Australian Bananas are grown on commercial plantations in Queensland, New South Wales, Western Australia and the Northern Territory. A well planned plantation incorporates good soil types, safe all-weather access, row design to suit typographic conditions, irrigation design, plant spacings, and specialised erosion control and drainage structures.
From the time of planting it usually takes 12 months or so to produce the first bunch of bananas, with subsequent bunches every 8-10 months thereafter. A bunch averages 150 to 200 bananas and weighs approximately 35-50 kilograms. When the bunch is harvested, the parent or mother plants trunk is cut through at about head height. The section of trunk that's left standing nourishes the young 'sucker' plants that grow at its base. These plants go on to produce their own bunches. The top part of the mother plants trunk becomes organic plantation matter.
Fig: Where are our banana labels from?
Blue: Banana Farm
Over 100 hundred years ago Chinese immigrants, who originally came to work in the Australian gold fields, used wild bananas growing around Innisfail and Cardwell in north Queensland to commence the first commercial plantings around 1883. Cultivated varieties were then brought in from Fiji and by 1890 the Cairns district had produced some 15 million bunches which represented over half of Queensland’s production.
The plantations run by the Chinese had disappeared by the early 1900’s but by this time the industry had become firmly established in south east Queensland and northern New South Wales. These two areas dominated production until the late 1970’s. See Prime Growing Areas for where we’re grown today.