Tom Petrie's account of the Bunya Festival can be found on the SEQ history website.


On the Bunya Trail www.toadshow.com.au/01_cms/details.asp?ID=164

19th century colonist John Matthew described the legend of the Bunya

The Rivals

On Fraser island there was once a great fight between the bunya pine (Bonyi) and the Cypress pine (Kuloloi). Bonyi speared Kuloloi low down.
These spears became the branches of the Cypress Pine. Kuloloi speared Bonyi high which explains why it is that bunya pines growing in the scrub only have branches at the top!


The Buna Pine (Araucaria bidwillii) is not a pine but is closely related to the Monkey Puzzle tree of central and southern Chile which is also of the Araucaria family. The Monkey puzzle tree like the Bunya holds great significance to the idigenous people of Chile the Araucana people. Trees are used in special rituals and and considered sacred to their culture.

The Monkey Puzzle tree

The Bunya Festival was an important event for the indigenous community of the Sunshine Coast for many years and bought together clans from all over South east qld and beyond. The festivals allowed disputes to be settled, marriages to take place and goods to be bartered. Huge numbers of Bunya nuts on a cycle approx every three years would produce enough food to cater for the needs of hundreds and perhaps thousands of Aboriginal people . Forest custodians would send out messengers to other areas and people would travel sometimes 100 kms to join in the festival, there was enough nuts to supply hundreds and some say thousands of people for months.