Ancient Bunya Tree
Even though it is native to Queensland and the wet tropics this rare example of the Bunya Pine has grown to enormous size here in the south-west of WA.
The fruit cone, which contains edible kernels, is the size of a football and splits when boiled or put in a fire. The flavour of the kernel is similar to a chestnut. This fruit is considered extremely important to indigenous Aborigines.
Ceremonial meetings including dispute settlements and fights, marriage arrangements and the trading of goods were conducted to celebrate the fruiting of these trees.
These celebrations were most likely Australia’s largest indigenous event, diverse tribes – up to thousands of people – once travelled great distances to these gatherings. They stayed for months, to celebrate and feast on the bunya nut.
This ancient Bunya tree is located next to St Ernie’s Homestead, (see above) drive 6km north along Wheatley Coast Road out from Quinninup, turn left at Parsons Road. Follow this gravel track for approximately 2.2kms and you will arrive at the old mud brick cottage and Bunya tree.
Araucaria bidwillii, the bunya pine, is a large evergreen coniferous tree in the genus Araucaria, family Araucariaceae.
The Bunya Pine is the last surviving species of the Section Bunya of the genus Araucaria.
Return to Wheatley Coast Road via the same method along Parsons Road.
Take care on all roads in the area as they are regularly used by trucks and heavy machinery.