SCIENTIFIC NAME: Cocos nucifera
FAMILY: Arecaceae

Drawing of sprouting coconut. Sugar can be made from different sources like sugar cane, sugar beet, corn, areng palm and many more. Not so widely known however, is that sugar can be extracted from the flower of the coconut tree. The 'gula kelapa' or coconut sugar is still commonly used in Indonesia and South East Asian countries.

It would surprise you that the art of making sugar from the flower of the coconut tree still exist here on Australian territory.

On the Cocos Islands - where else would you find it - there are still a few persons who know that art of extracting this gula kelapa. The flowers are bound with a string and twice a day the end is trimmed with a knife. I imagine the man chooses only small trees. The juice then runs into a container. This juice is boiled and a dark liquid sugar or molasses is produced. Simple as that!

Map showing Christmas and Cocos Islands.

The Cocos (Keeling) Islands are an Australian Territory in the Indian Ocean, situated 2,752 kilometers north-west of Perth, Western Australia. The Territory consist of 27 small coral islands in two atolls. The main atoll is 24 kilometers south of North Keeling Island.

The Cocos Malay people are the descendants of the original settlers who came to this remote location in 1826. They speak a dialect of the Malay language and have evolved a unique island culture that reflects their diverse origin and Islamic traditions.

The Cocos Islands cannot sustain a large population. Small groups of islanders have moved away from their homeland, and there are now four thriving islander communities in mainland Australia; all are in Western Australia: Port Hedland, Geraldton, Katanning and Perth.

Cardwell/Johnstone Branch News. Oct. 1993

DATE: March 1994

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