Early History of Christmas Bells

How popular were Christmas Bells in the 1920’s

This newspaper article in 1928 gives us some insight about this unique flower which grew on the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast Christmas Bells – Blandfordia grandiflora


Popular Christmas Bells

This photo is a lovely old photograph taken in Caloundra at Everton, the Green family in 1920 enjoying the beauty of Christmas Bells wildflowers during the Christmas Season. The length of the stems of these flowers is clearly visible being approximately 2ft / 60cm long.

Source Commons Wikipmedia  This photo from Wikipedia represents how popular these beautiful flowers were, it’s been coloured to emphasis the size and the magnificence of these blooms.

        News Article January 1928 Sunday Mail (Brisbane) source -trove.nla.gov.au



(By Phoebe Kirwan.)

Many Queenslanders know the handsome decorative flower, with its brilliant orange and scarlet bells, which blossoming during the month of December is familiarly called Christmas Bell. The swamp lands of Bribie and parts of the South and North Coasts are favourite growing places and many eager searchers gather armfuls of the brilliant bells.  

I had not had the pleasure of seeing the Christmas Bells growing until we travelled into New South Wales, on a   motor-tour of the Northern Rivers, during the recent holidays. On the route to Evans Head, a charming coastal resort, the road was bordered on each side by plains of glowing Christmas Bells, swinging gaily in the breeze.

As far as eye could discern the scarlet and orange bells swayed and nodded on tall, slender stems, forming a veritable sea of vivid colour. Joyously I ran to gather great armfuls of the flowers, heedless of the prickly roughness that laddered my best, silk stockings. At last I had seen Christmas Bells growing in profusion, and taken as

many as I desired! It was my intention upon reaching our destination to give them to my landlady for the decoration of her home on Christmas Day, knowing that the flower was a treasured one to Southerners. Judge then of my shock, when, having made my offering of loveli ness, she exclaimed: “Good heavens! I wouldn’t dare to take them!     ‘Why?’ I queried in astonishment.

Then she said: ”There’s a penalty of £5 a flower for picking them?   I gasped weakly, ‘Oh,’, and collapsed with the realisation, of the enormous sum my collection represented. ‘Hide them!’ she urged. And hastily we bundled the blooming beauties under the rugs in the car. The lady informed us of the recently enacted law which protects Christmas Bells, Christmas bush, and similar wild, flowers in New South Wales.    

We found that most of the hotels; had the bells and the rosy bush for table decorations during Christmas   week, but these had been grown on   private property and purchased. There were millions of Christmas Bells blossoming on the plains that we passed   through, but I only eyed them wistfully   shuddering with relief that I had not been penalised for my ignorance of the protective law.  

Other Queenslanders journeying that way are warned to admire, but not to   pluck, the wild flowers, for there is no notice to caution strangers regarding the protection afforded them, and it is unfair that ignorance should, lure them into the risk of a heavy penalty.

Every time I read this article and others about how prolific these flowers were along the South Coast Road between Miami and Burleigh Heads, (now the Gold Coast Hwy) and northern New South Wales it makes me feel sad. Sad that we have lost a piece of the original Gold Coast its wild flowers.

If you have any information about Christmas Bells, please leave a message and let me know….

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