Friday, August 18, 2006

Whether It's Weather!

A few weeks ago I read a snippet in one of the papers that someone's mango tree in Morningside (a suburb of Brisbane, capital of Queensland) was already bearing fruit. Now, this is very strange, particularly as Brisbane is situated in south-east Queensland and mango trees bear much later there than they do in the tropical north. And it's even more strange as the northern trees really don't start bearing until around November/December.

The story in the paper reminded me of a tale told to me by a fine elderly Aboriginal gentleman when I arrived in North Queensland to manage the resort on Hinchinbrook Island at the beginning of 1986, immediately after 'Cyclone Winifred' had cut its destructive path through surrounding areas. Billy Page told me he knew well before the cyclone struck (months, actually) that a powerful cyclone would strike the area because the mango trees around Cardwell and Tully had begun bearing their fruit much earlier than normal. His father and his father before him had handed down the tale about early-bearing mango trees heralding a warning of cyclones to come.

If this turns out to be true for our coming summer, perhaps a cyclone is due further down the coast this 'cyclone season'...that being the case, though we don't want the destruction that comes with them, the rain cyclones bring with them will be more than welcomed to drought affected south-east Queensland, and finally, the dams will be full to over-flowing. One can hope!

I've placed the snippet of information on my fridge and will be keeping an eye on the weather! Nature has its own way!


  1. Hi Lee, yes it's quite scary living down here on the coast, we are withing 500m of the shore, a tsunami of any size would wash us out to sea. I grew up in Townsville, and I can remember nights spent 'under the house' waiting for the cyclones to hit.

    Interesting about the early-blooming mangoes, Noel comes from farmers to the west of Brisbane and he says the old farmers always watched the weather from 'signs'.

  2. There's a lot more to the "old wives' tales" than many people think.

    I think I'd take a few extra minutes checking my hurricane preparations this year, hearing this.

    We don't have mango trees, and our version of the aborigines were too busy counting coup to develop such verbal traditions. Well, there may have been some tribes that had such traditions, but the others would have already wiped them out.

  3. Then it's obvious you know little about Aboriginal traditions and culture in Australia. They survived by the land and nature...I reckon they might have known a little more about reading the signs than you or I. I don't discount "old wives' tales" freely, nor do I those of a people who wandered this country a long time before I or my forefathers did. The Native American are similar in their wisdoms and beliefs, I'm sure.