Kombumerri Traditional Custodian Contributor: Uncle Graham Dillon OAM

This resource is related to the following Learning Area –

And responds to the following Enquiry Questions –

Q8.Well-known Kombumerri people past and present.
Q9.How did the Kombumerri people dispose of their waste?
Q18.Compare/contrast: land use/sustainability in the past and present.
Q26.What were the spirits and gods significant to the Kombumerri people?

Resource transcript –

Right. As we know, we’re very natural in our ways. We had no mod-cons. However, they knew the importance of waste disposal. And growing up, and I’ve seen this happen… growing up I know that when a person goes into the bush and wants to… they get the call of nature… it’s most important that whatever comes out of their body there, in the bush, they cover it over. And I often wondered why would they cover up waste disposal, human waste disposal from out of them. Simple. If they don’t cover the waste disposal they believe that a bad spirit can come along, detect there… that waste disposal and then it’d be like a radar thing. They’ll track it back to that person. I’ve only been told that once but it’s not without credence. I believe that, yeah. That’s the human side of it. With regard to waste disposal, say, for a meal. In relation to a midden, where you’ve got a family sitting down. Oodgeroo, and she has a degree at Griffith. She’s got three. One, two down south. She said, wise old lady, that when they have a feed, our people, it’s imperative that they place every shell, used shell, one on top of the other. And I mentioned this before it’s not like going to a football field where you’ll see chippy packets and bottles and stubbies and all that sort of stuff. Not so with Aboriginals. They’ve been taught the art of respect. Respecting where that food comes from. Be it eugarie or cockle or periwinkle from out of the river. And, so, I said, “Well, why is that so?” She said, “If you don’t pack everything away neat and tidy in appreciation for having Mother Nature giving you that…” She said, “The sea gods will be angry and you won’t have a good season next time.” Now that would be a belief imbued in… it’s in here. They might get a good season next season but it’s what’s been put into them from children growing up and being part of Mother Nature. Respect. There’s a philosophy behind everything they do in relation to those elements of mother earth and the human being.