Bopple Maryborough. Picture: State Library of Qld and John Oxley Library.
Bopple Maryborough. Picture: State Library of Qld and John Oxley Library.

Bopple, Baupal, Bauple?

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.

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 wind breaks 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, SS Bopple, registered in Maryborough, plied the waters between Wide Bay and Grafton in NSW.
The coastal trading vessel, SS Bopple, registered in Maryborough, plied the waters between Wide Bay and Grafton in NSW.


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