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Aboriginal horticultural and farming practices

The myth is well and truely busted that Indigenous Australians were hunter-gather nomadic peoples, who despite using fire to help hunting practices, were simply surviving in a hostile land in temporary housing.

Bruce Pascoe’s compelling read Dark Emu shows just how much evidence there is that Aborigines have been farming, carefully managing livestock supplies and systematically managing landscape for eel and fish farming, abalone breeding, and sensitive sustainable kangaroo and other marsupial hunting. Evidence of stone pens, weirs, fire stick farming and clearing of land demonstrates the Aborigines were sustainable farmers; working together in a systematic way to share their abundant resources. They sowed, harvested, and ground grains in vast quantities, storing excess for use throughout the year and for big events like corroborees, and they distributed seed across the country to neighbouring tribes. These farmers planted and harvested large scale fields of tubers like yam daisy and Lillies, propagating vast quantities and dispersing the tubers across the country. 

Sow the seeds of reconciliation…

NurtureNature Education have pledged to support Gurandgi-Munjie group and their Pozible campaign to revive this ancient traditional grain farming practice and sow kangaroo grass in 2017! Consider supporting this great project, and help turn Australian farming practices into something more sustainable and suited to our shallow soils and harsh climate, and at the same time protect revive indigenous traditions in this country! For all we know, and the evidence is convincing, Aboriginal Australians may have in fact been the first humans to make bread!

https://pozible.com/project/grow-the-seeds-gurandgi-munjie

It is evident that Aborigines were savvy horticulturalists. John Pickrell’s article in Australian Geographic reveals how DNA comparisons of Cabbage Palms in Alice Spring’s Fink Gorge and related Mataranka Palms 1000kms North near the Gulf of Carpentaria show these trees were propagated 15,000 years ago between this vast distance! Aborigines changed the landscape immensely, sharing food sources, their farming methods and technology.

Now it’s bogong season…

Photo above is taken from the top of Mount Buffalo overlooking the Ovens valley in Victoria. As the first bogong moths are appearing in Melbourne, an insect harvested for thousands of years due to its nutrients, and which gave rise to some of the largest known gatherings of Aboriginal people in the Alpine region, I wonder at the Australia that was before White settlement. It was an Australia that we should be proud of and which we should all learn about in school. 

Summer holidays in the Aussie bush…

What other evidence is out there in our backyards, reverted bush scrub and national parks which we may yet discover to support the true Aboriginal history? Keep your eyes peeled in your camping trips and go ‘Gammaging’ (Mick Woiwoods term which I too have appropriated for studying tree habits and reconstructing how the land must have once been as per Bill Gammage).

2 thoughts on “Aboriginal horticultural and farming practices”

  1. Amazing!

    On Thu, Dec 15, 2016 at 6:43 PM, NurtureNature Education wrote:

    > NurtureNatureEd posted: “The myth is well and truely busted that > Indigenous Australians were hunter-gather nomadic peoples, who despite > using fire to help hunting practices, were simply surviving in a hostile > land in temporary housing. Bruce Pascoe’s compelling read Dark Emu sho” >

    Like

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