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Bunya Proclamation
29 Aug 2013
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The Bunya Proclamation


Squatters and settlers began arriving, particularly after 1842, when the transport of convicts to the Moreton Bay district stopped and the area was opened up to free settlement. The abundance of quality timber and fertile land attracted farmers and timber getters into the area north of Moreton Bay, forcing the Aboriginal people off their traditional lands. Andrew Petrie, an early explorer and contributor to the region, suggested to the New South Wales Governor, Sir George Gipps, that he recognise the significance of the area to the native people by restricting the access of white settlers. The result was that Governor Gipps, on Petrie's advice, published an Order in the Government Gazette on 19th April 1842 to reserve the area for the Aborigines. This became known as the Bunya Proclamation, and stated:


"It having been represented to the Governor that a District exists to the northward of Moreton Bay, in which a fruit-bearing tree abounds, called Bunya or Banya Bunya, and that the Aborigines from considerable distances resort at certain times of the year to this District for the purpose of eating the fruit of the said Tree:- His Excellency is pleased to direct that no Licences be granted for the occupation of any Lands within the said District in which the Bunya or Banya Bunya Tree is found. And notice is hereby given, that the several Crown Commissioners in the New England and Moreton Bay Districts have been instructed to remove any person who may be in an unauthorised occupation of Land whereon the said Bunya or Banya Bunya Trees are to be found. His Excellency has also directed that no Licences to cut Timber be granted within the said Districts."


The effect of this Proclamation was to make most of what we now call the Sunshine Coast, especially the lands between the Mooloolah and Maroochy Rivers, into an aboriginal reserve.


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