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Children eating jelka nuts
Title : Children eating jelka nuts Children eating jelka nuts
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Creator : Mountford, Charles P. (Charles Pearcy), 1890-1976, photographer
Source : Aboriginal children eating jelka nuts
Place Of Creation : 1940
Date of creation : 1940
Format : Photograph
Catalogue record
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Copyright :

The Library received cultural clearance from the Ara Irititja Project to display this image. Reproduction rights are owned by State Library of South Australia.
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Description :

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

Merne yalka (Cyperus bulbosus) or wild onions 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 10cm underground. Once husked these 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.

Aboriginal children unlike most white 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.

Coverage year : 1940
Place : Mann Ranges
Region : Flinders Ranges and Far North - Outback
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

Adams, Jeanie Pigs and honey Adelaide: Omnibus, 1989

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

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