Bushfires and Bushticker – Aboriginal Plant Use in Central Australia

bush fires and bush tucker by peter latz

Launch of the Revised and Updated Bushfires and Bushtucker


by Peter Latz

Published by IAD Pressiad press


With special guests Arrernte Elders:
Veronica Dobson AM & MK Turner OAM
Peter Wallace & Sammy Cavenagh

August 17th
4:30 pm – 6:00 pm

RSVP: by 5pm Wednesday 15th August 2018 to (08) 8951 1311 or sales@iad.edu.au


Aboriginal experts gather for the first time to launch the new edition of Bushfires & Bushtucker: Aboriginal plant use in Central Australia

Aboriginal experts on native plants will come together for the first time to launch the new edition of Bushfires and Bushtucker:  Aboriginal plant use in Central Australia on Friday the 17th of August from 4:30 to 6:00 pm at Olive Pink Botanic Garden in Alice Springs.  Published by IAD Press, it is the most complete survey of desert Aboriginal plant use.

bloodwood gall
The ‘bush coconut,’ a gall formed on the desert bloodwood tree, Corymbia opaca by a female scale insect, Cystoccus pomiformis.

Renowned and now Retired NT Botanist and Bushfires and Bushtucker author Peter Latz grew up in the Hermannsburg Aboriginal settlement of the 1940s, where he learned from “the very old people who have full knowledge of plants.”  Latz says readers of this book should always “learn directly from the Aboriginal people who keep their plant knowledge alive.”

The Institute for Aboriginal Development will bring together author Peter Latz with senior Aboriginal plant experts Veronica Dobson, MK Turner, Peter Wallace and Sammy Cavenagh with their Aboriginal apprentices, and current NT Botanist Peter Jobson.  IAD CEO Kerrie LeRossignol says, “As the oldest independent Aboriginal educational institute, we develop cross-cultural leaders who can help everyone sustain the necessary spiritual, cultural and kinship relations with this land.”

Veronica Dobson AM will present the network of relationships that connect plants with creation, laws, language, land and people, as in her IAD Press book, Anpernirrentye:  Kin and Skin.  She is a renowned ecologist and linguist who authored IAD books Arelhe-Kenhe Merrethene: Arrernte traditional healing, the Eastern and Central Arrernte to English Dictionary, and scientific reports.

MK Turner OAM will explain the lessons plants teach us, and why we must treat plants with respect.  She is the author of the IAD books, Bush Foods:  Arrernte foods from Central Australia; Iwenhe Tyerrtye:  What it means to be an Aboriginal person, and Everything Comes from the Land.

bush tomato
The fruit of the bush tomato, Solanum chippendalei. The fruit can be dried and stored for months.

Peter Wallace and Sammy Cavenagh are respected senior Central and Eastern Arrernte Men, traditional owners and caretakers for the estate that includes Alice Springs.   They advise government and statutory bodies on all land use decisions.  They also actively teach students, in schools and out bush.

Curator Ian Coleman says, “We care for plants using the latest technology right alongside the proven principles of traditional Aboriginal knowledge. The Garden works closely with Aboriginal people and Peter Latz in bringing these together in the Garden”.

Peter Jobson, Senior Botanist at the Northern Territory Herbarium in Alice Springs will tell how Bushfire and Bushtucker “stimulated scientific research on native plants, their medicinal compounds, and effective desert land management” since its first edition in 1995.

Leave a Reply