About BAMBOO AUSTRALIA
See below for How Bamboo Australia Began
Bamboo Austrlia's "Belli Bamboo Parkland" is situated west of the popular seaside resort town of Noosa Heads in Queensland.
If you are using a GPS navigator to get here, please
type the address as:
Travel up the Bruce Highway from Brisbane until you get to the Kenilworth turn-off at Eumundi. Approximately 12 kms west of the highway you will see a windmill and some bamboo growing in a paddock. Start slowing down. Our driveway is the next on the left. You will see a "Bamboo Australia" sign displayed at the entrance opposite the Belli Community Hall.
How Bamboo Australia Began
How did Bamboo Australia come about?
"My first recollection of Bamboo was walking through a magnificent archway of tall exotic greenery that whispered in the breeze enfolding me with tranquillity and coolness on a hot summers day. I was in the Melbourne Botanic Gardens during World War 2, my dad was away with the Navy ."
I remember that my Mother and I used to travel by tram from Moonee Ponds to the serenity of the gardens at regular intervals. I would like to think that she found peace and serenity in the garden environment during this terrible time of conflict and uncertainty. I guess I would have been between five or six years old and it is remarkable that I can still remember the pleasant journeys so vividly.
The second experience with the magical plant was on the farm my Dad bought at Palm Grove on the Central Coast of New South Wales following the war. There were small stands around the farm houses of the many orchardists and dairy farmers in the valley and being an avid kite maker and dedicated stream fisherman in my pre-teen years. I found these overgrown stands of running bamboo an invaluable resource for the kite frames and fishing rods I used to build.
Unfortunately the farm was never viable and we were forced to sell up, my parents moved back to the Latrobe Valley in Victoria, a place I disliked with its cold wet weather and the atmosphere polluted by the coal fired power stations and a paper mill.
It broke my heart to leave the farm and my pet animals. I vowed that one day I would return to the land that I loved so much but on condition that I would have an off farm income or a viable crop that would support a family. It took me 35 years to achieve my dream.
My third and most profound experience with bamboo was in Japan where I was collecting car parts for my Auto Parts Recycling business in Sydney. I travelled to Yawata ( between Osaka and Kyoto ) two or three times a year on business and stayed with my dear friends the Sakata family in their traditional Japanese house, a residence where if you forgot to duck going through a doorway you would finish up with a sore head. I remember one moist and humid day walking into a bamboo forest next to their car dismantling business. The feeling of peace and serenity was absolutely unbelievable. I sat there in the misty rain under the swaying fine leafed culms of the Moso with tears streaming down my face. Here I was in what I believed to be largest area of industrial destruction and pollution in Japan, sitting in this incredibly peaceful bamboo grove. The seed for growing bamboo at Belli had been sown.
The 100 acres at Belli Park was purchased in 1980. The property was my interpretation of paradise, a place where I intended to enjoy the peace and serenity of rural living in an enjoyable climate growing something that would be beneficial to mankind.
Returning from my bamboo experience in Japan, I began to research this amazing plant. At that time I thought bamboo was bamboo, full stop. I had no idea that there were two types ( runners and clumpers ) of around 1500 species. Boy oh boy did I ever have some learning to do!
So there I was, 1989, Sydney business finally sold and ready for the rural retreat on the old 100 acre dairy farm still coming to grips with unpronounceable names of bamboo plants that no one in Australia could advise me on. Initially I sought help from supposed bamboo "experts" only to find as time progressed that they were out there learning too and knew even less than I did (but could pronounce the names correctly). With the vision firmly in place I started on the steepest learning curve of my adult life (so much for retirement!) Books were devoured and the few local bamboo nurseries quizzed. Moso seed was purchased in 1989, propagated and planted out with other species collected from Mossman & all points South. Finally I attended my first bamboo workshop, the Fourth International Bamboo Workshop held at Chiangmai Thailand 1991.
I was on my way to realise the ambition of creating Australia's first large scale bamboo farm and botanic garden producing edible shoots for the Asian populations of our capital cities.
Bamboo Australia at Belli Park is a place where I can now walk down the avenues of this graceful plant with my own children, all my friends and visitors, still feeling the old sense of magic combined with a new feeling of peace and contentment.
The dream has reached reality for me and I hope this book will help others improve their lifestyles in meeting the financial, spiritual and aesthetic needs of their homes or properties.