Australian Explorers: what did they eat?


survival on natural resources

The early 1800’s was a time of exploration through wild Australia.  One example was William Leichhardt, explorer and naturalist. He learned about edible bush plants from the aborigines and led several expeditions to central Australia. He trusted his aboriginal guides to find the food and was not disappointed. His survival depended on these guides. Examples of the wild foods they found included roots, gums, nuts, seeds, greens, berries, figs and teas.

Here is an extract from Leichhardt’s journal:

“The natives were remarkably kind and attentive, and offered us the rind of the rose-coloured Eugenia apple, the cabbage…the nut-like swelling of  rhizoma of either a grass or a sedge…a sweet taste, …very mealy and nourishing…The plant grew in depressions of the plains, where the boys and young men were occupied…digging…”

(Aboriginal Plant Collectors, Phillip Clarke)

Kaye LindenAustralian Explorers: what did they eat?

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