Brisbane Local Food

Growing local

Many moons ago in my childhood, we grew a huge willow tree in our backyard.  Many good times were had in and under the willow tree.  My father built an oversized see-saw beside this tree, and with six siblings, we had fun.    It was the only tree near the house.  

Not many people would think to plant a willow tree (Salix babylonica), maybe it was our dutch heritage, but we chose a different type of willow from the dutch trees. 

After reading a little about the willow, I came across THIS SITE, which was quite interesting to read. 

My intrigue led me to another site, see LINK here.

Had we known, we could have woven the branches and maybe made some cricket bats, or used it as a pain-killer.       

Do you have a tree from your childhood, maybe a fruit tree like a big mango tree or climbing tree which is implanted in your memories?

Views: 449

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Willows are a contentious riparian tree in South Eastern Australia as they were planted extensively to 'hold the backs' along water courses. Their removal or not is a major debate. They are a declared weed in several states.

But in my growing up in Melbourne burbs we had a bank of Basket Willows along the back fence. They weren't exciting trees...But my best mate had three huge WEEPING WILLOWS -- the only thing growing above ground in  his family's backyard.

We spent our childhood in those trees: climbing them, swinging down them like Tarzan, building tree houses in them ... like the Cottonwood hibiscus and the Moreton Bay Fig they were great climbing trees.

There were favorite posies in each tree were you could hide from view or look out over the neighborhood. After all, like monkeys you knew how to navigate the various pathways through the branches.

And they sprung. You could make bows from the stems and swing down branches to have them spring back aloft  once you let go and  landed.

'Tis  a pity that the sap irritating Mango was the Brisbane backyard standard.

My childhood tree is equally loved and contentious in Queensland - we had a large Jacaranda out front of our house that I spent many hours climbing and sitting in, marveling at the beautiful foliage and flowers. So much so that when I got married we timed it to match the Jacaranda flowering. But imagine my dismay when I found out that Jacarandas are actually something of a pest in Queensland, and poison the ground beneath them as a competitive measure (required where they are from, clearly, but unfortunate). So I've given up my long held dream of a Jacaranda of my own, unless I can trick one into tolerating bonsai!

And a Camphor Laurel loomed large in my childhood alongside the Casuarina I used to climb and the Eucalypts on the vacant block next door. Camphor Laurels - despite Laurel Avenue in Corinda - are considered green cane toads since they self-sow with alacrity.

I sincerely hope we are not a dying breed, where a tree holds reminders of our past.  We sat under the big mango trees at school to drink our bottle of milk.  We robbed every piece of fruit that hung over the front fence on the way to school e.g. loquats, guavas, mango and if we were lucky -grapes. Hide and seek was often in a tree.  Many a big gum tree near our place had headquarters engraved into the bark.  

Elaine, the camphor laurels made me itchy.   We did not have many Jacaranda trees where we lived, but they are very beautiful with their flower carpets.

I still love Jacarandas despite everything, Poincianas too, There was a *huge* Poinciana at the house I first lived in here in Brisbane in 1963. Planted in the 1930s it screened our house, sitting on the front verandah overlooking the city. Since then many tall buildings have obscured that view.

Mine was a bent over eucalyptus that had two main stems in our neighbours yard. The girls had 1/2 this tree and th boys had the other half that leant against a perfectly straight and smooth eucalyptus that they used to use as a fireman’s pole and slide down to the bottom quick.  We made paths lined with rocks, swept with palm fronds, made each other snacks of lantana flowers and green ant bums and painted our faces with different coloured paints we made from smooshing rocks into powders.   It was the best. 

When I was a kid growing up on Bribie there was a large Cottonwood growing across the road from our house, between us and the beach. My sisters, friends and I would sit in the tree branches (lord knows what we did or talked about, I can't remember) during the school holidays. No doubt in between bouts of jumping in the water to cool off. We had friends who would come back yearly to stay in the same accommodation along our street and I can remember sitting in the branches talking to John who was diabetic and his Mum did fostering.

The Cottonwood is still there....sort of. The original large tree seems to be gone but the side shoots are now big on their own. Not quite the same but good enough.

I've never fallen out of a tree. Playground equipment has pitched me a few times, but trees seemed more predictable in the gripping.

Nonetheless, as an adult, when I first saw the  Moreton Bay Fig trees in Newfarm Park I thought I'd been short changed by arboretums I had  explored.

Of course you'd need a very big back yard to house one of those!

But let's not be sad: BrisbaneKids offers a guide to some of the best trees to climb in and about Brisbane: LINK-- so  go on, start clambering up those trunks! School hols are on so you won't be alone in the branches.

My tree was a mango.  I used to climb it when my dad was going to belt me.  He came close to putting the axe on it once, but mum reminded him how much he loved those mangoes.  I remember throwing a dart up into it which got stuck in the bottom of a branch.  On closer examination, it finally fell out and land point down in the center corner of my left eye.  Luckily, no permanent damage was done.  I won't say it didn't hurt or that I didn't squeal.   

Yikes, Andy! Lucky indeed! One of the most memorable trees in my life was a sturdy mandarin tree that three 8-10 olds could sit in comfortably. This tree had the most delicious and abundant crops of mandarins you can imagine and we would sit in the tree peeling and eating for hours. It's location was special too - it was situated just outside the milking shed where the manure was shovelled out! No surprises where it was getting its nutrition. I do have fond memories of a lovely mulberry tree too and purple faces and fingers! Ah, the joys of childhood...

I didn't see the photo the first time around reading Christa. Who is that in the pic?

T'is me with my youngest brother, taken about 1961 beside the willow I was talking about. We lived next to Archerfield aerodrome and my brother was pointing to a plane. 

It's great to see our members reply with a tree memory from the past. I did not know you lived on Bribie when you were young.


Important note about adding photos:

Always add photos using the "From my computer" option, even if you are on a mobile phone or other device.


  • Add Photos
  • View All


  • Add Videos
  • View All


Vetiver grass helps to stabilise soil and protects it against erosion.  It can protect against pests and weeds. Vetiver is also used as animal feed. (Wiki.)

GrowVetiver is a plant nursery run by Dave & Keir Riley that harvests and grows Vetiver grass for local community applications and use. It is based in Beachmere, just north of Brisbane, Australia.

Place your business add here! ($5 per month or $25 for 9 months)

Talk to Andy on 0422 022 961.  You can  Pay on this link

© 2021   Created by Andrew Cumberland.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service