Bountiful Bruny: Wild Foods – Apples.

From scrumping apples (ie. sneaking in and stealing apples from orchards or gardens – an occupation that often brought down the wrath of irate parents and orchardists alike) as a kid in Somerset, England – to writing about how the apple industry was said to have started in Tasmania, Australia  is quite a leap of faith and  time.  However, the connection here is Captain William Bligh (born in the nearby English county of Cornwall) of the good ship Bounty and his botanist, David Nelson.  It was their need to replenish water and firewood that saw Bligh and his crew arrive on the shores of Bruny Island’s Adventure Bay in 1788, and it was here that they planted several fruit trees and a grove of apples.

Bligh returned to Adventure Bay in 1792, after his misadventures with the Bounty’s mutinous crew, only to find that his orchard had been burnt out, with only a single apple tree remaining. On the occasion of this landing, the ship’s artist, George Tobias, who accompanied Bligh, depicted the landing scene at what is currently known as Two Trees Point at Resolution Creek at Adventure Bay.Testimony to the unspoilt nature of Bruny Island, it is interesting to note that little is said to have changed from the scene Tobias depicted in 1792, to today – except that the trees he painted were once strapping young gums and if we are to believe that this is indeed the same landing point (sadly, there is no written evidence in Bligh’s log to verify this) then these same gums are supposedly over 250 years old.

Tasmania’s reputation as ‘The Apple Isle’ did not alas, start on Bruny Island after all, but in all probability started further south, on Tasmania’s mainland, at Geeveston.

Despite historical correctness, it’s a nice notion to believe that the foraged apples sourced in the wild on Bruny may have been some of Bligh’s own mutinous little survivors.

Back in Bligh’s neck of the woods, in the neighbouring county of Somerset in Great Britain (my parents home county) apples and their byproducts, particularly cider, have long been famous. Interestingly, the ancient name for Glastonbury – a small town in Somerset renown for its annual music festivals – was Avalon, which translates as ‘The Isle of Apples’ in the ancient British language.

The connections from Somerset to Bruny Island continued into the 20th century, as for many years, my mother Jill (a Somerset lass) and my step-dad Jim lived at Adventure Bay and ran the quaint Bligh museum……………..and where for so many Christmases we would amass with dogs, donkeys, kids and other clobber and spend time hanging out, eating and drinking. Jill and Jim became long term residents of the island, and it was thanks to them that our own passion for the place was kindled.

So in memory of Jill and in celebration of the apple (and other produce specific to Bruny), I recently rustled up a classic Somerset dish that combines pork and apples – good ole British ‘Bangers ‘n’ Mash’ – Bruny style.Bruny Island bangers ‘n’ mash with the tipple of choice – apple cider from the Huon.

Check out the next post for the ingredients…………..

2 Responses to “Bountiful Bruny: Wild Foods – Apples.”

  1. Looks great! I love the photos of the Bligh Museum. That was a seriously special place and time.

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