Celebrate National Tree Day

Professional Writer Avatar Vector 25996481 Celebrate National Tree Day

By Gisela Horner, Volunteer Publicity Officer, Bella Vista Farm

Come and celebrate National Tree Day! Australia’s largest community tree-planting and nature care event, which started in 1996, is on Sunday 31st July. Venture outdoors, plant a tree and join the community. Schools Tree Day is Friday 29th July, treeday.planetark.org/

Forest Reg Gum Celebrate National Tree DayAt Bella Vista Farm, many of the trees have been standing for generations and provide a way to chart the history of the Farm. The majestic lines of Bunya Pines, (sometimes referred to as the false monkey puzzle tree – Araucauria Bidwillii), soar 40 metres into the air.

They originated in Southern Queensland and can live to 600 years old. The Bunyas at Bella Vista Farm date back to the 1890’s. Offering an iconic and protective backdrop to the farmhouse, they number around seventy which is unique on one site in the Sydney region.

The fruit, the Bunya pine nut inside the cone, is considered sacred by Aboriginal people; some consider it to be their ‘Mother Spirit’ or totem. The cones can weigh up to ten kilograms and are revered as an important food source. The timber has become prized for making musical instruments.

The trees were not discovered by non-Indigenous people until 1838, when the revered ‘bonye bonye’ tree was first officially recorded by a non-Indigenous Australian in the 1830’s, sighted and collected by Mr Andrew Petrie, the Moreton Bay convict settlement’s Superintendent of Works. The scientific name honours the botanist John Carne Bidwill, who came across it in 1842.

Orchard Trees Celebrate National Tree Day
Gnarled orchard trees

On the Cumberland Plain, which includes Bella Vista Farm; woodlands provided Aborigines with a rich and varied resource for food and occupation and today provide tangible evidence and an on-going link with the Darug language group, the first known people to have an association with this landscape.

Bunya Pine Cone Celebrate National Tree Day
Bunya pine cone

Native vegetation varies across the Farm Park, with the dominant species being the Narrow-Leafed Ironbark (Eucalyptus Crebra) and along the drive approaching the farmhouse is a magnificent Eucalyptus Tereticornis, a Forest Red Gum, which has been there throughout the Farm’s history.

Possibly the earliest trees are the two rows of Moreton Bay Figs (Ficus Macrophyll). The seven magnificent trees at Bella Vista were likely to have been planted around 1850.

Two Kurrajong trees (Brachychiton Populneus), the Farm’s records indicate, were also planted in the nineteenth century. They were a respected source of fodder for stock and popular as planted trees on rural properties at that time.

A Stone Pine (Pinus Pinea) grows at the southern end of the long Bunya avenue and pre-dates the Bunya trees. A Cook or Coral Reef Pine (Araucaria Columnaris) is planted on the western side of the formal garden near to some Cypress pines, typical of the fashion in the late nineteenth century landscape.

It is documented that Araucaria Columnaris have a dependency upon the hemisphere of their location, to lean north toward the Equator in the southern hemisphere (1). Numerous gnarled, remnant stone fruit, citrus trees and a macadamia nut tree complete the picture of what was once a highly productive property.

Flowers Of The Kurrajong Celebrate National Tree Day
Flowers – kurrajong tree

To increase the tree cover in the Park, Bella Vista volunteers continue to plant Eucalyptus seedlings celebrating our beautiful native trees and keeping the Bella Vista Farm and its surrounding land green and healthy, providing shelter, cleaner air and shade for all who enjoy the parkland. The Farm is open the first Sunday of every month for tours, Devonshire Teas, musical entertainment and a Trash and Treasure stall rich in an extensive range of goods. Open from 0900-1400. Photos courtesy of Friends of Bella Vista Farm.

References:
• Sharon Rawstron, Heritage Officer, Bella Vista Farm
• Bella Vista Farm Park Plan of Management, Spackman and Mossop for Baulkham Hills Shire Council (August 2008)
• Queensland Government Parks & Forests – parks.des.qld.gov.au/
• www.researchgate.net/publication/317275781_Worldwide_hemisphere-dependent_lean_in_
Cook_pines (1)
• ‘Shannon’ – Instagram @_eatwelltraveloften_

Moreton Bay Fig Celebrate National Tree Day
Moreton bay fig
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