To make it easier to find articles and photos of some of our favourite locations, we have created a new section of the site: Destinations. Under the tab, located on the main menu, you can find information grouped under the place-name.
We hope this new feature will be useful and help you navigate our site.
Shepparton lies in the flood plains country of northern Victoria and is nestled on the banks of the Goulburn River. The region is known as the Goulburn Valley, and it is famous for its many fruit farms. Sadly in recent years, the fruit canning industry in Australia has been in decline, having a big impact on Shep and surrounding communities.
The first thing that stuck me about Shepparton was the diversity of international cuisine, as there are many restaurants in town with all manner of foods – including Indian, Thai, Turkish, Chinese, and most interestingly Albanian. I was very surprised to learn that Albanian migrants have been in the region for several generations, mainly fruit farming (along with Italian migrants).
Lutfiyes Shish Kebabs is run by an Albanian family and has great food – great variety of salads, curried meats, kebabs and even lasagne. The people that run Lutfiyes are simply amazing. Over many years they have volunteered their time and energy to the Shepparton community, doing everything from preparing ANZAC Day brunch to feeding tired, hungry firefighters. You can see some of their great community support on their Facebook page.
One curious and interesting fact about Shepparton is that it has an abundance of tattooists.
Another place I love in Shep is SAM – Shepparton Art Museum – it has a wonderful collection of Australian art and is a beautiful space.
Although I missed my family a lot when I was working in Shepparton, I met some fabulous people who are now our friends and learnt a great deal about Yorta Yorta culture, the history of the region and even some things about myself.
It is almost a year since I headed to Shepparton on a Jawun secondment to work with the Yorta Yorta Nation Aboriginal Corporation (YYNAC). My role was to help them to develop their social media presence and internal communications tools. It was a big brief for six weeks, and it is great to see that they continue to be very active on Facebook, having over 700 followers liking their page at https://www.facebook.com/YYNAC. For me, it was a really enriching and challenging time and one of the highlights of my public service career to date.
When I heard that I would be working with YYNAC, I was thrilled – as I had read about the work that they had done with researchers into building bridges between cultural knowledge of land and scientific research. For example, their ongoing partnership with the Monash Sustainibility Institute has resulted in numerous research papers. I was very fortunate to be in the audience for the presentation of their paper Indigenous voices in climate change adaptation, at the National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility (NCCARF) conference in Sydney last year. Another researcher from the US, Caroline Addler has also worked with the Yorta Yorta people over the years – check out pp 36-37 of Mountain Meridian.
I have recently heard that they are developing an app for mobiles and handheld devices, using Bluetooth technology, with the working title Bluetooth Tourism Product: for a walking tour around Barmah National Park. This project sounds really exciting and I can’t wait to go down to visit and try out the app.
From the Facebook page:
Since the closure of the Dharnya Centre we continue to create opportunities through a range of different activities that can value add economically and educationally.
The particular product is a new app tool using bluetooth sensors and tablets. We are currently recording people from community talking about significant areas of country to create a walk from the Dharnya Centre taking in to area to the Barmah Lake, Broken Creek.
If you want some background into their work, the suite of digital stories on the YYNAC website is a great place to start understanding the research that has evolved over recent years. In particular, the video, Nhawul Bultjubul Ma (To See with Both Eyes) offers some brilliant insights:
To further highlight the Yorta Yorta peoples engagement with key agencies and researchers, in December 2013, a delegation from the World Bank met with the Yorta Yorta community. The delegation included representatives from Cambodia, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Laos, Samoa and Zambia.
The Yorta Yorta people stand out as a highly engaged group, willing to collaborate, share knowledge and learn from new technologies. I look forward to seeing more amazing work from this community. It was a real privilege to work with them and I hope our connection continues to strengthen over time.
If you are interested in reading more about my Jawun secondment, you can check out the blog posts I wrote while working with YYNAC on the geokult site.
It was during the video shoot for ‘Painting the Song’, a documentary on the Kaltjiti (Pitjantjatjara) Artists of the Sand Dune Country in 2008, at Fregon, APY (Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara) Lands in Central Australia, that I first tasted Kangaroo tails.
I’ve worked on the Ara Irititja database since 1989, but this shoot was different – a major exhibition of work of these artists was due to open in Adelaide and they needed a documentary and book. My work as cinematographer and photojournalist got me the gig – it helped that I have been initiated into some Watiku (men only) and Tjilpi (elders) Tjurkupa (dreamings).
You may have heard of kangaroo tail stew, but chances are you have never eaten it. It’s a shame, as it is the most delectable part of the animal.
The only places I have seen it sold have been in the Northern Territory and South Australia, in both cases near Aboriginal communities – where people have very well-informed preferences when it comes to kangaroo cuts (and buy tails with the skin on so that they can better cook them in the coals of a fire).
Rather than hunt for the kangaroos, the Anangu of Central Australia prefer frozen kangaroo tails, skin and all. These shots were taken during the video shoot for ‘Painting the Song’, a documentary on the Kaltjiti (Pitjantjatjara) Artists of the Sand Dune Country in 2008.
A kangaroo is in effect pentapedal (five-legged), using the tail like a limb while walking and a counterbalance while running – it is no meagre appendage. The alternative to buying a kangaroo tail is of course to go out and get one from a kangaroo yourself.
But you are not allowed. If you own land you can probably get a permit to shoot some as a culling exercise and ‘pest control’, but these cannot be eaten and must be tagged and left to rot in the field. If you accidentally hit one with your car (as I did recently), you are not allowed to later cut the tail off and be ‘in possession of it’ – something that applies to all native fauna.
And you cannot (except for some wallabies in Tasmania) hunt one.
Alongside the government supported shooting of some one and a half million kangaroos a year, the world’s largest terrestrial wildlife harvest, it is illegal to take one for your own pot.
But frozen kangaroo tails continue to be a major delicacy for the Anangu of the APY (Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara) Lands in Central Australia. I must admit I’d prefer a nice grass-fed Angus steak with all the trimmings – hard to find 500kms from *The Alice…
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We write articles and present photo essays on all sorts of topics related to travel, culture, food, adventure and sustainability.
Understanding what plants and animals were edible and how to prepare them was and is an integral part of Aboriginal cultures in Australia. Over the years, there have been a number of books published on this topic, providing rich insights into the oldest surviving cultures on earth. This recent release Bush Tukka Guide is a real gem, nice and compact in size with foods from a number of regions.
Samantha Martin, the “Bush Tukka Woman”, shares her knowledge and love of bush tucker in her text Bush Tukka Guide. This book provides detailed descriptions of how and where to source each plant or animal species. Samantha Martin is also a descendant of the Kija and Jaru peoples of the east Kimberly region in Western Australia. She was born into a long line of traditional hunters and gatherers and had the opportunity to learn from her family how to survive off the land and surrounding waters. In the book, she also shares her favourite bush tukka recipes, including lemon myrtle slow cooked kangaroo and caramel cluster figs with ice-cream. Sounds delicious!!
Today’s post is about a place where I spent some of my formative years, a suburb in Brisbane, Aspley.
When I was a child, Aspley was considered the ‘gateway’ to the north – as it is located on both sides of the Gympie Road which turns into the Bruce Highway – or Highway 1. This is the road that takes you from Brisbane all the way to the Cairns and beyond.
As a child much of the land around me was rural or bush, making it an ideal place to play and explore, despite the highway being close by. We spent many hours down at Cabbage Tree creek, looking for guppies and frogs. When I went back to Brisbane as an adult, I was shocked and surprised to see how much this suburb had changed. This realisation led to the development of a performance work, titled Scalpland, which I reflected upon when I participated in the SCANZ2013 residency. My blog post Contemplating SCANZ2013 Themes – Revisiting Scalpland explored my connection to this place and its history.
As a kid I loved escaping to the bushland close by, and I remember getting in trouble for making a gunyah (cubby house) down in the bush behind the school. The picture below is of the school in the 1890s and you can see the magnificent trees in the background.
One of the very interesting things I found out was that Gympie Road and Albany Creek Road were Aboriginal tracks. The creek where I played as a child was a meeting place and crossroad for potentially tens of thousands of years. Mr Wikipedia states:
Soon after Brisbane was declared a free settlement in 1842, people began exploring the lands north of Brisbane City. A northern route followed aboriginal tracks through what is now Kelvin Grove, Enoggera, Everton Hills, Albany Creek onto North Pine. This route is still known as “‘Old Northern Road’” and “‘Old North Road’” in places.
Another aboriginal track branching eastward from the Old Northern Road at the South Pine River crossed towards Little Cabbage Tree Creek and continued towards Downfall Creek. This track is now known as “Albany Creek Road” and “Gympie Road”. Albany Creek Road was known as “Chinaman Creek Road” before 1888.
Here is a map of where the tracks used to be, the line in the centre is Maundrell Tce (my street) with my house highlighted.
When I go back to Brisbane, invariably we still drive through Aspley and it is a place rich of memories and daydreams of the past.
A beautiful Whale mosaic in Victor Harbor, South Australia. The Ngarrindjeri and Pitjantjatjara Aboriginal people and the local community all contributed to the project as a part of the reconciliation process.
It tells the story of Kondoli (the Ngarrindjeri whale story) as well as the Pitjantjatjara story of the seven sisters. The seven sisters story is relevant to Aboriginal people throughout Australia, as it is a dreaming story universal to most tribal groups. Other artwork is depictions of animals and plants native to Ngarrindjeri and Pitjantjatjara homelands.