Issue 5

Northern Exposure

"Australian Gourmet Wild Foods", "Arnhem Bush Tucker" and "Dining Under the Stars" were established in 1993 by Rob Cross and David Hudson.

This Northern Territory based firm has 3 separate enterprises; "Arnhem Bush Tucker" manufactures products from native Australian fruits, operates an innovative outdoor restaurant called "Dining Under the Stars" and also offers an exceptional catering service - "Australian Gourmet Wild Foods".

"Arnhem Bush Tucker" was established by Rob Cross and David Hudson to manufacture an ever-increasing range of bushfood products for wholesale and retail, including food service industry quantities and gift packs.

Some of the services offered include menu consultation, supply of required bushfoods, gift packaging (delivery to anywhere) and wild harvest of seasonal fruits. Some of the fruits collected on a large scale include Kakadu plum, Alawa tea and Rosella. The retail outlet operates at Darwin's popular Mindil Beach Sunset Markets where a variety of wild foods are freshly cooked and complemented by the preserve range.

"Dining Under the Stars" is an innovative outdoor restaurant offering mystery tours and dinner packages, particularly popular with conference groups. Dinner is usually enjoyed on Darwin's foreshore with a native cuisine menu and entertainment.

"Australian Gourmet Wild Foods" is a catering firm with a difference. All menus include at least one wild food ingredient. Rob and David believe this is essential for greater public knowledge of bushfoods, which can only be good for the industry as a whole.

If you'd like to know more about their product range - or if you're planning a trip north, contact Rob or David on:

08 8941 9930

Fax: 08 8941 9942

PO Box 39111

Winnelie NT 0821

Index: 5
From the Editor...
Peak National Body
Research & Development News
The Desert Raisin (Akadjura) - Solanum centrale
Purely Pepper (Tamannia spp) 
Three Bucket Garden
Black fella, white fella
The Good oil on Kurrajongs
CSIRO report - Acacia
Christmas in the bush
Bushfires and bushtucker
Northern Exposure
The bee that 'fishes' for pollen
Fruiting times (N NSW)
Common names
From the papers

Arnhem Bush Tucker

For Sale:

Kakadu Plum, Alawa Tea, Cheesefruit and Rosella or any wild food that is required (with sufficient notice.)

Our Product Range:

  • Rosella Jam 20g Kakadu Plum & Mango Dessert Sauce 20g
  • Rosella Jam 110g Kakadu Plum & Mango Dessert Sauce 275g
  • Kakadu Plum Jam 20g Native Tomato Chilli Sauce 20g
  • Kakadu Plum Jam 110g Native Tomato Chilli Sauce 275g
  • Rosella Chutney 20g Native Tomato Salsa 20g
  • Rosella Chutney 185g Native Tomato Salsa 275g
  • Native Tomato & Alawa Tea 30g
  • Mango Chutney 20g Gift Packs (4x20g)
  • Rosella Chilli Sauce 20g Damper premix
  • Rosella Chilli Sauce 275g

"Australian Gourmet Wild Foods", "Arnhem Bush Tucker" and "Dining Under the Stars"

PO Box 39111, Winnellie, NT 0821. Ph: 088 941 9930. Fax: 088 941 9942

The Bee That Goes `Fishing' for Pollen

Second in our series on native bees.

Reprinted with the kind permission of Aussie Bee magazine

An Australian solitary bee has found a novel and effective way to fish pollen from the narrow blooms of the geebung bush.

In the yellowy flowers of the geebung bush (Persoonia in the family Proteaceae), the anthers holding the pollen are tightly edged in between the outside lobes of the flower and the central style. Furthermore, the flower's nectar is secreted deep down at the bottom of the bloom. So these flowers present some challenges to the insects which wish to forage from them!

Peter Bernhardt of St Louis University, USA and Peter Weston of the National Herbarium, Sydney, in a recent study of the pollination of 20 species of Persoonia (published in Telopea, 1996), found that bees were the main pollinators. Of 531 insects recorded on the flowers, 99% were bees and 44% were solitary bees from the genus Leioproctus (Cladocerapis).

The five outer lobes or tepals of the flower have hinged bases. To be an effective pollinator, the bee has to be heavy enough to bend back a tepal and reach inside for the pollen. The bee also has to be long enough to touch the waiting female stigma high above the centre of the bloom and transfer pollen to it. However, size alone is not enough. Actually getting the pollen out of the flower in reasonable quantities requires a special trick.

The clever feat was first observed by Norman Rodd of Lane Cove in Sydney in the 1940s and Norman's observation was reported in a publication in 1950 by Tarlton Rayment. When the solitary bee, Leioproctus visits a Persoonia flower, its weight bends back a tepal, allowing it to reach inside. First it sips some of the abundant nectar at the base of the flower (see Tarlton Rayment's diagram above).

The Leioproctus has an unusually polished face which helps it slip its head down into the flower to sip the nectar.

The bee `that goes fishing for pollen' inserts the tiny claws of its feet into special grooves in one of the pollen bearing anthers and uses its claws to rake a `handful' of pollen up out of the anther. This pollen is then passed back to special pollen carrying hairs on the bee's back legs and abdomen, to be carried back to the bee's nest.

However, while it is busy raking up pollen, the bee's abdomen brushes some of this precious pollen onto the female stigma of the flower, thereby pollinating the bloom. Tarlton Rayment described a large colony of Leioproctus bees in Narrabeen, NSW in the 1940's.

This colony had been reported to Tarlton by an enthusiastic eight year old named Phillip Coleman and Tarlton asked Norman Rodd to investigate it. Norman said there about 1000 individual solitary nests of Leioproctus in a big cluster in Phillip Coleman's garden. The nests were little burrows going down into the soil. The mouth of each burrow was surrounded by a little `volcano' of reddish sol removed from the burrow.

So - the main pollinator of the Geebung bush (Persoonia) is a ground nesting bee which was found in the suburbs of Sydney more than fifty years ago. I wonder how many colonies of this pollinator survive today in the manicured lawns of Sydney?

Northern N.S.W. Rainforest Plant Fruiting Times

From the 'Net - John Nagle

Acmena ingens May-Sep.

Acmena hemilampra May - Aug.

Acronychia oblongifolia May - Nov.

Acmena smithii Apr - Jul


Acronychia wilcoxiana Mar - May

Alectryon coriaceus Mar - July.


Alectryon tomentosus Feb - Aug.

Alphitonia excelsa Oct - May


Alphitonia petriei Feb - July.

Austromyrtus bidwillii Jan - May.


Austromyrtus dulcis March - Jun.

Austromyrtus hillii Jan - May.


Austromytus lasioclada May - Nov.

Brachychiton acerifolius Feb. - Aug.


Brachychiton discolor Dec. - Jul.

Castanospermum australe May - Jun.


Cinnamomum oliveri Feb. - Apr.

Cordyline rubra Sum/aut.


Cryptocarya glaucesens Mar - Jun.

Cryptocarya laevigata Jan. - May.


Cryptocarya microneura Dec. - Jul.

Cryptocarya obovata Mar - May.


Cryptocarya triplinervis Feb. - May.

Cryptocarya ridgida Jan - May


Elaeocarpus obovatus Jan. - Apr.

Euodia micrococca Jan - Jun


Eupomatia laurina Apr - Jun.

Ficus coronata Jan - Jun


Ficus fraseri May - Feb.

Ficus macrophylla Feb - May.


Ficus obliqua April - June.

Ficus superba Jan. - July


Ficus watkinsiana Sep. - Apri.

Gmelina liechhardtii Feb. - May


Hymenosporum flavum Dec. - Apri.

Mallotus claoxyloides Feb. - Jun.


Planchonella chartacea Mar - Jul.

Polyscias elegans Mar - Jul


Polyscias murrayi Apri - Jun.

Syzygium australe Dec - May


Syzygium crebrinerve Jan. - April.

Syzygium francisii Jan. - April.


Syzygium moorei Mar - May.

Syzygium oleosum Mar - Aug.


Syzygium paniculatum Mar - May.


Waterhousea floribunda Jan. - Apr


Common Names

John King "Bush Cuisine"

We have a unique resource in our plant foods and, if we want to develop it to its full potential, we should stress the uniqueness of the product. If our industry is to mature and build upon the wild food image, I believe it is time to standardise the naming of our wild produce. We need to break away from the European naming systems or comparisons, such as plums, grapes or apples. At the same time we could pay tribute to the many, many generations of Koori-Murri people who did the research and development of these plant products. It would also be another avenue for Koori-Murri involvement in the bushfood industry.

When we look at names like Quandong or Midyim, we have a precedence for this move. Using the Illiwara plum as an example; there is nothing less like a plum than this fruit. In Queensland, we have Gidneywallum of the Gubbi Gubbi people and Daalgaal of the Barron River people. They are names that are as different as the fruit and both seem to roll off the tongue. Would not Bar'pul nut, or even its Anglicised form Bopple nut have been better than Macadamia nut? We need to move now before we lose the chance to change them, again. Perhaps should I list a few examples. b_myrt

  • Acacia aualacocarpa - Dam'ar

  • Acacia concurrens - Kagarkal

  • Acacia leiocalyx - Bururo

  • Backhousia myrtifolia - Wom-bai

  • Citrobatus pauciflorus - Darum

  • Dendrocnide species - Gimpi gimpi

  • Discoria transversa - Tarm - ta-am

  • Elaeocarpus grandis - Moorum

  • Ficus species - Ga'bura Bi mer Gulbu Bymer Njel-njel Gurai

  • Ngoa-nga Kunnen Nyu'ta

  • Lomandra longifolia - Dilli

  • Maclura cochinchinensis - Barra

  • Microcitrus australis - Tar'um

  • Nymphaea gigantea - Mag'um Mu'yum Jalamala burarum

  • Persoonia species - Dulandella Tarpoon Nanchee Booral

  • Geebung Koom-barra

This is only a short, quickly borrowed list. I find a poet's fascination in the rolling lilt of the Aboriginal words. There were so many individual languages that we have many choices. I would hope that the Koori-Murri linguists would be willing to be involved with the true naming of their bushfoods. A lot of the original names would have been lost with the loss of the people. As many of our plants have small geographical ranges, they would have tribe specific names that have been lost. What more fitting tribute to the true pioneers of our industry than for us to start using more fragments of their languages in ours.

John King           

References: Bailey, Queensland Flora,1899-1902

Bailey, Comprehensive List of Queensland Plants, 1913

Symons, P. and S., Bush Heritage



Highlights of Nindethans's 60 page + seed catalogue:

7 1/2 pages of Acacia spp Alphitonia spp (2)

Austromyrtus dulcis (9) Brachychiton spp (9)

Caesalpinia major Capparis mitchelli

Cissus antartica and hypoglauca

Hibiscus spp (4)

Lomandra spp (4)

Pleiogynium timorense Portulaca spp (5)

Santalum spp (12)

Solanum spp (11)

Nindethana Seed Service

Ph: 098 443 533        Fax: 098 443 573    or write to them:

PO Box 2121, Albany, WA 6330



Bushfoods and Natives in Permaculture Course in Nimbin

On April 20-25th, the Permaculture Education Centre in Nimbin will hold a six day intensive course which looks at creative ways to integrate native plants into permaculture design and the potential for bushfood production in sustainable agriculture.

The course will cover integrating native plants for medicine, essential oils, crafts, plants, fuel, fibre, habitat, yield and function; balancing and integrating natives and exotics; co-existing and interacting with the bush; a study of Bundjalung traditional systems; genetic selection, propagating, growing, harvesting and preparing bush foods and spices.

Well known bushfoodie Peter Hardwick is the tutor for this exciting course.

Further details:

Permaculture Education Centre

PO Box 379

Nimbin NSW 2480

Ph: 02 6689 1755


New Year's Eve Co-Existence Party

In what has been a continuing effort to make reconciliation a reality rather than just a set of words, Rod Short of Flamin'Bull Bush Tucker Restaurant held a New Year's Eve Co-existence party at his restaurant inWarrugal, Victoria. As the invitation said, `Show your support for the process of Reconciliation Join us to celebrate the harmonious co-existance of Australia's Indigenous and non-indigenous people. Experience Indigenous Culture through: Music, Dance, Dreamtime stories and Bush tucker.'

The evening showcased indigenous and non indigenous artists in an exciting blend of talent. Former World Lightweight Boxing Title holder LIONAL ROSE was there and the evening was hosted by Rodney Short. The Master of Ceremonies was Gene Blow.

Perhaps you'll be down that way next New Years - or before?

Flamin'Bull Bush Tucker Restaurant,

9-11 Mason St, Warrugal.

PO Box 792, Warrugal, Vic 3820. Phone: (03) 5623 2377

Scholarship Leads to Bushfood Research

Matthew King has been granted a 3 year post graduate scholarship from the University of Queensland in conjunction with the School of Natural and Rural Systems Management in order to continue his work with the Wanggamura Aboriginal Community.

Matthew began work with the Wanggumara in 1996 in order to help the community record their cultural histories. During 1997, he made two field trips to the Cooper region (south west Queensland), recording the plant use knowledge of two prominent Wanggumara people.

The results of this research are being collated into a resource book which will remain the property of the Wanggumara people. In 1997 he completed his major thesis which drew on this plant use knowledge, investigating the potential for Aboriginal Traditional Ecological knowledge (TEK) to inform and compliment present day reserve selection processes (for National Parks, etc).

During his three year scholarship, Matthew proposes to identify an appropriate model of community development for the Wanggumara community and to initiate an action learning program with the Wanggumara people related to adoption of the model.

The study will investigate, amongst other things, Aboriginal involvement in the bushfood industry, wild harvesting viability, market research and areas of possible networking between this community and industry groups.

Matthew is keen to hear from people interested in the project and able to offer any valuable experiences or open networking doors.

You can contact him on

07 54601 615 or fax 07 54601 324

Call For Manuscripts

Bushfoods magazine is publishing a series of monographs for the bushfood sector. Three have been planned to date: Syzygium spp, a Bushfood Atlas and Backyard Bushfoods. If you have an unpublished manuscript or feel you could write a 40-100 page document, please contact the magazine on:

Ph: 07 5494 3812. Fax: 07 5494 3506


From the Papers...

A round-up of headlines from newspapers around the country... Thanks to Julie Thiele of Bush Tucker Supply Australia P/L for most of the following...

Bushfood suppliers go wild for cultured tucker

(the Australian Dec 22nd, p21) Bush Tucker Supply Australia P/L promoting bushfoods to the world).

Bush tucker park has export potential

(Milne's Pork Journal, Sept 97, p9) BTSAust and Pork Corp promote bushfoods with Pork).

Bound to sell well - a `sexier' kangaroo

(Sydney Morning Herald, Sept 9th, p3) BTSAust promoting a positive image for kangaroo.

Gone Bush

(TNT Australia Magazine, Sept 97, p21) Promoting the way bushfoods have developed into mainstream products).

Sainsbury's Interested in Australian Tucker

(The Aust Fin Review, Sept 24, p26) Successful BTSAust presentation to UK retail supermarkets chain).

Taming Wild Tucker

(The Australian, Jan 20 98, p 6)

University of Technology, Sydney, trials hydroponically grown bushfoods.

Tuck in Down Under

(Inter-Continental Traveller Magazine, Issue 3, 1997, p20) BTSAust encouraging bushfood awareness to international travellers).


Do you want to learn more about our beautiful Australian flora? Join the Australian Plants Society.

For membership enquiries:

Mrs Cherree Densley

9390 Princes Highway, Killarney, VIC 3282

Ph: 03 5568 7226


Padburys Alpine Bushfoods:

suppliers of Mountain pepper leaf,

Alpine pepper leaf and a range of other alpine and sub-alpine native bushfoods from the high country of Victoria. Plants also supplied.

Ph: 03 5775 1424 or 03 5775 1018

South Coast Flora

146 Dignam's Creek Rd,

Via Cobargo NSW 2550

Have a range of species suitable for temperate/cool climates, including:

  • Illawarra plum,
  • Mountain pepper,
  • Cool climate
  • Syzygium spp,
  • native herbs,
  • tea species...

Phone: 064 936 747

Tasmanian Garden Design   

Bushfood horticulture consultant and specialist grower of Tasmanian Native Plants.

Kris Schaffer

Dip. Art, Cert. Hort, M.A.I.H

Ph/Fax: 03 62391 575

Mobile: 041958 7139


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