Artist: Jennifer Nakamarra Nelson
Catalogue No.: 08356
Size/medium: 61x75cm acrylic on canvas Painting
Title: Dogwood Tree – Wakirlpirri ( Acacia coriacea)
The Wakirlpirri tree is known as bush bean and is important in the early summer months as a source of very nuitritious seed which are eaten raw, roasted or grounded to make a sweet milk. It is a very strong wood and often crafted into boomerangs and nullanullas. It is a favourite wood for burning to cook food as it burns slowly and is therefore long lasting. The beans are collected between winter and summer. In summer the beans dry out on the bush and are collected. The women go out into the country with a blanket and place it under the tree. They hit the leaves with a stick until the dry beans fall off. They are then threshed and the rubbish is thrown away. The beans can be stored for months. The dried beans are placed into a Coolamon and mixed with water until it is milky and then this mixture is used to drink like a soya bean milk. The women liked to drink it when they were nursing their baby. The seeds are also grounded to make flour for damper and cake. It is a nice sweet taste and we still eat it today. Edible seeds are important to the aboriginal people as they formed a large part of their diet. Many of the grasses bear edible seeds. The seeds are collected and traditionally ground using a large and small stone to make a flour and this flour is mixed with water to make damper. Some grass seeds are collected by ants first and then the women will go to the ant’s nest and pick up the seed and clean it. They then put it in a Coolamon and separate the seeds from the sand, twigs and grass.