Plentiful Food and how it was collected in Deception Bay

Christopher Eipper’s writing in the 1840s described how collecting plentiful food was an important and central part of indigenous lives. Fishing parties would go out at night or daybreak,while time was also spent mending nets, sharpening spears and carving or making waddies (clubs). ollies (or bags) were made from long stringy grass and through twisting the fibers from the inner bark of trees over the knees, nets were then made from the twine.

 

“KING JOHNNY BOAT” ALIAS BILLY COOK plentiful food for aboriginals
“KING JOHNNY BOAT” ALIAS BILLY COOK

In 1891 Christopher Watson observed preparation of the Bungwal fern, an essential carbohydrate in their diet. The Bungwal root was dug up, washed and roasted. It was then cut up and pounded between two round stones. Watson reported the fern had a nutty flavour and a reputation  for being very  nutritious.

Preparing the Bungwall an era of plentiful food

Shell middens, like those along the Bay, have been found throughout Australia. A midden is an archaeological term describing a deposit of material representing occupational, debris. In coastal areas this is composed predominantly of shell with small amounts of bone, charcoal and stone artifacts. Midden shells are usually only a few selected, relatively available species and are mostly mature specimens. By comparison, naturally occurring beach shell deposits contain juvenile specimens, water worn shells and deep sea species which lie out of gathering range.

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