Nyindup Boodja

Living history through bushfoods and kitchen gardens on Wadandi Country in the South West of WA.

Wadandi Bushfoods

This area of the southwest is Wadandi Boodja (Wadandi country).  Wadandi people have lived off and cared for this land for over 50,000 years.  Bushfoods are not only used for food but medicinal purposes.  The plain that Margaret River Independent School is on is called Nyindup Boodja by the Wadandi.

Traditionally the Wadandi moved around on a seasonal basis, depending on when food was available in different places and what needed looking after on country.  The landscape was carefully managed using resources like ‘fire-stick farming’ and ceremony to ensure the abundance of the many different types of foods.

A favourite was Koolah, or emu plums, collected in Djeran when people gathered on the coast for the salmon run.

Technology was very different to what European people used at the time of colonisation.  Wadandi tools needed to be kept very light so they could be carried around on seasonal journeys. Some food technology, like grindstones for turning seeds into flour, were left at particular campsites and people knew they would still be there next time they returned.

Knowledge is very important in Indigenous cultures and stories about different animals and food are often closely linked to particular places and people.  It’s very important to respect this and not share stories and knowledge about food plants without permission from Traditional Owners.

This trail starts at the front of the school.  Here the plants are indigenous flora and remind us of

  • the bush that surrounds us
  • the connection the Wadandi have to country
  • how the country can feed and support.

Consider/ask how the concept of place has links with food and how we eat.

  • What tools did the Wadandi use to gather plants for food?
  • Where did they find the materials to make tools?

Consider/ask how the ‘season’ links with what food the Wadandi had to eat before colonisation.

  • What are the Wadandi seasons?
  • Which seasons might have been easier to gather food?
  • What might the children’s tasks have been?

Consider/ask how health was maintained before colonisation.

  • How might gathering food make a difference to people’s lifestyles compared to gardening?

Consider/ask how this knowledge is still shared and maintained.

  • How did children learn about different food plants without the written word?
  • How might this have changed since colonisation?