Bush Messengers & Fishing Made Easy

The environment gives us all sorts of signals and messages which help us to survive in the bush. This is the beautiful Bottlebrush flower which comes out in winter, telling us that the mussels are ready to eat. Once we see the flower we know that thuinga are out of the river banks, crawling around, eating food in the mud or the sand, and laying their eggs before the Big Wet comes. This is when thuinga are at their plumpest and easily collected. Once the rains start they're back in the river banks, anchored firmly to the rocks or in the root systems to stop themselves being washed away in the floods.

The red leaves of guraarr, the Cocky Apple, tell us that summer is on its way. We use this tree for fishing in freshwater ponds or billabongs, putting the whole tree in the water after scoring the bark with a rock to let the sap out. Once in the water we stir it around a bit, then wait for a while. The sap has a toxin which stops the fish breathing, so it doesn't take long for them to come to the surface to gulp for fresh air. Once on the surface we can spear them easily. If you try this you must remember to remove the tree afterwards so the water can purify itself again. 

The guraarr is found across northern Australia to SE Queensland, and in other areas is used for treating burns, wounds, stone fish stings and headaches. But in the Nugal lands there are other plants for these purposes and we just use the guraarr for fishing.

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Unknown said...

My boyfriend really wants to try the fishing tip in here haha. -Brooke

Magical, award-winning Aboriginal rock art tours with Nugal-warra Elder, Willie Gordon said...

Let us know how he gets on!