Published by: Digital Schools
WARNING: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are warned that this post contains names and images of people who have now entered the Dreamtime.
The Witchetty Grub People & The Manna Gum – Part 2
As I look over the gulley where the river, Birrarung glides through, I see a landscape dominated by the silvered trunks and slender green leaves of the Eucalyptus viminalis. It is late May, and the gums have blossomed with creamy yellow flowers that fall all over the ground like small confetti. The birds get wild on the sugar of the blossom. They squawk and haggle on branches low enough I can about touch them if I tried. Lorikeets with their distinctive brassy voices fight pole position on hollowed logs, and I laugh at them, and they look at me, heads titled and call out to mates nearby to come and check me out.
Thank you for the wisdom and knowledge you work so hard to protect. It is acknowledged that it is for our benefit that we keep the fires of our Indigenous wisdom alive. Our very survival depends on it.
We are the land.
For a race of people whose experience of identity and reality is inseparable from the land in which they come, it is no wonder then that the Wirundjeri tribe of the Kulin nation (Melbourne) take their name from the Manna Gum and the grub that lives in and around the tree trunks. The eucalyptus viminalis, or Manna Gum dominants the small reservoir of native bushland that hugs the banks of the Yarra River., the place of Birrurang and the Wurundjeri People.
“The Wurundjeri People take their name from the Woiwurrung language word ‘weren’t meaning the Manna Gum (Eucalyptus viminalis) which is common along ‘Birrarung’ (Yarra River), and ‘djeri‘, the grub which is found in or near the tree”. –https://www.wurundjeri.com.au/our-story/ancestors-past/)
The European colonists named the White Gum, the Mann Gum – Apparently, Manna was a sweet tree sap collected by Israelites in the Old Testament, and the tree is a symbol of conservation and sustainable living to the colonists. To the native people of Melbourne, it is the self.
For the indigenous clans, the Eucalyptus is important to the ceremony, Welcome to Country. It is significant to the Wurundjeri as it represents who they are.
Wurundjeri Woiwurring people are the people of the Manna Gum, and the tree binds them to their ancestors and cultural wisdom. It provides them with medicine and healing, food, protection and natural resources.
The Witchetty Grub
The Witchetty Grub or Witjuti Grub is the larvae of several wood-eating moths in Australia.
This rather large grub is a staple in the diet of many different native Australian groups across the country and apparently, the cooked version is crispy chicken on the outside and raw egg in the middle.