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Aboriginal children eating jelka nuts
Title : Aboriginal children eating jelka nuts Aboriginal children eating jelka nuts
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Creator : Mountford, Charles P. (Charles Pearcy), 1890-1976, photographer
Source : PRG 1218/34/3988C
Place Of Creation : Mann Ranges
Date of creation : 1940
Format : Photograph
Catalogue record
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Description :

Aboriginal children of the Mann Ranges, eating jelka nuts [bulbs].

Merne yalka (Cyperus bulbosus) or wild onion is an annual plant the roots of which produce small bulbs. It grows along creek banks and in sandy soils. After the grass has died down the bulbs are harvested by digging over the ground as the bulbs can be as much as 10 centimetres underground. Once husked, they can be eaten raw or cooked. The cooking process softens the 'onion' or 'nut' and enhances the flavour. It is a good source of starch and a staple food, particularly in drought periods.

These Aboriginal children have probably assisted in gathering the food they are eating. Young girls equipped with digging sticks work alongside the women, learning the skills they will need as adults.

Related names :

Mountford, Charles P. (Charles Pearcy), 1890-1976

Coverage year : 1940
Place : Mann Ranges
Region : Northern Territory
Further reading :

Turner-Neale, Margaret-Mary. Arrernte foods: foods from Central Australia = Nhenhe-areye anwerne-arle arlkweme, Alice Springs, N.T.: IAD Press, 1994

Latz, P. K. Bushfires & bushtucker: Aboriginal plant use in Central Australia, Alice Springs, N.T.: IAD Press, 1995 p. 56, 158

Haagen, Claudia. Bush toys: Aboriginal children at play, Canberra: Aboriginal Studies Press for the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies, 1994 : Chapter 3 - Bush tucker

Lamshed, Max. 'Monty' : the biography of C.P. Mountford, [Adelaide] : Rigby, 1972

Adams, Jeanie. Pigs and honey, Adelaide: Omnibus, 1989

Wallace, Phyl. Children of the desert, Melbourne: Thomas Nelson (Australia), 1973

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