40-06 Mature trees in Park 20

The BMX track is surrounded, on all sides, by a number of tall trees – some of them more than a century old.

They come from a wide variety of species, including the popular Moreton Bay figs, and Canary Island Pines, along with European Olives, Hoop Pines and Himalayan Cypress.

There are also two species that are relatively unusual in the Adelaide Park Lands and NOT native to the Adelaide plains.

Bunya Bunya (or Bunya pine) trees are easily recognisable because of their symmetrical dome shape. There is one of them on the southern edge of the BMX track that would have been planted around 1910. Bunya pines are ancient, delicious and deadly.

They're ancient because most similar type of trees are long extinct. Bunya trees are related to the Wollemi Pine which is 200 million years old.

They are deadly because of the size of their pine cones. A single cone can weigh up to 10kg, so you wouldn’t want to be standing underneath when it fell. Each tree can have up to 100 nuts.

Bunya pines are native to Queensland – in particular around the Bunya mountains.

Bunyas also produce highly valued timber, which is used for musical instruments. The seed in the Bunya pine cone is a delicious and nutritious food, a famous and celebrated example of Australian bush tucker.

Indigenous people used to travel for hundreds of kilometres to the Bunya forests in Queensland to feast on these cones when they were in season.

Alongside the Bunya pine is a carob tree, native of the eastern Mediterranean area. The pods of the carob tree can be crushed to powder to make a naturally sweet paste as a chocolate substitute.

Carob seeds were brought back to Australia by returned soldiers after World War One. Therefore, carob trees in the Park Lands may be regarded as informal war mementos. Carob seeds are also used in rosaries.

There are also olive trees in this vicinity. As long ago as 1882 an Italian olive expert brought to Adelaide recorded some 134 olive trees, in various locations along “both sides of Unley Road”.

Today the few remaining olive trees in Park 20 have been incorporated within the surroundings of the BMX bike tracks.

There are more substantial 19th century olive plantations in other parts of the Park Lands.

Now, walk along the dirt path next to the Bunya pine. Head towards the "Tree Climb" building, but turn left and cross over a wooden bridge. Then go to a brick shed next to a flat clear gravel area.

Images

Audio

Audio File 1
View File Record

Map