Aboriginal Food Facts

by Sara
(Australia)

Where did they get food from?

What did they use to cook their food?
What did they use to put their food in?
What did they eat in?
Where did they get their water from?
What food did they eat?

Reply


Sara,

Aboriginal people have traditionally been very mobile populations, searching for food across large areas. They did not cultivate land, did not grow vegetables. This means they had to move from one source of food to the other, especially in the desert areas. Populations who lived near water, along the coast or rivers were more stable, as fishing and seafood provided enough supplies for the group.

For those away from the water, food consisted of seeds and plants: fruits, flowers, berries, roots. Flower nectar and native bees' honey was a treat. Here are some examples of the Australian Aboriginal food in the desert area.

In addition, Aborigines used to hunt and supplemented their diet with kangaroos, birds and other small animals. One of the delicacies of the bush food was the wichetty grub. Check this image of the wichetty tree, whose roots feed the grubs and get more information about what Aborigines ate, on this page.

You can also see how Australian Aborigines learnt to control the fire to promote vegetation growth and to make it easier for them to hunt.

Food was cooked on coals or on hot ashes or boiled. Seeds were ground to form flour, which was then baked on coals. Animals were thrown straight on the fire.

Food was not stored but eaten right away, for example from a coolamon, which is a wooden tool that can be used as a plate to eat, a cup to drink, and a scoop to dig for roots.

Finding water was a skill that Aboriginal people developed over thousands of years and each generation passed it to the next one. In what looks like a desert area there may be abundant underground water or water trapped in roots, plants or tree hollows. Morning dew, gathered from leaves or grass was also a source of water. Here is more information about finding the precious water.

As a conclusion, Australian Aboriginals are one of the oldest and most adaptable populations that learnt how to find the right resources to survive in difficult climate conditions.

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