Uni studies magnificent Kiama Moreton Bay figs

Sonya Slyer fell in love with Moreton Bay figs on her Bush Bank property. Picture: GEORGIA MATTS

Sonya Slyer fell in love with Moreton Bay figs on her Bush Bank property. Picture: GEORGIA MATTS

WHEN Desi Quintans and Paul Rymer from the University of Western Suburbs knocked on Bush Bank owner Sonya Slyer’s door recently, it was a dream come true.

Mrs Slyer and her husband Terry bought the historic property 16-years-ago mainly because of two superb Moreton Bay Figs on the property.

The university’s Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment are currently undertaking research on the generic diversity of Australia’s Moreton Bay figs and are looking for landowners on the South Coast who have the trees on their properties. 

The tree is one in a series of discrete sites along the east coast from Brisbane to Gerringong and the researchers have been sampling sites like Bush Bank to help them work out the clustering of genes, the separateness of populations in different parts of the country, and the evolutionary potential in each of these populations.

“We came to Kiama for a funeral many years ago and while Terry had a game of golf afterwards I took the kids shopping, and when I came back I said “well I didn’t buy swimsuits but I did buy some trees,” Mrs Slyer said.

“I fell totally in love with these Moreton Bay figs and felt an immediate attachment.

“I have travelled and worked all over the world, but when I saw them I felt I was finally ‘home’.

“I really didn’t look at the house or its buildings – if I did we probably wouldn’t have bought it - but over the space of another six years we made it liveable and it is something we are both very proud of.

“We have had many people come here suffering stress, illness and grief and I just tell them to go down and sit under the trees because it is my personal belief that they have calming and healing powers,”

If anyone has Moreton Bay figs on their property and are willing to be part of the study, they can contact Desi Quintans on 0468 709 544.

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