The burial tree at Tewantin is a white fig tree that stands near the council chambers building and opposite the Tewantin post office.

The tree is a ficus virens.

A story of the Tree is that it was used as a Burial Tree by the local indigenous community before Tewantin was created as a timber town by the european settlers. The bodies of those buried at the tree were consecrated in line with traditional practices and placed between the roots or branches of the tree.

Some literature cites the tree as being between 200 and 600 years old however in more recent times the older tree was degrading and a cement block was inserted to shore up the trunk. It seems that at this time a replacement fig may have been planted at the base of the original tree and it is this plant that now seems to stand as a mature tree. Although it has also been noted thatin December 1985 it would need to be heavily pruned to allow it to regenerate and it could be this pruning, possibly repeated again in 1992 that has latered the appearance of the tree from the earlier photos.

Some sources note that rot had set into the tree and that this may have been from lightning strike or from fire.

The Burial Tree can be seen in many photos of Tewantins past, however not much has been documented about the tree itself. Although the majestic fig is mentioned in archived newspaper articles relating to activities in the park or documenting the popular holiday features of the town in the early 1900's. At some time in the early 1900's it was recorded that the body (ies?) entombed within the tree were removed and sold to museums and/or private collectors. Some stories refer to the bones being found in the tree by a local child of the setttlers climbing in the tree.

This child has been recorded as being Clarence ( Clarrie ) Ross, one of Tewantins early residents. It has been noted that the incident was upsetting for Clarrie.

In the early 1980s the Tree was the site of a community arts project where a mural was painted upon the cement block embedded to hold up it's trunk.

A plaque was added at the base of the tree in 1988 to record it's significance to the area, as a bicentennial project.


Tom Petrie's account of Aboriginal burial practices can be read on the SEQ history website. Content warning. This link contains graphic content regarding cannibalism practices[[http://SEQ History - Tom Petrie|http://www.seqhistory.com/tom-petrie/100-part1chpt4?showall=1]]

There have been reports that the fruit and the sheaths they grew in were eaten by both the local indigenous community and the white settlers.