Besse the Bottle Tree | Queensland Theatre

The Story of Queensland Theatre’s Bottle Tree

When Besse Jackson of Quilpie heard that Queensland Theatre was building a new home she was keen that the Company mark the event with truly unique native flora.  Besse owns and works a farm outside of Quilpie, on which she has planted a wide array of native trees.  She has created a virtual forest on her land and has made great inroads to minimise soil erosion and land degradation.

Being a gentle activist by nature, Besse believes that city dwellers pay too little heed to the needs of our urban landscape and that concrete jungles must be softened by greenery.  She also believes in the healing nature of plants and what a vital part they can play in maintaining life balance and a healthy outlook on life.

Besse is a lifelong theatre goer, and has been a part of her local arts group for years.  She was therefore determined to play a part in the history of Queensland’s theatre company. 

In a far corner of her farm, towards the centre of her self-generated forest, Besse had a Queensland Bottle Tree that she thought would be ideal in Brisbane and a fitting adornment for the Company’s headquarters. The tree was twelve years old and quite mature.  She had planted it herself from a self sown sapling taken from a relative’s property further north.  The tree has become a focal point as Besse had then planted 8 box gums in a circle around it.  This created a circle of power and generated an energy that could be felt by even the most sceptical visitor. 

Besse would go there every other day and sit under the bottle tree and draw energy and positive thoughts from the surrounding eucalypts.  Each time she visited she would lay both her hands on the trunk of the bottle tree before she left and take its healing power with her back to her real life.  It was on one of these visits that she had her inspiration. What if there was a place for the bottle tree at Queensland Theatre.  She felt that this energy and spirit should be shared by others and she could think of no better way for that to happen.

Besse contacted the Company and was told that our Courtyard would be the perfect place.  She made arrangements with the builders and on Wednesday 8th May 2002 the bottle tree commenced its journey to Brisbane.  The tree was planted in its new home at 78 Montague Road, South Brisbane on Saturday 11th May 2002.  It sits well in our courtyard and is a beautiful feature, providing a central focus for the courtyard and a wonderful greeting point for the building.

So when you visit Queensland Theatre, take the time to stand in front of the bottle tree, lay both your hands on it and receives its amazing energy.  The company has named the tree after Besse, in honour of her love of not only trees but also of Queensland Theatre.

We welcome BESSE, the Queensland Bottle Tree and we welcome you to our new home.