Friday 20 June 2014

The day I thought I was going koo koo...

I meant to post this article on Monday, but time just got away from me.  Something a little bit different to our usual stuff, but unless you live here in the Ville you would know nothing about this, so I thought it was worth sharing...purely as a 'well I never' type piece.

Last Saturday as soon as I got up I could smell an odd odour in our house.  I said to Col, what is that smell?  To which he replied...what smell?  I asked the kids and Col's mum also, and although they thought they could smell something they weren't sure.  For me it was soooooo strong it was giving me a headache after an hour of being up.  I described it as a petrol-y/gassy smell.  But not like gas from a gas cooker and not like petrol from a petrol station...hmmm can you see why Col thought I was going bonkers?!  I moaned all morning about this smell...ALL MORNING!!  It wasn't something that you just got used to, it was so strong it was just horrible.  I checked our lawnmower in case it was leaking fuel...nope.  I wondered if it was the neighbours who have recently sanded their floors and maybe they were using a strange smelling chemical floor stainer...nope.  We left the house, as I couldn't stand it any longer and we went out to the Innovation House, (Mount Low, close to Bushland Beach).  I got out of the car and low and behold, I could STILL smell it, prompting Col to conclude that it must be me.  (How very dare he!)  But in all honesty I was beginning to think the same!  By mid afternoon, with rain still in the air but with the sun shining through occasionally (this is important) it had completely gone and we forgot all about it.

Fast forward to Monday morning, I get a text from Col saying "check out the Bully" (Townsville Bulletin newspaper)

Excerpts taken from Mondays Townsville Bulletin:

Bad whiff: foul smelling tree prompts fire crew call-out

Queensland Fire and Rescue Service crews responded to 10 calls in Cranbrook, Kelso, Kirwan, Bushland Beach, Ayr and Charters Towers.  Concerned residents also called police and Origin Energy to report the suspected gas leak between 3.55am and 10.30am on Saturday.  Firefighters responded to every call but declared the areas safe shortly after.

Botanist Betsy Jackes said the smell likely came from Indian almond trees, or other terminalia varieties. 
...“It’s not a pleasant smell and if it (terminalia) is the thing (causing this smell) it’s to help attract its pollinators …moths and bats at night, ones who rely on smell.  “The smell is very important. It’s guiding them at night when they can’t see well.”
...“Probably if we hadn’t had the current weather pattern people might not have been able to smell it,” Ms Jackes said.  “It’s probably been hanging down with the clouds, the moisture might have been making it worse."
 … "the smell would have dissipated as soon as the sun comes up and we haven’t had the sun."

The terminalia trees are native and are scattered across North Queensland, including at Pallarenda, Cardwell and The Strand.

You can read the whole article here

Unbelievable...!!  I was so relieved that I wasn't going la-la, but also so intrigued by the tricks nature plays on us unsuspecting humans.  Pallarenda has many of these trees dotted around, and I had never so much as taken a second glance at them.  But it has brought to my attention another wonderful part of our area that usually goes un-noticed and taken for granted.  I found out that the terminalia, more commonly known as Indian Almond Tree's grow big and deliver wonderful shade but also their leaves, fruit and bark have been used in traditional folk medicine for years.  To heal/aide numerous ailments from liver conditions to babies with colic.  Their almonds can be eaten raw, straight from the tree (unlike commercial almonds), and on further investigation I found out that the leaves feature on numerous eBay sites being sold as a water conditioner for aquariums, apparently making the fish live longer, healthier lives...who knew?!  I didn't, but I do now.  And it couldn't have come at a better time with Col and I only discussing last night our need/want for an aquarium of sorts in this house.

So there you have it!  Another life lesson that echoes that old clich√© line, sometimes it really does pay to stop and smell the roses, or in this case, the gassy/petrol-y/chemical-y type whiff of a local, flowering, native tree, you never know what you might find out.

K x


  1. Now thats a tree I wouldnt want in my backyard! How strange!! Bet youre relieved it wasnt something in your home though :)