Gerry Turpin: Gerry Turpin with a grass tree (Xanthorrhoea sp.) at Emerald Range; Hibiscus (Hibiscus heterophyllus); Kapok (Cochlospermum gillivraei)

12. Gerry Turpin (1)
Gerry Turpin with a grass tree (Xanthorrhoea sp.) at Emerald Range
12. Gerry Turpin - Hibiscus
Hibiscus (Hibiscus heterophyllus)
12. Gerry Turpin Kapok
Kapok (Cochlospermum gillivraei)

Artwork paired with a symposium at the Ecological Society of Australia conference 2015

Artist: Gerry Turpin

Symposium 12: Sustaining and Protecting Indigenous Ecological Knowledge

Media: Photographs.


Ethnobotany is the study of cultural plant use and perception of plants. Indigenous Australians have used plants for food, medicine, tools, utensils, weapons, etc. for thousands of years. However, since the arrival of Europeans, a lot of traditional plant use knowledge has been lost. Based in Cairns, the Tropical Indigenous Ethnobotany Centre (TIEC) aims to record, document and research cultural plant use knowledge. The TIEC was developed in partnership between the Australian Tropical Herbarium, Traditional Owners, the Queensland Government, CSIRO and the Cairns Institute.

Gerry Turpin, Mbabaram Elder and ethnobotanist, leads the TIEC. He is pictured here with Xanthorrhoea from Emerald Range, with Walkamin (Atherton Tablelands) behind him. Grasstrees are used for spears, bush tucker and resin, and the kapok (Cochlospermum gillivraei) is a calendar plant.

Click here for an overview of symposium artwork at ESA 2015