Kombumerri Traditional Custodian Contributor: Justine Dillon

This resource is related to the following Learning Areas –

And responds to the following Enquiry Questions –

Q35.Where were the popular hunting grounds of the Kombumerri people and what did they catch or collect?
Q40.Were there any specific medicinal remedies that the Kombumerri people used?
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)
Q68.What did the Kombumerri people eat? How did they grow it, gather it, harvest it? Who prepared the food?
Q70.Traditional foods – meals, rituals, eating times?
Q71.Hygiene – how did Indigenous people manage hygiene?

Resource transcript –

Hygiene, so we love showing people the Soap Bush, um so I can’t remember the scientific names because all my work crew does but, it’s easy to identify, it’s green on one side and lighter green on the underside. You put off a bit, only a couple drops of water is all you need, and go like that and it lathers up like so normal soap on your hands and it’s got … so you can clean with that, but it’s also got antibacterial properties, so you put that on your sores and stuff. But I’ve also heard of stories of them chucking mud over sores to help heal them, and stuff, um we have the Bracken fern. We found out the root of that is a natural remedy for any bites or stings. Ten times better than “Stingos”. Trademarking that, that’s ours. Um we have found a few other of our native flora species that

have an abundance of qualities to use for medicinal purposes, like we’re really excited to start … We’re sharing more about it we use it ourselves on site, working remote property we get stung quite often. The jumping ants out there before I took over used to only bite women. Now they bite everyone equally, and they pack a punch and the sting and yeah we’ll dig up the Bracken fern because it’s everywhere and use that to apply, as a remedy. So we have fresh water lakes all over the coast … well they used to be before a lot of developments. All through the Coomera river systems and Nerang river systems and then our salt water. We all love our salt water so much, like I live a bit in land from the salt water now and I crave that saltwater breeze, and we all crave going down and dipping our feet in the ocean. Like I don’t know anyone in my family that doesn’t have that urge, we’ve got to go down … we all have been going to the beach since we were .. every weekend since we were kids. My family is a fishing family. Every Saturday 5 a.m to 5 p.m we were at the beach fishing. That every weekend without doubt as much as I hated it I was always dragged along with the family it’s just what we did and sometimes it was because we had to fish for our dinner, and that’s how my Mum and that grew up on the island they’d have to fish and hunt, every day so that they could have food on their table they ate bandicoot, parrots and an abundance of seafood from turtle, dugong, snapper, whiting um dory all the fish you can imagine. Uh oysters big in my family as well, um eugaries, quampie shells which are the giant oysters uh yeah lots of different seafood varieties. So yeah, I’d say hygiene they’d always, we we’re told to wash … One thing my Elders, like I can remember since I was little, would always say to me, hygienic thing, clean behind your ears bub, and I’m always like “What what do you mean?” “Yeah of course I cleaned behind my ears.” but every time my great-great-grandmother Nana Vera pulled me up and she’d be like look behind my ears and she had been cleaned behind ears bub and I’d asks “What’s the deal with the clean ears?” and Mum said I think it’s more like, “Are you listening too, though?” Like it’s a listening thing, clean behind your binnungs, make sure they’re cleaned out so you’re always listening to what their Elders are saying. Um that and I think it was linked to um with the settlement diseases with the ears … a lot of ear infections and I think they always had that stigma keep your ears/binnungs clean. Uh yeah just little things like that, and always make sure we always just, keep yourself clean keep that stigma off that we’re not dirty people, we’re quite clean too, you know.