Muntries, middens & more: First ‘Up Close’ event a success

Muntries, middens & more: First ‘Up Close’ event a success

The 2013 Up Close events kicked off on Sunday with 18 participants joining renowned local naturalist Neville Bonney on a driving/walking tour of how local Aborigines lived before and after European settlement near Carpenters Rocks on the lower South East SA coast.

Neville talking to the group under some culturally significant Sheoaks

The event was booked out, with participants ranging from teenagers to those over 80 years young, traveling from Apsley in Victoria, Naracoorte and even a visitor from San Francisco, USA, having a great time with Neville in experiencing how the Boandiks and other aboriginal groups lived off what the land and sea provided.

We got up close to the plants, soil and rocks that were utilised for food, craft, ceremony, medicinal purposes and hunting, whilst learning about the significance of the  landscape.  Participants sampled some bush tucker (no crayfish though…); tried on some ‘paint’ used in ceremonies; saw the remnants of their coastal gatherings at a shell midden and also had a go (unsuccessfully) at starting a fire with some stringybark and a grass tree spike.

Various uses for various objects:
Flint: stone cutting tools
Cumbungi: eat tubers, fibre
Coast beard-heath: eat berries

After European settlement in 1839, the traditional way of life for Boandik people was irreversibly interrupted. However their legacy is enduring – with so much that us modern day Australians can learn from their way of life.  They had a true and deep connection to country; but as pointed out to me recently, we all have a connection to country. It may not necessarily be obvious, but ultimately we all rely on the land in some way for food, livelihoods, housing, clean water, our well being, etc. and we all have a part to play in keeping things healthy.  Technology is nice – but not edible!

A big thank you to the amazing regional treasure that is Neville Bonney for sharing his wisdom with us.

The next ‘Up Close’ event is tomorrow (Sat 23rd March): ‘ Butterflies of the South East SA ID workshop & introduction to the Silver Xenica Butterfly’. For more details on this and other upcoming events go to

Up Close Events – From the Ground Up – Autumn 2013

Muntries (Kunzea pomifera)- a delicious ground cover whose fruits taste like dried apples

No fire for us this time…..





Becky McCann