Skeels's group The Association for Contemporary Jewellery
"The Goldsmiths' Centre in Clerkenwell is the leading charity for the professional training of goldsmiths. We run a dynamic programme of courses, workshops and events for those working or aspiring to work in the industry. SETTING OUT 2015Are you…"
Monday
The Justified Sinner commented on Brigitte Martin's blog post Ayasha Wood - Embroidery
"Impressive!  I love the embroidered tweed. "
Monday
Harriete Estel Berman commented on Mark Fenn - Studiofenn's group Tales From the Tool Box - Chapter One
"I just love the way Dauvit Alexander uses his materials. While the selection of a "corroded iron cap from an oil-tank" and a "polycarbonate reflector material from a crashed car" are unorthodox choice of materials, they are…"
Sunday

A modern metalsmith/metal artist can be found working in traditional metals as well as in nontraditional materials. The designs can range from the classic to the extravagant, and the techniques can either be centuries old or decidedly current.

The wide range of expression preferences, design options, materials, and processes has lead within our field to unfavorable misconceptions, misunderstandings and in some cases even outright disdain between artists. Can the metal and jewelry field overcome its division and send out a much-needed signal?

We appreciate and respect our historical past and acknowledge that current materials have a rightful place in jewelry/object making!

DETAILS on exhibition premise, call for artists, submission guidelines.....

Videos

  • Add Videos
  • View All

© 2014   Created by Brigitte Martin.

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service