• Explore holidays, Part 3

    Well the adventure was coming to an end, but not before I had a chance to learn more about our history of the indigenous people of Australia. Making my way back to Melbourne I learned about the history of a local aboriginal clan’s summer ritual and saw evidence of where a canoe was carved from.

    In Bainsdale, Victoria, Australia, I came across a “scarred tree”. This is a tree that was used by the Brabawooloong clan. Scarred trees were used to create objects such as canoes, shields, infant carriers, bowls and gunyahs (bark huts). Toe-holds were cut into the tree to enable them to climb high into the tree and also look for bee hives and possums as well.

    To remove the bark, Aboriginal people would use stone axes to cut an outline of the shape they wanted. The bark was then levered off in one big piece. If the bark ever broke or split it would be useless, so great skill and careful preparation was needed.

    Once the bark was removed it was then heated to allow it to be easily shaped.

    Unfortunately many of the scarred trees were destroyed after European occupation through land clearing, development and bushfires. I am happy that these trees are now protected.

    In the warmer months The Gunaikurnai people would migrate to the higher areas of the Great Dividing Range, Mount Hotham, the Bogong high plains and other areas in the Alpine region. The different clans in the Gunaikurnai tribe would gather here to coordinate marriage ceremonies, corroborees (an event to interact with the Dreamtime through dance, music and costume), to trade and feast on the Cori, the Bogong moth.

    The moth was a tasty treat full of protein. They would cook them in hot ashes, then remove the head and any remaining legs. The body and the wings were eaten whole.

    Maybe I can try this next time in nature’s wonderful bushcraft store!

    I hope I have inspired you to take an explore holiday, or even a gap adventure!

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