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.

Views: 511

Replies to This Discussion

Amazing story. Thank you VERY much!

RSS

Latest Activity

2Roses commented on Olivia Shih's group Reconstructing Our Second Skin: Gender in Contemporary Jewelry
"Linda, my experience has been the same as your's, but from the other side of the gender bench. When Corliss and I are working the booth, customers who don't know us almost universally assume that she is the maker, and I am the sales help…"
1 hour ago
2Roses joined Olivia Shih's group
Thumbnail

Reconstructing Our Second Skin: Gender in Contemporary Jewelry

In this crafthaus blog, I explore the intersection between gender and jewelry with a three-prong approach: interviewing artists who do not shy away from words like “gender issues,” “feminism,” and “sex”; analyzing the work of said artists and the…See More
1 hour ago
Olivia Shih and Colleen Baran are now friends
9 hours ago
Colleen Baran liked Rachel Suzanne Smith's photo
11 hours ago
gene pijanowski posted photos
15 hours ago
Brigitte Martin posted a blog post

Altered Wooden Books WORKSHOP with Daniel Essig May 13-15, 2016

The Society for Contemporary Craft Pittsburgh, is happy to welcome visiting…See More
yesterday
Profile IconColleen Baran, Jessica Todd and 10 other members joined Olivia Shih's group
Thumbnail

Reconstructing Our Second Skin: Gender in Contemporary Jewelry

In this crafthaus blog, I explore the intersection between gender and jewelry with a three-prong approach: interviewing artists who do not shy away from words like “gender issues,” “feminism,” and “sex”; analyzing the work of said artists and the…See More
yesterday
gene pijanowski posted photos
yesterday
Andrew Kuebeck is now friends with Lyndsay Rice, Jacqueline Elisabeth Perry and Olivia Shih
yesterday
Brigitte Martin commented on Olivia Shih's group Reconstructing Our Second Skin: Gender in Contemporary Jewelry
"Now I want to see a picture of you with a feather duster in your hand, Linda. That would totally make my day. Just kidding :)"
Wednesday
Linda Kaye-Moses commented on Olivia Shih's group Reconstructing Our Second Skin: Gender in Contemporary Jewelry
"My work has not specifically, and really only once or twice been focused on gender issues. I have contemplated more specifically the empowerment I feel that comes from messing about with metals and the tools needed to mess about with metals. My…"
Wednesday
Jan Smith liked Brigitte Martin's discussion (9) Artist Selection, Jurying Process, Criticism
Wednesday

Masthead Credits

Rachel Suzanne Smith, Stow, OH

Primrose Ruff

Waterjet cut aluminum, powder coat.

© 2016   Created by Brigitte Martin.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service