Bush medicine and tools | Booderee National Park

Bernie McLeod, traditional owner and Booderee Botanic Gardens curator, discusses traditional bush medicine techniques and tools used by the Wreck Bay people.

Transcript

This is an umbrella bracken fern, and this is used as an insect repellent. So you could either use it as a swatter, but also it's got properties in there which you can scrunch up to wipe on you to keep away the mosquitos and stuff like that. And also it's been known that, you know, you could walk around with it on your head as well, so that's what I've been taught around here as a young kid and that's what I show young people.

This is a gymea lily and people from around the Wreck Bay region, particularly up and down the coast, will use this plant to get bluebottle stings, to alleviate pain. This here's the stem, you break it off and you get just the liquid from that and you wipe it straight on. Also the other bit is the fibre inside - that could be used for cuts, like on oysters, from oysters on the rocks, and be used as a bandage.

This is a sandpaper fig and this is used to sharpen implements, like spearheads, axe handles and stuff like that, so weapons in particular. So, it's like sandpaper, it's very rough, and it hasn't got any at the moment but you can eat the fruit from this. It doesn't taste like something that you would buy from a shop, but it's bush tucker, so you've got to realise that when you're out in the bush things don't taste like McDonalds or anything like that.