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History of the Banana Report: Next time you grab a banana, consider the fact you’re about to devour the world’s very first seed bearing fruit #AceHistoryDesk report

Kindness & Love❤️ says ..The Banana Story that began with God providing all the seed bearing fruit for us to eat Amen

History: Originally from the region that includes the Malay Peninsula, Indonesia, the Philippines and New Guinea, traders took bananas with them as they travelled to India, Africa and Polynesia:

African Folklore History The Original Banana Tree

The original bananas from south-east Asia were small, about as long as an adult’s finger. This led to Arabian traders giving them their name, based on the Arabic word for finger, “banan”. True story!

These bananas, however, barely resembled the fruit we know today. They contained many large, hard seeds and minimal pulp and were considered to be a strange and exotic alien fruit. Cross-breeding of two varieties of wild bananas, the Musa Acuminata and the Musa Baalbisiana, in Africa in about 650 AD, resulted in bananas becoming seedless and more like the delicious fruit we enjoy today.

Traders from Arabia, Persia, India and Indonesia distributed banana suckers around coastal regions of the Indian Ocean (but not Australia) between the 5th and 15th centuries. In the 15th century, Portuguese sailors established plantations in the Canary lslands and between the 16th and 19th centuries, suckers were traded in the Americas and plantations were established in Latin America and the Caribbean. Banana plants first arrived in Australia in the 1800s.

We have the Chinese migrant communities to thank for introducing bananas to Australia way back in the mid 1800s. The lucky citizens of Carnarvon in Western Australia were first to taste bananas before the good folk of north Queensland were fortunate enough to experience its delights. It wasn’t until the 1880s, however, that Chinese workers from the goldfields established banana plantations in the Queensland tropics around Cooktown, Port Douglas, Cairns, Innisfail and Tully. In the 1890s, plantations were started in the Coffs Harbour area of New South Wales and around Mullumbimby.

The popular Cavendish variety was named after Englishman William Spencer Cavendish, the 6th Duke of Devonshire. The original Cavendish plants were brought to Mauritius from southern China in about 1826 before being taken to England where they were propagated by the good Duke’s gardener. In the 1840s, plants were taken to Samoa, Tonga and Fiji and eventually, in the 1850s, down under to Australia.

Our industry today

Today in Australia, bananas are grown in both tropical and subtropical regions. This ensures the industry is diverse in terms of the geographical location of banana farms, farming practices, the size and type of farms that grow bananas, the varieties of bananas grown and their flavour.

Growing regions

The tropical banana-growing regions of northern Queensland, mainly around Tully and Innisfail, produce more than 90% of Australia’s bananas. Other tropical production areas are in the Northern Territory and in northern Western Australia, at Kununurra. Subtropical bananas are grown from just south of Coffs Harbour in northern New South Wales and Bundaberg in southern Queensland, and in Carnarvon in Western Australia. All fresh bananas available in Australia are locally grown. There are no imports due to the threat pests and disease would pose to our local farms.

Indigenous Australians ‘farmed bananas 2,000 years ago’ ………Archaeologists say they have found ancient banana farms once managed by Australia’s Indigenous peoples.

BBC Asia News: 12 August 2020

ANUA: The banana cultivation sites were found on Mabuyag Island

The sites, which date back 2,145 years, were found on a tiny island north of the mainland in the Torres Strait.

Researchers found banana microfossils, stone tools, charcoal and a series of retaining walls at the site.

It further dispels the myth that Australia’s native peoples were solely “hunter-gatherers”, researchers said.

The findings from Mabuyag Island were released by a team from the Australian National University and the University of Sydney on Wednesday.

“Our research shows the ancestors of the Goegmulgal people of Mabuyag were engaged in complex and diverse cultivation and horticultural practices in the western Torres Strait at least 2,000 years ago,” lead researcher Robert Williams said. 

He said the Torres Strait had been historically viewed as a “separating line” between Indigenous groups in New Guinea – now part of Indonesia and Papua New Guinea – who practiced agriculture, and those in Australia who were labelled “hunter gatherers”.

But the findings show that the strait was “more of a bridge or a filter” for horticultural practices across both regions, said Mr Williams.

ANUThe archaeologists found gardening tools as well as retaining walls at the site

The agricultural system reflected the local regional diet at the time which included staples such as yams, taro and bananas.

“Food is an important part of Indigenous culture and identity and this research shows the age and time depth of these practices,” said Mr Williams.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are widely misconceived to have been nomadic hunter-gatherers in the time before British colonisation.

Historians have argued that the British denied evidence of Indigenous agriculture systems so they could claim the land was unsettled and unoccupied.

Ancient Indigenous land care practices are still not widely known in Australia.

But research in past decade has shed some light on pre-colonial agriculture, engineering and construction practices of the first Australians.

#AceHistoryDesk report …..Published: May.03: 2021:

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