Even though the nuts were said to have been eaten by the Aborigines the nuts were not even discovered until after the second half of the 19th century. Dr's Hill and von Muller discovered and named the tree. The tree was named after one Dr John Macadam. The nuts were not grown commercially until the 1880's.
The nut was introduced to Hawaii in about 1882 and the industry grew like gang busters and today it is their third or fourth most important crop after GMO corn seed, pineapple, and sugarcane.