Aboriginal women’s retreat: Bush, yarns and tucker treats

Two car loads of women, bush tucker and endless information about Aboriginal traditional knowledge.

This was the scene on a recent “road trip” organised by NACC’s Aboriginal Program Coordinator, Bianca McNeair, as she led a women’s trip in search of traditional local Aboriginal bush medicines and foods.

“Spending time with each other on country is very important in keeping ourselves and our country strong, said Bianca. “It helps to remind us of our strength and beauty as Aboriginal women.”

Ms Gloria Fogarty and her daughter Penny, were the stars of the show as they shared their invaluable knowledge of native plants, bush medicines, and bush survival techniques. Gloria is a Badimaya woman who gained most of her ecological knowledge from her parents as a young girl growing-up in Perenjori.

Sarah Gilleland, NACC NRM Officer in Geraldton said, “The amount of knowledge that Gloria has retained and shared with her daughter is just incredible. What a precious resource. We are so lucky to have her share stories and Traditional Ecological Knowledge with us.”

Gloria and Penny helped the group to identify foods needed for survival out bush, including Bilja, a small reed type bush, Grass Tree (Xanthorrhoea) and Walgu/Quandong (Santalum acuminatum).

Other plants and herbs were also identified, including Desert Poplar, which can be ground into a paste and used as a face mask. “It stinks, but it’s beautiful for your skin,” said Gloria with a grin…

Lunch time was a real treat, as everybody shared a variety of snacks and treats, including kangaroo, and bush yam that was prepared in advance by participant, Donna Ronan. Yarns were spun, and laughs were had, as the ladies spoke of past times spent overnighting in the bush and stirring up visitors.

The whole day was a great success, and thoroughly enjoyed by all. It ended with the ladies discussing how soon they could all get together and head out bush again.

Many thanks to Penny and Gloria for sharing their knowledge with the group, to Bianca for organising the event, to Donna for her yummy lunch-time contributions, and to all other participants for their good humour and enthusiasm.

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