19 August 2007

The Waratah - Gondwana plant and Wonga pigeon

The Proteaceae (images, DB) emerged 118 million years on Gondwanaland. The Australian variety developed 40 milion years ago when the continent separated from Africa. This is the time of the emergence of the Australian Waratah. The local Eora people gave the plant its name. The New South Wales Waratah (Telopea speciosissima) is the emblem of NSW today. It is extremely rare in gardens, but there are still pockets in National Parks, provided they do not get 'harvested' for their spectacular large and red flowers. Depicted in woodcuts of Margaret Preston, they finds their purpose today in the floral industry.

In The Stories of the Dreaming, Barry Moore shares the 'Red Waratah' (also as rich media). A central player in the story is the Wonga pigeon, now rare as they used to shoot this pigeon in the 40's and land clearing reduced its habitat drastically.
Both Waratah and Wonga might have co-existed in the Manly region once. Some of the Gondwana plants are still with us in the region (pdf).

Images: top, part of "Skygarden"
bottom, Strand Arcade window

No comments: