Kombumerri Traditional Custodian Contributor: Uncle Graham Dillon OAM

This resource is related to the following Learning Areas –

And responds to the following Enquiry Questions –

Q11.How did Kombumerri people know which foods were in season?
Q34.Did Indigenous people predict the weather and organise their lives according to the conditions? E.g. Wet season, food availability.
Q65.Which plant materials or animal products were available to the Kombumerri people that assisted them in the creation of clothing, tools and other items? (types of trees used in this area).
Q69.What emphasis was placed on health and wellbeing in terms of mental, physical and spiritual wellbeing?
Q70.Traditional foods – meals, rituals, eating times?

Resource transcript –

These days, you can go into a fruit shop and everything looks beautiful. But when you taste the food, the apples or the oranges… Hello! They’ve got no flavour. They’ve been early– forced ripened, right? So, that’s an artificial way. Aboriginals didn’t have the luxury of refrigeration or anything like that. Well, they didn’t need it. So, they had to abide by the rules and regulations of Mother Nature again. She would tell us. For example: fish. I know great fish areas on the eastern seaboard of Australia. I clearly remember when I was, again, a young lad that whenever I saw a lot… and they’re always in single file too. They’re not two or three here. They’re always in single file: brown hairy caterpillars. I knew, through the training down the line, I knew that the sea mullet were on the way traveling up from… because the first time we’d hear of those sea mullets, they’d net thousands of cases down in Newcastle. Newcastle was a notorious place for the sea mullet. They must have come in close there and we knew then. It was only a matter of weeks before the sea mullets would come back up our way and that’s a classic example from Mother Nature. With regard to another one growing up. We had these trees planted over the Broadbeach burial ground… was the wudjuru tree, that’s the eucalyptus tree (edit note – not eucalyptus), tea tree and that was an important medical addition to the family chemist, our chemist shop. When the flowers came on with the wudjuru tree, you knew for sure, when those little creamy flowers came on, you said, “Hello, big moogerah on the way.” What’s that? Rain. Rain’s on the way. And sure enough, it doesn’t matter what the weather bureau says. I remember when Pacific Fair was just starting up, just been built, the old Pacific Fair. I remember this, because I told my beautiful mother. I was riding down, I had a push bike or something and I was riding down there and when I got home I said to my mother, “Holy heck. We’re in for big rain.” And my mother said, Teresa, she said, “How do you know?” What would I know? And I said, “Because the tea tree, wudjuru trees in the median strip on the way to Pacific Fair… they’re loaded with flowers.” Full of nectar, good for native bees, Mac. I said, “Loaded with flowers” and the weather bureau-how’s this? The weather bureau at the time said no rain on the way, blue skies etc., etc.. But, you know what? Down she came. And this was around ’53, 1953 or 1963. Let the records clearly show that the Gold Coast was flooded out. Mother Nature was right and the weather bureau with all their technology, they missed the mark.