Kombumerri Traditional Custodian Contributor: Justine Dillon

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?
Q35.Where were the popular hunting grounds of the Kombumerri people and what did they catch or collect?
Q68.What did the Kombumerri people eat? How did they grow it, gather it, harvest it? Who prepared the food?

Resource transcript –

We know that the hunting grounds were everywhere. So, we have our salt water, our fresh water flora and fauna. Wallabies, kangaroos, goannas, snakes, uh… when we had the shortages on food, when there was floods or seasonal things or waiting for the breeding cycle so we could have that food. They didn’t take the babies. We never take the females of the cycle. Like, fishing, they never took the jenny crabs because we don’t want to interrupt that cycle. With the shovelnosed rays, they would come up the Nerang river, hundreds of ‘em and they would only ever take one or two. They would let the rest go because that’s their breeding cycle, they’re going to lay their… have their babies up the river and then they’ll travel back down into the salt water. So, we know Nerang river, where the last occupied settlement was. There’s hunting grounds along there where they could access the species coming up the river. Brighton Parade, was also hunting grounds where they would dig for… you know, they could capture crab there. They go down to the salt water, dig for eugaries, pipis. They’d hand fish off the ocean, but not so much. Spears, they’d go spearing. The boys love building up the spears and going hunting. But, when we had times of fasting… I’m going to jump back to where we have our name derivative from, the teredo worm eaters. They’d go down to Tallebudgera, so Tallebudgera means place of soft wood. And, in the… all the logs that were floating in the water, the swamp down there, the Kombumerri would go down, crack open the wood and pull out this big fat worm that’s full of, um… high in fat and protein and that was what would sustain them during times of fasting. They’d go down and hunt that wood out of the swamp log and that’s the teredo worms and that’s where we come from, our name comes from, as well. So, they would find things that, you know, that normal people wouldn’t think to look for or eat, especially in our day and age. Who would want to go… not Bear Grylls, but, you know, they were the originals. Witchetty grubs, my mum has told me stories about them. Now days I’ve been told to fry ‘em up like a hot chip and have ‘em like that. I’m not a big fan. Turtle, very fatty. I’m not a fan of that either, but something they ate here. Dugong, as well. When we had a population here. When we were kids in the 90s, we’d be swimming down the Broadwater with dugongs swimming around us. We don’t seem them down there anymore because of the amount of people and pollution and developments. Dolphins, they’ll go into any dirty water so we always see them but I don’t think they ate them. They would help herd our mullet in for us, into the fish trap so we could easily trap them. Yeah, there was so much hunting areas, you know. They would have went in the mountains to chase. I think when they’re up higher on the mountain ridges, different animals to hunt, different lizards, different bird life, away from the coastal scene. So, yeah.