GYMPIE'S humble but valuable macadamia nut was shown off to Australia yesterday at the Sydney Opera House.
Bauple growers Cameron and Tracey Wallace made the trip south to celebrate 40 years of Australian macadamias.
Australia is the birthplace of macadamias and yesterday marked the 40th anniversary of the first commercial production of the nut in 1974.
The Wallaces were joined at the national media event by celebrity chefs including Adriano Zumbo, Kylie Kwong, MKR's Karen Martini and Giovanni Pilu.
Cameron, a science graduate and former park ranger, said the last 40 years had seen tremendous growth in the Gympie region which now accounts for around 12% of the domestic crop and is home to a large processing plant that employs hundreds of people.
"As growers, we're extremely proud of what we've achieved in such a short period.
"We've developed a strong reputation for producing the world's finest macadamias and our industry is one of the major horticultural economic contributors to Gympie."
Macadamias first evolved on the north-east coast of the country more than 60,000 years ago, growing naturally in the Australian rainforest.
They were regarded by the Aboriginal people as very special and were often traded between tribes and used as special ceremonial gifts at inter-tribal corroborees.
1. Macadamias first evolved 60,000 years ago.
2. Australia is the birthplace of macadamias.
3. Aboriginal names for macadamias included kindal kindal, boombera, jindilli, gyndl and baupal.
4. Macadamias' modern name is derived from prominent scientist Dr John Macadam.
5. The first Australian macadamia plantation was established in the 1880s near Lismore.
6. Macadamias were introduced to Hawaii as a windbreak for sugar cane in 1881.
7. The macadamia is the only native Australian food to be developed and successfully traded internationally as a commercial food product.
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