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Encounters with Trees: A Life with Leaves in the Brisbane Suburbs

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  12 December 2012

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Ten years ago, a colleague and I co-wrote an article about the Bunya pine tree in Queensland's literary history. In the course of our joint research, we made an interesting and surprising discovery: that there appeared to be two separate and distinct ways of seeing or imagining the Bunya in early Queensland literature – there were, in effect, two different Bunyas. One was the Romantic Bunya, a dark, gloomy, threatening tree, overwhelming in size, and sublime in its capacity to elicit awe and even terror from those nervous European explorers who found themselves surrounded by them. This is the Bunya described in Leichhardt's letters and in the novels of Rosa Praed, for whom it evoked anxieties about cannibalism among the Aboriginal tribes who gathered at the triennial feast.

Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2012

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1 Buckridge, Patrick and McKay, Belinda, ‘Literary imaginings of the Bunya’, Queensland Review 9.2 (2002), 6580Google Scholar.