• Banksia History and Heritage

    Celebrating NAIDOC Week, from important sites to precious plants

The land on which Centennial Parklands is constructed does have a rich Aboriginal cultural heritage, so for this NAIDOC Week (2-9 July 2017), we are taking some time to acknowledge the site’s traditional custodians.

NAIDOC stands for National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee and with ‘NAIDOC Week’ week, members of all kinds of Australian communities are encouraged to come together to celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history, culture and achievements.

 

A site of importance

 

Archaeological and oral histories suggest that the land on which Centennial Parklands is constructed was once a site used for meetings between various Aboriginal clans. It is likely that the site was shared as a site for both men’s and women’s ‘business’. It is also likely that is was a location where ceremonies and trading of various items including food, tools, weapons and ochres took place.

 

Celebrating NAIDOC Week at the Parklands

 

Over the past few years, we have celebrated NAIDOC Week in the Parklands with special events and programs. Below are some great pictures from previous NAIDOC Week events.

 

NAIDOC image

Learning how to use plant materials

 

Testing out new skills

Testing out new skills

 

NAIDOC Week event

Sharing a story about the echidna

 

Plants of value

You may also be surprised to learn that the plants of the area held great value for their uses in Aboriginal culture.

Hundreds of years ago, much of eastern Sydney was covered in vegetation known as Eastern Suburbs Banksia Scrub and it was resourcefully used by Aboriginal people. There are over 40 species of Eastern Suburbs Banksia Scrub some of which can be found in Centennial Park today.

Just one of the great uses for Banksia, was to remove the sweet nectar from the flower or soak them for their nectar and create a drink.

 

Banksia

Sweet Banksia flowers were soaked for their nectar

 

Dianella was another important plant that is native to the region. The root of the plant was pounded into a flour and roasted, while the ripe blue berries could be eaten raw or cooked. The pretty ‘blue bell’ shaped flowers were also recognised as edible. (Tip – you can use these in your salads!)

The tough leaves of the Dianella were also realised for their durability, and used to make baskets, belts and traps.

 

Blue Bell Flower

The blue bell flowers from the Dianella plant are edible

 

Get involved

 

Our volunteers are currently in the process of reintroducing native flora just like Banksia and Dianella to areas of Centennial Park, including the ‘Guriwal Trail’, an area where we aim to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which Centennial Park now sits.

This NAIDOC Week, why not find out how you can get involved here?

For a long list of other great ways you can celebrate Aboriginal traditional culture across Sydney this NAIDOC Week, click here!

 

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