Artwork paired with a symposium at the Ecological Society of Australia conference 2015
Artist: Gerry Turpin
Symposium 12: Sustaining and Protecting Indigenous Ecological Knowledge
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.