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Issue 17, Autumn 2001
The Bellingen Valley is unique in many ways. Whenever you mention 'Bellingen' to anyone, they always comment on its beauty. Well, there's nothing new about its beauty - Bellinger has always been beautiful - but, there is definitely something very old here.
There is an old growth forest in a valley that few human eyes have seen. Protected by its seclusion, this forest of Ringwood giants - some 40 metres tall with a 5 metre girth - is an ancient reminder of a former glory. These lush rainforest trees exist nowhere else in the world, and although there are several other remnant populations in the valley, there is none so grand, so awe-inspiring, as the Old Growth Forest, now under NPWS jurisdiction.
These "Ringwood Lords", once Kings of the Valley, Protectors of the Waterways, have a familiar but unusual quality.
Lucky enough to find yourself amongst a stand of these magnificent trees, you will sense the unmistakable scent of aniseed. Nature works in mysterious ways and I, for one, never cease to marvel at Her wizardry. How is it possible, for instance, that unrelated plants from different parts of the world can look so different yet possess the same aromatic qualities?
Common to all aniseed-scented plants, such as Fennel and Aniseed from Europe, and Star Anise from China, is the organic compound, anethole. Australia's very
own Ringwood (Backhousia anisata, commonly known as Aniseed Myrtle) is particularly high in this compound. Anethole has a sweet refreshing scent and is a stimulant with antiseptic, antiviral, and bactericidal properties.
Interestingly, a recent study cited in the September 2000 edition of the 'Natural Health Review' magazine, showed that Backhousia anisata essential oil inhibits the growth of several species of bacteria.
M. Blewitt and G. McIntyre
The aromatic potential of this
rare Australian native was first
investigated in the 1940s (by the
NSW Forestry). Sixty years later,
renewed interest is flourishing.
Bellinger Valley Bushfoods and Auntie Myrtle's Spice Factory have been growing Ringwood trees in hand-tended plantations for two to three years now.
This poem by S. Cadman is an ode to this magical place.
Forest of Aniseed
Canberra Organic Growers Society Inc.
COGS is a non-profit organisation providing a forum for organic growers in the Canberra region. COGS encourages the community to adopt organic growing methods. Members have access to community gardens, meetings; and receive the COGS Quarterly publication.
For further information, contact:
Canberra Organic Growers Society, PO Box
Planting Rainforest Fruits?
A professional nursery growing exclusively east coast bushfood plants
Larry Geno announces increasing availability of plantation tested, rainforest bushfood trees for commercial growers. The nursery is linked to a consulting service for farm design, planning, species selection, marketing surveys and planting assistance, based on plantation experience.
Please ask for our species list. No hype, promises or promotion, just sound trees and experienced advice at low cost.
We buy seed!
Ringwood Lords cont'd
These plantations are sustainably harvested and the leaf distilled to yield a high quality pure essential oil.
This oil is sold locally as" Silks" 100% Pure Aniseed Myrtle Essential Oil. "Silks" also have an Aniseed Myrtle Massage Oil and Bath Foam and are adding the food product, Aniseed Myrtle Syrup, to their range. It is hoped that initiatives like these will collectively and surely change the face of agriculture in Australia to the mutual benefit of man and environment alike.
For product enquiries contact: Auntie Myrtle's Spice Factory, PO Box 483, Bellingen,
Ph: 026655 2073 firstname.lastname@example.org Bellinger Valley Bushfoods, Ph 026655 9544 or
Full Moon Natural Health Products, PO Box 91, Bellingen, Ph/Fax 02665 52696,
Wattle Seed Foie Sale
Raw seed: $20 kg.
Prices negotiable on the roasted and ground seed
depending on quantity required.
08 8666 2013 or Caroline Dudley on 08 8643