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Queensland’s Macadamia Nut

Is it the Queensland, Macadamia or Bauple nut?

WHEN I was a boy, we’d occasionally get a treat which we knew as a Queensland nut. I was amazed to learn a few years later they came from Hawaii.

That’s only part of the story though and, as with many stories, it involves bias and inaccuracies.

The nut was indeed a native product of Queensland but could also be found in parts of northern NSW.

I wonder if the “Queensland nut” label was just a case of state rivalry and one-upmanship.

Other names used for the nut include Macadamia, Maroochi and Gympie.

More recently, I learned the nut was known, perhaps, as the Bopple (or Baupal or Bauple) to the indigenous people of the Wide Bay hinterland where it was first recorded by Europeans; to wit, Allan Cunningham.

I say perhaps, because, as with any translation or appropriation from the native tongue to another language, there are many pitfalls.

Indeed, at the turn of the 20th Century, in the closest European settlement to the locale of Cunningham’s “discovery”, all three spellings were used in the town; the Post Office was called Baupal PO, the school and the mountain were Bopple and the sugar mill was Bauple.

This wasn’t settled until 1913, though the decision to go with Bauple, seems rather arbitrary.

There was, for a time, a coastal trading vessel, the SS Bopple, registered in Maryborough, that plied the waters between Wide Bay and Grafton in NSW.

Four native species of “our” nut

I have also discovered, latterly, that there are four native species of the nut.

Interestingly, one species, M. jansenii is quite poisonous, releasing a cyanide compound that can kill.

The Hawaiian connection arose from the fact that the trees were first imported to Hawaii to act as windbreaks for sugar cane and were later successfully commercially grown there.

Currently, South Africa holds the distinction for the largest commercial production of “our” nut.

The coastal trading vessel, the SS Bopple

Bopple Maryborough, from the State Library of Qld and John Oxley Library.

Whistle Stop at Gympie’s Phoenix Hotel

What do a gold mine, mythological bird and salmon have in common?

They all co-exist at 29 Red Hill Road in Gympie, Queensland, in the form a hotel where Saucy Pierre* and I ate out on Saturday after making a day visit to Brisbane.

Well, the bit about the bird is not quite true. The ancient bird doesn’t really exist there as a living being but instead the historic Phoenix Hotel bears its name.

In Ancient Greek folklore, a phoenix is a bird that dies and gains new life by rising from the ashes of its predecessor. Likewise, in 2014 the Phoenix Hotel was ‘reborn’ after extensive renovations.

The hotel wasn’t named after the mythological bird, however.

Built in 1887, it was named after the North Phoenix No. 2 Mine, near where gold was discovered 20 years earlier. Three tunnels are said to still exist under the hotel.

Popular Phoenix Hotel

Judging by the number of people packed onto the hotel deck when we arrived on Saturday, we could have been forgiven for thinking the chef was dishing up gold.  

We were pleased to have booked a table. The car park was full, as were the side streets, and people of all ages from young children to retirees were tucking into their meals with gusto.

Our dinner choices

Pierre ordered his favourite meal – Graziers Eye Fillet 200gr with pepper sauce, salad and chips – while I again took the fish option with Crispy Skin Salmon on garlic mash with char-grilled capsicum, broccolini and a balsamic glaze.

Both meals were served in good time and well presented. We chose to forego dessert this time but had we ordered, there were plenty of delicious options on offer.

To accompany our meals we chose Arrogant Frog Rosé from the South of France, a pleasantly dry wine with ripe cherry and strawberry flavours.

Back in the 1970s and 80s

Pierre and I were surprised to discover the Phoenix Hotel on our whistle stop visit to Gympie last weekend.

I lived in Gympie in the mid 1980s and Pierre in the late 1970s. Back then I didn’t know the Phoenix Hotel existed. Today, it’s hard to miss and is highly rated on Tripadvisor.  

We both recommend that if locals and visitors get the chance, they visit the Phoenix Hotel in Gympie, located 160 kilometres north of Brisbane with a population about 22,000 people.

 For Phoenix Hotel details and bookings visit phoenixhotelgympie.com.au

 

 

Graziers Eye Fillet

Graziers Eye Fillet, Phoenix Hotel, Gympie.

Crispy Skin Salmon

Crispy Skin Salmon, Phoenix Hotel, Gympie.

*Saucy Pierre is not his real name. He’s shy – really!

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