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Issue Details: First known date: 2002... 2002 Against the Grain : Colonialism and the Demise of the Bunya Gatherings, 1839-1939
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'Idyllic accounts of South-East Queensland's triennial bunya festivals - invariably written by Europeans - seem to float like beckoning mirages above a relative historiographical desert. The story of the bunya gatherings in the coastal Blackall Ranges or in the Bunya Mountains, at the north-eastern periphery of the Darling Downs, is largely cut adrift from the intricate race relations history of these districts, its aura of ‘romantic reminiscence’ conveniently unsullied by surrounding patterns of colonialism, racism and violence which punctuate the extended process of European intrusion and displacement.'

Source: Abstract.


  • This essay includes a poem or lyrics from Songs of the Carobra (1855) which have not been recorded on AustLit but may have historical literary value. 

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

  • Appears in:
    y separately published work icon Queensland Review vol. 9 no. 2 November 2002 Z1008273 2002 periodical issue 'The bunya pine (Araucaria bidwillii) is an icon of the natural and cultural heritage of Queensland and one of an elite group of trees that is admired and studied around the world. Endemic to Queensland, the bunya's majestic height, unique silhouette and dark green foliage set it apart from other trees of the Australian bush. Revered as sacred by its Indigenous custodians, the bunya's prolific seasonal harvests of edible nuts provided the catalyst for ceremonial gatherings of thousands of people, many of them from hundreds of kilometres away. To this day the tree retains a significant place in the spiritual life of Queensland's Indigenous peoples. Early colonists were entranced, by these spiritual connections and they wove together tales of mystique and romance that still shape our imaginings and continue to inspire novelists, artists and historians. The bunya's ancient lineage, with links going back in time to the age of the dinosaurs, adds to its air of mystery. A host of treasured personal and community memories envelope the tree. The nuts have provided a novel seasonal treat for generations of Queenslanders and the heavy seed-bearing cones are the subject of countless yarns about narrowly missed injury to persons sheltering beneath its branches.' (Introduction)  2002 pg. 47-64
Last amended 9 Dec 2019 12:37:33
47-64 Against the Grain : Colonialism and the Demise of the Bunya Gatherings, 1839-1939small AustLit logo Queensland Review