Extract from the new website National Parks website – for mre information see – https://www.npsr.qld.gov.au/parks/bunya-mountains/

Bounty of the bunya nut

From December to March, bunya pines drop cones containing edible seeds known as bunya nuts. Heavy crops normally occur about every three years. For countless generations, large groups of Aboriginal people gathered at the Bunya Mountains to take part in what today are known as the bunya festivals, coinciding with this natural event.

Aboriginal people of the Bunya Mountains and Blackall Ranges (nearer the coast) invited people from as far south as the Clarence River in northern New South Wales, west to the Maranoa River, east to Wide Bay and north to the Rockhampton area to join the gatherings. For local and visiting groups, the bunya festivals were times for ceremonies, law-making and resolving disputes, renewing friendships, passing on lore, sharing ideas and revitalising spirituality.

The soft, juicy, young nuts were eaten raw while the mature nuts were roasted. After cracking the outer shells of mature nuts on an open fire, kernels were pounded into meal and roasted into a kind of cake that could be stored for several weeks. Rich nutty meals were the main food. Hunting of wildlife was strictly controlled during the gatherings, which could last for several months.

Expansion of European settlements, along with increased logging activity and clearing for grazing and farming, disrupted the large gatherings, making it difficult for visiting Aboriginal groups to travel along their traditional pathways. Despite Aboriginal people leaving or being removed from their country, and the last great festival being held in the late 1800s, connections still run deep. Aboriginal people (even those living far away) still have ties with the Bunyas through trading, family, songs and stories.

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