Araucaria bidwillii
Bunya-bunya or bunya pine

Dorothee Nijgh de Sampayo Garrido, 2012. © The Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust.

The summerhouse at Rouse Hill

At the heart of Rouse Hill House & Farm is one of Australia’s earliest surviving colonial gardens – an 1820s grid of gravel paths and garden beds, layered with additions such as the summerhouse, made by six generations of the Rouse and Terry families. Few gardens speak so eloquently of the passage of time as this tough, rough and ready survivor.

Photo © James Horan for Sydney Living Museums.

Rouse Hill House at dusk

Two bunya pines, with their distinctive umbrella-shaped canopies, dominate the skyline at Rouse Hill House & Farm. The Chilean monkey-puzzle, Araucaria araucana, was a rare and prized tree in Britain and Europe from the mid-19th century, and bunyas provided similar prestige to Australian colonial gardens.

Photo © James Horan for Sydney Living Museums.

Bunya pines on a misty morning at Rouse Hill

For a 19th-century traveller, a bunya pine was a sure sign that a house or homestead stood nearby. The distinctive forms and dark colouring of bunyas and other trees in the Araucaria genus made them prominent visual markers that stood out clearly from the surrounding eucalypt bushland.

Photo Scott Hill © Sydney Living Museums.

Bunya pine

Araucaria bidwillii