The culture and traditions of the Jawoyn people are intrinsically linked to the land – in the flora and fauna of the Nitmiluk region, in the passing of the seasons and the different eco-systems of the land. For thousands of years the Jawoyn people lived off the lands of the Nitmiluk region – a region rich in wildlife and native bush foods.
The Jawoyn people recognise 5 seasons in their annual calendar. Each season bringing its own array of bush foods. The Jawoyn seasons are – Jiyowk: January, February and into March. Pankarrang: March, April and into May. Malapparr: May, June, July and into August. Jungalk: August, September, October and into November. Kuran: November, December and into January.
A wide range of plants and animals were eaten by Jawoyn people. Insect foods included certain ants, grubs, moths and beetles, while streams provided fish and turtles. Birds included waterfowl, scrub fowl, the cassowary and the jabiru. Reptiles such as goannas, crocodiles and snakes and of course marsupials including kangaroos and wallabies. Plant foods included the fruit, nuts, seeds, stems, and fronds of different plants. Fruit included figs, lilly pillies, quandong, bush apples and plums. Nuts included those of the cycad, and pandanus, while the seeds of acacias and various grasses were ground between two stones to produce flour which was mixed with water, made into dough, shaped into small bread cakes and cooked.
WARNING: Many Australian native and introduced plants are poisonous and some are potentially deadly if eaten. Do not eat any bush food unless you have a proper knowledge of the plant, insect or animal you are about to eat.