Bush tucker

Bush tucker, also called bushfood, is any food native to Australia and used as sustenance by the original inhabitants, the Aboriginal Australians, but it can also describe any native fauna or flora used for culinary and/or medicinal purposes, regardless of the continent or culture. Examples of Australian native animal foods (meats) include kangaroo, emu and crocodile. In particular, kangaroo is quite common and can be found in Australian supermarkets, often cheaper than beef. Other animals, for example goanna and witchetty grubs, were eaten by Aboriginal Australians. Fish and shellfish are culinary features of the Australian coastal communities.

Examples of Australian native plant foods include the fruits quandong, kutjera, muntries, riberry, Davidson's plum, and finger lime. Native spices include lemon myrtle, mountain pepper, and the kakadu plum. A popular leafy vegetable is warrigal greens. Nuts include bunya nut, and the most identifiable bush tucker plant harvested and sold in large-scale commercial quantities is the macadamia nut. Knowledge of Aboriginal uses of fungi is meagre but beefsteak fungus and native "bread" (a fungus also), were certainly eaten.

Aboriginal Australians have eaten native animal and plant foods for an estimated 60,000 years of human habitation on the Australian continent (see Indigenous Australian food groups, Australian Aboriginal sweet foods). Various traditional methods of processing and cooking are used. Toxic seeds, such as Cycas media and Moreton Bay chestnut, are processed to remove the toxins and render them safe to eat. Many foods are also baked in the hot campfire coals, or baked for several hours in ground ovens. "Paperbark", the bark of Melaleuca species, is widely used for wrapping food placed in ground ovens. Bush bread such as "Johnny cakes" were made by males using many types of seeds, nuts and corns to process a flour or dough. Some animals such as kangaroos, were cooked in their own skin and others such as turtles, were cooked in their own shells.[1]

Aboriginal traditional native food use has been severely affected by non-indigenous immigration since 1788, especially in the more densely colonised areas of south-eastern Australia. There, the introduction of non-native foods to Aboriginals has resulted in an almost complete abandonment of native foods by Aboriginals. This impact on traditional foods has been further accentuated by the loss of traditional lands which has resulted in reduced access to native foods by Aboriginals and destruction of native habitat for agriculture.

The recent recognition of the nutritional and gourmet value of native foods by non-indigenous Australians is introducing native cuisine to many for the first time.

Colonial use

Bush tucker provided a source of nutrition to the non-indigenous colonial settlers, often supplementing meager rations. However, bushfoods were often considered to be inferior by colonists unfamiliar with the new land's food ingredients, generally preferring familiar foods from their homelands.[2][3][4]

In the 19th century English botanist, J.D. Hooker, writing of Australian plants in Flora of Tasmania, remarked although "eatable," are not "fit to eat". In 1889, botanist Joseph Maiden reiterated this sentiment with the comment on native food plants "nothing to boast of as eatables."[5] The first monograph to be published on the flora of Australia reported the lack of edible plants on the first page, where it presented Billardiera scandens as, "... almost the only wild eatable fruit of the country".[6]

This became the accepted view of Australian native food plants until the late 20th century. It is thought that these early assessments were a result of encountering strong flavours not generally suitable for out-of-hand eating, but these strong flavours are now highly regarded for culinary use.

The only Australian native plant food developed and cropped on a large scale is the macadamia nut, with the first small-scale commercial plantation being planted in Australia in the 1880s. Subsequently, Hawaii was where the macadamia was commercially developed to its greatest extent from stock imported from Australia.

Modern use

In the 1970s non-indigenous Australians began to recognise the previously overlooked native Australian foods. Textbooks like Wildfoods in Australia by the botanist couple Cribb & Cribb were popular. In the late 1970s horticulturists started to assess native food-plants for commercial use and cultivation.

In 1980 South Australia legalised the sale of kangaroo meat for human consumption. Analysis showed that a variety of bushfoods were exceptionally nutritious.[7] In the mid-1980s several Sydney restaurants began using native Australian ingredients in recipes more familiar to non-indigenous tastes – providing the first opportunity for bushfoods to be tried by non-indigenous Australians on a serious gourmet level. This led to the realisation that many strongly flavoured native food plants have spice-like qualities.

Following popular TV programs on "bush tucker", a surge in interest in the late 1980s saw the publication of books like Bushfood: Aboriginal Food and Herbal Medicine by Jennifer Isaacs, The Bushfood Handbook and Uniquely Australian by Vic Cherikoff, and Wild Food Plants of Australia by Tim Low.

Bush tucker ingredients were initially harvested from the wild, but cultivated sources have become increasingly important to provide sustainable supplies for a growing market, with some Aboriginal communities also involved in the supply chain. However, despite the industry being founded on Aboriginal knowledge of the plants, Aboriginal participation in the commercial sale of bush tucker is currently still marginal, and mostly at the supply end of value chains. Organisations are working to increase Aboriginal participation in the bush tucker market. Gourmet style processed food and dried food have been developed for the domestic and export markets.

The term "bushfood" is one of several terms describing native Australian food, evolving from the older-style "bush tucker" which was used in the 1970s and 1980s.


TV shows made use of the bush tucker theme. Malcolm Douglas was one of the first presenters to show how to 'live off the land' in the Australian Outback. Major Les Hiddins, a retired Australian Army soldier popularised the idea of bush tucker as an interesting food resource. He presented a hit TV series called The Bush Tucker Man on the ABC TV network in the late 1980s. In the series, Hiddins demonstrated his research for NORFORCE in identifying foods which might sustain or augment army forces in the northern Australian Outback. 'NORFORCE' is a Regional Force Surveillance Unit of the Australian Army Reserve.

In early 2003, the first cooking show featuring authentic Australian foods and called Dining Downunder was produced by Vic Cherikoff and Bailey Park Productions of Toronto, Canada. This was followed by the Special Broadcasting Service (SBS) production of Message Stick with Aboriginal chef, Mark Olive.

Ray Mears recently made a survival television series called Ray Mears Goes Walkabout which focused on the history of survival in Australia, with a focus on bush tucker. In the series, Les Hiddins was a guest in one episode, with the two men sharing their knowledge and discussing various aspects of bush tucker.

In the TV survival series Survivorman host and narrator, Les Stroud, spent time in the Australian outback. After successfully finding and eating a witchetty grub raw he found many more and cooked them, stating they were much better cooked. After cooking in hot embers of his fire, he removed the head and the hind of the grub and squeezed out thick yellow liquid before eating.

Native Australian food-plants listed by culinary province and plant part

Australian bush tucker plants can be divided into several distinct and large regional culinary provinces. Please note, some species listed grow across several climatic boundaries.


Monsoonal zone of the Northern Territory, Cape York and North-western Australia.


P Morc D1252
Morinda citrifolia (great morinda)
Adansonia gregorii boab
Buchanania arborescens
Citrus gracilis kakadu lime
Eugenia carissoides Cedar Bay cherry
Ficus racemosa cluster fig
Manilkara kaukii wongi
Melastoma affine blue tongue
Mimusops elengi tanjong
Morinda citrifolia great morinda
Physalis minima native gooseberry
Terminalia ferdinandiana kakadu plum
Syzygium erythrocalyx Johnstone's River satinash
Syzygium fibrosum fibrous satinash
Syzygium suborbiculare lady apple


Dioscorea alata purple yam
Dioscorea bulbifera round yam
Dioscorea transversa pencil yam, long yam
Eleocharis spp. spikerush
Ipomoea aquatica water spinach
Nelumbo nucifera lotus
Nymphaea macrosperma water lily


Cycas media cycad palm seeds (requires detoxification: see Bush bread )
Semecarpus australiensis Australian cashew
Terminalia catappa sea almond


Eucalyptus staigeriana lemon ironbark
Melaleuca leucadendra weeping paperbark
Melaleuca viridiflora kitcha-kontoo
Ocimum tenuiflorum native basil

Outback Australia

Arid and semi-arid zones of the low rainfall interior.


Capparis spp. native caper, caperbush
Capparis mitchelii wild orange
Capparis spinosa
subsp. nummularia
wild passionfruit
Carissa lanceolata bush plum, conkerberry
Citrus glauca desert lime
Enchylaena tomentosa ruby saltbush
Ficus platypoda desert fig
Marsdenia australis doubah, bush banana
Owenia acidula emu apple
Santalum acuminatum quandong, desert or sweet quandong
Santalum murrayanum bitter quandong
Solanum centrale akudjura, Australian desert raisin, bush tomato
Solanum cleistogarnum bush tomato
Solanum ellipticum bush tomato


Calandrinia balonensis parakeelya
Ipomoea costata bush potato
Vigna lanceolata pencil yam
Lepidium spp. peppercresses
Portulaca intraterranea large pigweed


Acacia aneura mulga
Acacia colei
Acacia coriacea dogwood
Acacia holosericea strap wattle
Acacia kempeana witchetty bush
Acacia murrayana
Acacia pycnantha
Acacia retinodes
Acacia tetragonophylla dead finish seed
Acacia victoriae gundabluey, prickly wattle
Brachychiton populneus kurrajong
Panicum decompositum native millet
Portulaca oleracea pigweed
Triodia spp. commonly known as spinifex


Eucalyptus polybractea blue-leaved mallee

Insects in gall

Eastern Australia

Subtropical rainforests of New South Wales to the wet tropics of Northern Queensland.


Acronychia acidula lemon aspen
Acronychia oblongifolia white aspen
Antidesma bunius Herbet River cherry
Archirhodomyrtus beckleri rose myrtle
Austromyrtus dulcis midyim
Carpobrotus glaucescens pigface
Citrus australasica finger lime
Citrus australis dooja
Davidsonia jerseyana New South Wales Davidson's plum
Davidsonia johnsonii smooth davidsonia
Davidsonia pruriens North Queensland Davidson's plum
Diploglottis campbellii small-leaf tamarind
Eupomatia laurina bolwarra
Ficus coronata sandpaper fig
Melodorum leichhardtii zig zag vine
Pleiogynium timoriense Burdekin plum
Podocarpus elatus Illawarra plum
Planchonella australis black apple
Rubus moluccanus broad-leaf bramble
Rubus probus Atherton raspberry
Rubus rosifolius rose-leaf bramble
Syzygium australe brush cherry
Syzygium luehmannii riberry
Syzygium paniculatum magenta lilly pilly
Ximenia americana yellow plum


Apium prostratum sea celery
Commelina cyanea scurvy weed
Geitonoplesium cymosum scrambling lily
Tetragonia tetragonoides warrigal greens
Trachymene incisa wild parsnip
Urtica incisa scrub nettle


Alpinia caerulea native ginger
Backhousia citriodora lemon myrtle
Backhousia myrtifolia cinnamon myrtle
Backhousia anisata aniseed myrtle
Leptospermum liversidgei lemon tea-tree
Prostanthera incisa cut-leaf mintbush
Smilax glyciphylla sweet sarsaparilla
Syzygium anisatum aniseed myrtle
Tasmannia stipitata Dorrigo pepper (leaf and pepperberry)


Araucaria bidwillii bunya nut
Athertonia diversifolia Atherton almond
Macadamia integrifolia macadamia nut
Macadamia tetraphylla bush nut
Sterculia quadrifida peanut tree

Temperate Australia

Warm and cool temperate zones of southern Australia, including Tasmania, South Australia, Victoria and the highlands of New South Wales.


Scientific name Common name Edible part of plant Use Details Citation
Acacia mearnsii Black Wattle Bark Tea Bark can be soaked to make a tea, which is claimed to be good for indigestion. [8]
Kennedia prostrata Running Postman Flower Garnish The nectar from the flowers is edible. [8]
Lomandra longifolia Sagg Flower Garnish Young leaves, flowers and seeds are ideal [8]
Wahlenbergia multicaulis Bushy Bluebell Flower Garnish [8]
Wahlenbergia stricta Flower Garnish [8]
Xanthorrhea australis Grass Tree Flower Garnish The nectar from the flowers is edible. [8]
Viola hederacea Wild Violet Flower Salad The flowers are edible and can be used in salads. [8]
Astroloma humisifusum Native Cranberry Fruit Fruit The berries can be consumed, when ripe. [8]
Astroloma pinifolium Pine Heath Fruit Fruit The berries can be consumed, when ripe. [8]
Billardiera longiflora Mountain Blue Berry Fruit Fruit Edible fruit when ripe [8]
Billardiera scandens Apple Dumplings Fruit Fruit The berries can be consumed, when ripe. [8]
Coprosma nitida Mountain Currant Fruit Fruit The berries can be consumed, when ripe. [8]
Coprosma quadrifida Native Currant Fruit Fruit Edible berries - raw or stewed [8]
Dianella brevicaulis Shortstem Flaxlily Fruit Fruit The berries can be consumed, when ripe. [8]
Dianella revoluta Spreading Flaxlily Fruit Fruit The berries can be consumed, when ripe. [8]
Dianella tasmanica Blue Flax Lily Fruit Fruit The berries can be consumed, when ripe. [8]
Einardia nutans Climbing Saltbush Fruit Fruit The fruit can be consumed, when ripe. [8]
Solanum laciniatum Kangaroo Apple Fruit Fruit Only the very ripe fruit is edible....Note: the green fruit is POISONOUS. [8]
Tasmannia lanceolata Native Pepper Fruit Fruit If the berries are dried, they can be consumed. [8]
Acmena smithii Lilly Pilly Fruit Jam/compote Berries can either be eaten raw or made into a jam or compote. [8]
Carprobrotus rossii Native Pigface Fruit Jam/compote The ripe fruit eaten raw or made into a compote. [8]
Acacia mearnsii Black Wattle Gum Condiment [8]
Eucalyptus gunnii Cider Gum Gum Condiment The gum is sweet and edible. [8]
Lomandra longifolia Sagg Leaf/shoot Salad Consume the young leaves [8]
Phragmites australis Common Reed Leaf/shoot Salad [8]
Suaeda australis Seablite Leaf/shoot Salad [8]
Tasmannia lanceolata Native Pepper Leaf/shoot Salad Dry the leaves before consumption. [8]
Xanthorrhea australis Grass Tree Leaf/shoot Salad The young leaves can be consumed. [8]
Ozothamnus obcordatus Native Thyme Leaf/shoot Seasoning When the leaves are dried, their taste resembled that of thyme. It can be used as a seasoning. [8]
Correa alba White Correa Leaf/shoot Tea The leave may be used to prepare a tea. [8]
Hardenbergia violacea Sarsparilla Vine Leaf/shoot Tea In order to make a tea, the leaves need to be initially boiled, then dried. [8]
Kunzea ambigua White Kunzea Leaf/shoot Tea A refreshing tea can be made from the dried leaves. [8]
Atriplex cinerea Grey Saltbush Leaf/shoot Vegetable In order to remove some of the salt from the leaves, the leaves need to be thoroughly soaked in water. After rinsing, the leaves can be used as a type of vegetable / salad. [8]
Tetragonia implexicoma Bower Spinach Leaf/shoot Vegetable The leaves are edible in both a raw or cooked state. [8]
Triglochin procera Water Ribbons Leaf/shoot Vegetable The leaves are edible in both a raw or cooked state. [8]
Typha domingensis Bulrush Leaf/shoot Salad Consume the young shoots from the plant. [8]
Typha orientalis Broad-leafed Bulrush Leaf/shoot Salad Consume the young shoots from the plant. [8]
Arthropodium milleflorum Vanilla Lily Root/tuber/bulb Vegetable The tubers can be consumed in both a raw or roasted state. [8]
Arthropodium strictum Chocolate Lily Root/tuber/bulb Vegetable The tubers can be consumed in both a raw or roasted state. NOTE: the chocolate scented flowers are NOT edible, however. [8]
Bolboschoenus caldwellii Sea Clubsedge Root/tuber/bulb Vegetable The roots are edible once they've been roasted. [8]
Bulbine bulbosa Golden Rock Lily Root/tuber/bulb Vegetable The bulb of the plant can be consumed after it has been roasted. It is particularly nutritious. [8]
Burchardia umbellata Milk Maids Root/tuber/bulb Vegetable The tuber of the plant can be consumed once it has been roasted. [8]
Clematis aristata Travellers Joy Root/tuber/bulb Vegetable Once the taproot has been roasted, it is edible. [8]
Clematis microphylla Small Leaf Clematis Root/tuber/bulb Vegetable Once the taproot has been roasted, it is edible. [8]
Convolvulus angustissimus Pink Moonflower Root/tuber/bulb Vegetable Once the taproot has been roasted, it is edible. [8]
Eleocharis sphacelata Tall Rush Spike Root/tuber/bulb Vegetable The roots are edible [8]
Geranium solanderi Southern cranesbill Root/tuber/bulb Vegetable Once the taproot has been roasted, it is edible. [8]
Microseris lanceolata Yam Daisy, Murnong Root/tuber/bulb Vegetable The tubers can be consumed in both a raw or roasted state. [8]
Phragmites australis Common Reed Root/tuber/bulb Vegetable [8]
Xanthorrhea australis Grass Tree Root/tuber/bulb Vegetable The young roots are edible [8]
Typha domingensis Bulrush Root/tuber/bulb Vegetable [8]
Typha orientalis Broad-leafed Bulrush Root/tuber/bulb Vegetable [8]
Dodonaea viscosa Native Hop Seed Alcohol Seeds can be used instead of hops to brew beer [8]
Acacia melanoxylon Blackwood Seed Nuts [8]
Acacia retinodes Wirilda Seed Nuts Both the seeds and green pods can be consumed. [8]
Acacia sophorae Boobyalla/Coast Wattle Seed Nuts The seeds can be consumed in both the raw or roasted state. [8]
Brachychiton populneus Kurrajong (Tas prov) Seed Nuts The seeds of this plant are particularly nutritious. The seeds can be consumed in both the raw or roasted state. [8]
Lomandra longifolia Sagg Seed Nuts [8]
Phragmites australis Common Reed Seed Nuts [8]
Acacia mearnsii Black Wattle Seed Nuts [8]
Sarcoconia quinqueflora Samphire or Glasswort Stem Fibre Consumption of the younger stems of the plant is suggested [8]
Phragmites australis Common Reed Stem Fibre [8]


Acrotriche depressa native currant
Billardiera cymosa sweet apple-berry
Billardiera longiflora purple apple-berry
Billardiera scandens common apple-berry
Carpobrotus rossii karkalla [9]
Exocarpus cupressiformis native cherry
Gaultheria hispida snow berry
Kunzea pomifera muntries
Rubus parvifolius pink-flowered native raspberry
Sambucus gaudichaudiana white elderberry
Enchylaena tomentosa ruby saltbush [10]


Acacia longifolia golden rods
Acacia sophorae coast wattle (All Acacia seeds can be ground into a bush flour.)


Eucalyptus dives peppermint gum
Eucalyptus olida strawberry gum
Eucalyptus globulus tasmanian blue gum
Mentha australis river mint
Prostanthera rotundifolia native thyme
Tasmannia lanceolata mountain pepper
Tasmannia stipitata Dorrigo pepper


Apium insulare Flinders Island celery
Atriplex cinerea grey saltbush
Burchardia umbellata milkmaids
Eustrephus latifolius wombat berry
Microseris lanceolata murnong


Neptune's necklace (the beady seaweed) - the beads are pierced to get rid of the salt water before being cooked [11]
Warrigal greens - tastes like spinach, pest resistant and spreads easily
Coast sword-sedge – the leaf bases can be eaten raw or roasted[12][13]

See also



  1. ^ Hiddins, Les (2003). Bush Tucker Field Guide. Australia: Explore Australia Publishing. pp. x. ISBN 1741170281.
  2. ^ Newton, John (2016). The Oldest Foods on Earth. Sydney, Australia: NewSouth Publishing. ISBN 9781742234373.
  3. ^ O'Brien, Charmaine (2016). The Colonial Kitchen. USA: Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 9781442249813.
  4. ^ Newling, Jacqui (2015). Eat Your History, Stories and Recipes from Australian Kitchens. Sydney, Australia: Sydney Living Museums and NewSouth Publishing. ISBN 9781742234687.
  5. ^ Maiden, J.H., The Useful Native Plants of Australia, 1889, p.1
  6. ^ Smith, J E (1793). Spec. Bot. New Holland. James Sowerby. AMID all the beauty and variety which the vegetable productions of New Holland display in such profusion, there has not yet been discovered a proportionable degree of usefulness to mankind, at least with respect to food.
  7. ^ Low, T., Wild Food Plants of Australia, Angus & Robertson, 1992, pp 199–202 ISBN 0-207-16930-6
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at au av aw ax ay az ba bb bc bd be bf bg bh bi bj http://www.wildseedtasmania.com.au/bush_food.php
  9. ^ "Edible Pigface Australian - Sustainable Gardening Australia". Sustainable Gardening Australia.
  10. ^ "Enchylaena tomentosa - Ruby Saltbush - Nurseries Online". 10 July 2016.
  11. ^ "Neptune's necklace - Seaweed (Hormosira banksii)".
  12. ^ "Coastal Sword Sedge" (PDF). sercul.org.au. Retrieved 24 October 2018.
  13. ^ "Coast Sword-sedge | Lepidosperma gladiatum". scnaturesearch.com.au. Retrieved 24 October 2018.


  • Bruneteau, Jean-Paul, Tukka, Real Australian Food, ISBN 0-207-18966-8.
  • Cherikoff, Vic, The Bushfood Handbook, ISBN 0-646-15496-6.
  • Isaacs, Jennifer, Bushfood, Weldons, Sydney.
  • Kersh, Jennice and Raymond, Edna's Table, ISBN 0-7336-0539-7.
  • Low, Tim, Wild Food Plants of Australia, ISBN 978-0-207-14383-0

External links

Australian Outback Spectacular

The Australian Outback Spectacular is an Australiana dinner and show package featuring many Australian animals, songs and bush tucker. The show is located between Warner Bros. Movie World and Wet'n'Wild Water World at Oxenford on the Gold Coast.

Australian cuisine

Australian cuisine refers to the food and cooking practices of Australia and its inhabitants. As a modern nation of large-scale immigration, Australia has a unique blend of culinary contributions and adaptations from various cultures around the world, including Indigenous Australians, Asians, Europeans and Pacific Islanders.

Indigenous Australians have occupied Australia for some 65,000 years, during which they developed a unique hunter-gatherer diet, known as bush tucker, drawn from regional Australian flora and fauna. Australia became a collection of British colonies from 1788 to 1900, during which time culinary tastes were strongly influenced by British and Irish migrants, with agricultural products such as beef cattle, sheep and wheat becoming staples in the local diet. The Australian gold rushes introduced more varied immigrants and cuisines, mainly Chinese, whilst Australia's post-war multicultural immigration program led to a large-scale diversification of local food, particularly under the influence of Mediterranean and East and South Asian Australians.Australian cuisine in the 21st century reflects the influence of globalisation, with many fast-food restaurants and international trends becoming influential. Organic and biodynamic foods have also become widely available alongside a revival of interest in bushfood. Australia has become famous for the high quality of its exports, with major agricultural industries including cattle and calves, wheat, fruit and nuts, vegetables, milk, sheep and lambs (for meat and wool), poultry, barley, canola. The country is also well regarded for its locally-made wine, beer and soft drinks.

While fast food chains are abundant, Australia's metropolitan areas have famed haute cuisine and nouvelle cuisine establishments that offer both local and international foods. Restaurants whose product includes contemporary adaptations, interpretations or fusions of exotic influences are frequently termed Modern Australian.

Bush coconut

The Bush coconut, or bloodwood apple, is an Australian bush tucker food, often eaten by Aborigines of Central Australia.

The bush coconut is, in fact, a combination of plant and animal: an adult female scale insect, Cystococcus pomiformis, lives in a gall induced on a bloodwood eucalypt (Corymbia terminalis).The gall looks like a small, knobbly woody fruit, ranging in size from a golf ball to a tennis ball, with a milky white flesh inside upon which the insect and its male offspring feed.Bush coconut is called Merne arrkirlpangkwerle in the Arrernte language of Central Australia. Aborigines pick them and crack them open with a rock. The Arrernte call the insect angure.


Bushcraft is a popular term for wilderness survival skills. The term was popularized in the Southern Hemisphere by Les Hiddins (the Bush Tucker Man) as well as in the Northern Hemisphere by Mors Kochanski and more recently gained considerable currency in the United Kingdom due to the popularity of Ray Mears and his bushcraft and survival television programs. It is also becoming popular in urban areas where the average person is separated from nature, as a way to get back in tune with their rural roots. The origin of the phrase "bushcraft" comes from skills used in the bush country of Australia. Often the phrase "wilderness skills" is used as it describes skills used all over the world.Bushcraft is about thriving in the natural environment, and the acquisition of the skills and knowledge to do so. Bushcraft skills include firecraft, tracking, hunting, fishing, shelter-building, navigation by natural means, the use of tools such as knives and axes, foraging, water sourcing, hand-carving wood, container construction from natural materials, and rope and twine-making, among others.

Capparis spinosa subsp. nummularia

Capparis spinosa subsp. nummularia, the wild passionfruit, or (locally) caperbush, is an Australian native plant. It is a subspecies of the caper adapted to deserts.

Its name in the Arrernte language of Central Australia is Merne arrutnenge.

Wild passionfruit is a tasty bush tucker food. When it ripens, the skin turns orange and splits open and the little black seeds become visible. It is then ready to eat. The seeds are hot and spicy when crushed. It grows prolifically in riverbanks in the desert.

Coolamon (vessel)

A coolamon is an Australian Aboriginal carrying vessel.

It is a multi-purpose shallow vessel, or dish with curved sides, ranging in length from 30–70 cm, and similar in shape to a canoe.

Coolamons were traditionally used by Aboriginal women to carry water, fruit, nuts, as well as to cradle babies. Today when women gather bush tucker, they usually use a billy can, bucket or flour tin. Coolamons were carried on the head when travelling any distance, or under the arm if used as a cradle. If carried on the head, a ring pad (akartne in Arrernte) was placed on the head, made out of possum and/or human hair string, twisted grass, or feathers.[1]

This helped to cushion and support the carriage of the coolamon; the same purpose as those used by women in India and Africa to carry vessels on their heads. The Pintupi of the Western Desert would attach a double strand of plaited rope (ngalyibi) made of hair or plant fibre to sling the coolamon over their shoulders. They also wore smaller coolamons as hats, with the twine around the chin.Coolamons were used for winnowing grains in the traditional bread-making process, as well as a general heating and cooking vessel. They could even be used as an umbrella.


The Cossidae, the cossid millers or carpenter millers, make up a family of mostly large miller moths. This family contains over 110 genera with almost 700 known species, and many more species await description. Carpenter millers are nocturnal Lepidoptera found worldwide, except the Southeast Asian subfamily Ratardinae, which is mostly active during the day.

This family includes many species with large caterpillars and moths with a wingspan from 9–24 cm (3 1⁄2–9 1⁄2 in). These moths are mostly grey; some have long, narrow wings and resemble hawkmoths (Sphingidae) which are more advanced macrolepidoptera, however. Many are twig, bark, or leaf mimics, and Cossidae often have some sort of large marking at the tip of the forewing uppersides, conspicuous in flight, but resembling a broken-off twig when the animals are resting.

Caterpillars are smooth with a few hairs. Most cossid caterpillars are tree borers, in some species taking up to three years to mature. The caterpillars pupate within their tunnels; they often have an unpleasant smell, hence another colloquial name is goat moths.

The family includes the carpenterworm (Prionoxystus robiniae) and the goat moth (Cossus cossus) which have gained notoriety as pests. However, the large caterpillars of species that do not smell badly are often edible. Witchetty grubs – among the Outback's most famous bush tucker – are most commonly the caterpillars of Endoxyla leucomochla, one of the more than 80 cossid species in Australia. In Chile, the sweet-smelling caterpillars of the Chilean moth (Chilecomadia moorei) are harvested in quantity and internationally traded as butterworms, for use as pet food and fishing bait.

Double Trouble (Australian TV series)

Double Trouble is an Australian children's television series aired on the Nine Network and repeated on ABC3. It was produced by the Central Australian Aboriginal Media Association. Double Trouble is the remake of the 1984 American series starring former twin actresses Jean and Liz Sagal. The program is currently being syndicated in the United States on Vibrant TV Network.

Granada Talk TV

Granada Talk TV was a short-lived TV channel owned and operated by Granada Sky Broadcasting, a joint venture between BSkyB and Granada Television. It launched on 1 October 1996 with the other channels of the bouquet, but due to low viewership the channel ceased broadcasting on 31 August 1997.

The channel is perhaps best known for helping launch the careers of Sacha Baron Cohen (presenter of anarchic children's show F2F), Natasha Kaplinsky (co-presenter of the Paul Ross Show) and Graham Norton (regular guest presenter on F2F). It also bred some of British television's most successful production talent, including Layla Sabih (later commissioning editor at the ITV Network), Mark Cowley (the creative force behind the 'Bush Tucker Trials' on ITV's I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here!) and Rob Burley (later editor of the Jonathan Dimbleby programme and the driving force behind ITV's Sunday political output). Channel controller Will Smith became head of Granada London's Factual department, best known for the hit series Airline.

It closed on 31 August 1997 along with Sky 2 following the death of Diana, Princess of Wales. The final day's broadcasts were a simulcast of Sky News.

I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here! (British TV series)

I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here! (often shortened to I'm a Celebrity or I'm a Celeb) is a British survival reality television game show, created by London Weekend Television (LWT), produced by ITV Studios, and aired live on ITV from Australia. The format sees a group of celebrities living together within an Australian jungle camp, coping with a few creature comforts. Each member not only undertakes in challenges to secure additional food and treats for the group, but also to avoid being voted out by viewers during their stay, with the final episode's votes nominating who wins a series and become crowned as "Jungle King/Queen".

The programme's first series debuted on 25 August 2002, and was produced by both LWT and Granada Television, and filmed within Tully, Queensland. Later series were undertaken by ITV Studios, and filmed around Murwillumbah, New South Wales. Celebrities participating on the programme receive a donation from ITV to a charity they nominate, with the money raised from charges on voting via text, phone or interactive services. Each series is hosted by Anthony McPartlin and Declan Donnelly, with the exception of the eighteenth series, in which McPartlin suspended his TV duties for a year in 2018, leaving Donnelly to be joined by Holly Willoughby.I'm a Celebrity is often a ratings winner for ITV, attracting on average over 9 million viewers each series, with its success spawning an international franchise of the same name. The main show itself is accompanied on each series by a companion sister show on ITV2, entitled I'm a Celebrity: Extra Camp, which features behind-the-scenes footage and discussions on celebrities voted out of latest episode. At present, the programme has run for eighteen series and 204 episodes and is contracted to be produced until at least 2019.

Ipomoea costata

Ipomoea costata, commonly known as rock morning glory, is an Australian native plant. It is found in northern Australia, from Western Australia, through the Northern Territory, to Queensland.

It is the source of bush potato, a bush tucker food for Aborigines. Bush potatoes are cooked in the hot earth beside the fire, and potato is still eaten in the desert today.

It is a fast-growing creeper with large purplish-pink trumpet flowers.

Les Hiddins

Major Leslie James Hiddins AM (born 13 August 1946 in Brisbane, Queensland), aka "The Bush Tucker Man" is a retired Australian Army soldier and war veteran, who is best known for his love and knowledge of the Australian bush. Hiddins is recognised by his distinctively modified Akubra "sombrero" hat and big grin.

Marsdenia australis

Marsdenia australis, commonly known as the bush banana, silky pear or green vine is an Australian native plant. It is found in Central Australia and throughout Western Australia. It is a bush tucker food used by Indigenous Australians.M. australis has many different names in Aboriginal languages. In the Arrernte language of Central Australia; merne alangkwe (older transcription: elonka), merne ulkantyerrknge (the flowers) and merne altyeye (the prefix merne signifies plant food). In Karrajari, Nyulnyul and Yawuru it is called 'Magabala'. It can be eaten small or fully grown. The small fruits are called amwerterrpe. Kalgoorlie and Karlkurla (one of its suburbs) both take their names from a Wangai word meaning "place of the silky pears".

The flowers hang in clusters and can also be eaten, as can the main part of the plant (altyeye in Arrernte).

Bush bananas are cooked in hot earth beside the fire or eaten raw when young (the flavour has been likened to fresh peas). The root of the plant is called Merne atnetye and can also be eaten raw or cooked. The very white roots are cooked in the hot earth close to the fire.

All parts of the bush banana plant are still eaten in the desert today.

One of the significant bush food for the Aboriginal Australians people of Australia, the food is often depicted in current Aboriginal art, especially paintings about 'bush tucker', as well as 'Bush Banana Dreaming' paintings.

Myoporum insulare

Myoporum insulare, commonly known as common boobialla, native juniper or blueberry tree is a flowering plant in the figwort family Scrophulariaceae and is endemic to coastal areas of Australia. It is a shrub or small tree which grows on dunes and coastal cliffs, is very salt tolerant and widely used in horticulture.


The Nyamal are an Indigenous Australian people of the Pilbara area of north-western Australia.


The perentie (Varanus giganteus) is the largest monitor lizard or goanna native to Australia, and the fourth-largest living lizard on earth, after the Komodo dragon, Asian water monitor, and the crocodile monitor. Found west of the Great Dividing Range in the arid areas of Australia, it is rarely seen because of its shyness and the remoteness of much of its range from human habitation. The species is considered to be a least-concern species according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)

Its status in many Aboriginal cultures is evident in the totemic relationships, and part of the Ngiṉṯaka dreaming, as well as bush tucker. It was a favoured food item among desert Aboriginal tribes, and the fat was used for medicinal and ceremonial purposes.

Ray Mears Goes Walkabout

Ray Mears Goes Walkabout is a survival television series hosted by Ray Mears, showing Mears in Australia. The series airs on the BBC in United Kingdom, it is also shown on Discovery Channel in Canada, India, Italy, Brazil, New Zealand, Australia, Norway, Sweden, the Netherlands, Russia, and the United States.

A book of the same title was released concurrently with the series. In the series Mears met one of his heroes: Les Hiddins (aka "The Bush Tucker Man").

Trundle, New South Wales

Trundle is a small town in Parkes Shire in the Central West of New South Wales, Australia. It and the surrounding area had a population of 666 in the 2011 census, (7.2%).It lies in wheat-growing country and is on the Bogan Gate–Tottenham railway line, completed to Trundle in 1907.

Wingellina, Western Australia

Wingellina or Irrunytju Community is a small Indigenous Australian community in Western Australia located about 1,700 kilometres (1,056 mi) north east of Perth near the Western Australian-South Australian border in the Goldfields-Esperance region of Western Australia.

Surrounded by large granite hills with mulga and mallee country, the community maintains many traditional activities such as hunting and gathering bush tucker as well as making many carved wooden artefacts.The community is situated 12 km South West of the Surveyor Generals Corner near the NT-SA-WA border in the Gibson and Great Victoria deserts.

Animal products
Edible plants / roots
Sap / Gum / etc.

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