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Evidence of bark-canoes and food-carriers on the River Murray, South Australia
Title : Evidence of bark-canoes and food-carriers on the River Murray, South Australia Evidence of bark-canoes and food-carriers on the River Murray, South Australia View More Images
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Creator : Basedow, Herbert, 1881-1933
Source : Evidence of bark-canoes and food-carriers on the River Murray, South Australia : Cover and pages 1-2
Place Of Creation : London
Publisher : Royal Anthropological Institute
Date of creation : 1914
Format : Magazine
Dimensions : 272 x 187 x 1 mm
Contributor : State Library of South Australia
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Description :

Basedow's report to the Royal Anthropological Institute, besides photographs of two trees showing the scars of bark removal, contains a brief text which gives a description of a method of cooking and of the treatment of the bark to produce 'coolamons' or food carriers. There is also a brief description of a midden of mussel shells found on the river. Herbert Basedow was an anthropologist 1881-1933.

Aboriginal communities living along the rivers of south-eastern Australia cut the bark from trees to build canoes. This practice was particularly prevalent along the River Murray and its tributaries and has left an abundance of what we now call 'canoe trees'.

The plentiful river red gums (Eucalyptus camaldulensis) around the Murray provided perfect bark for the building of canoes. While the bark was still fresh and supple, it was fashioned into a boat-like shape. The canoes were often propelled by the use of a long shaft like a punt.

The canoes did not have a long life as prolonged immersion in water caused the bark sheets to become sodden. For this reason, they were used for fishing and crossing rivers rather than for extended journeys.

Region : Riverland and Murraylands
Further reading :

Bell, Diane. Ngarrindjeri Wurruwarrin : a world that is, was and will be, North Melbourne, Spinifex Press, 1998

Berndt, Ronald M. and Berndt, Catherine H. with Stanton, John E. A world that was: the Yaraldi of the Murray River and the lakes, South Australia, Vancouver: UBC Press, 1993

Etheridge, R. The dendroglyphs or "carved trees" of New South Wales, Sydney : Dept. of Mines, 1918 (Sydney : William Applegate Gullick, Government Printer)

Edwards, Robert. Aboriginal bark canoes of the Murray Valley, Adelaide: Rigby for the South Australian Museum, 1972.

Jenkin, Graham. Conquest of the Ngarrindjeri, Point McLeay, Raukkan Publishers, 1995, 2nd ed

Kartinyeri, Doreen. Ngarrindjeri Nation: Genealogies of Ngarrindjeri Families, 2006

Taplin, George (ed). The Folklore, manners, customs and languages of the South Australian Aborigines, Bridgewater, 1989, edited by G. Taplin, first published 1879

Weir, Jessica. Murray River country : an ecological dialogue with traditional owners, Canberra : Aboriginal Studies Press, 2009

Woolmer, George. Traditional Ngarinyeri people: Aboriginal people of the Murray Mouth Region, Adelaide, Education Department of South Australia, 1986

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