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Home of the Dunghutti people and country music legend Slim Dusty, this week the Koori Curriculum hit the road to Kempsey!

On our way into town we happened across the Slim Dusty Museum and decided to check it out. To say we were impressed would be an understatement! As we walked through the sliding door entrance we were greeted with an impressive acknowledgement of country.

During our visit to the Slim Dusty Museum we learnt about his relationship with the Peppimenarti people, the traditional custodians in the Daly River region of the Northern Territory. Joy Kirkpatrick, Slims Wife wrote the song Peppimenarti Cradle about the hand dyed woven basket, which was given to her to use for her daughter Anne by Regina Pilawuk Wilson of the Peppimentari community.

The Cradle of territory colours,
Red of the earth and the sand;
Purple of rock and of ridges,
Gold of the sun and the land.
scent of the dust and the river,
shade of the tamarind tree,

The cradle of Territory colours,
The cradle; my cradle,
The cradle of Peppimenarti.

Sony lyrics from Joy's Peppimenarti Cradle

Next stop for us was a quick visit to DNAAG Dunghutti-Ngaku Aboriginal Art Gallery housed in the annex of the Kempsey Visitor Information Centre. This quaint gallery specialises in the local Aboriginal Art of the Mid North Coast and showcases the diverse range of artworks of both established and emerging artists.

Whilst there I couldn't help but buy a pair of Georgina Simpson (Williams) hand made echidna spike earrings (see top picture). Georgina is 76 years old and lives in Walgett NSW. She is a descendant of the Gamilaraay people and the oldest of 11 children.

Before our day was done we had one last stop off at the Wigay Culture Park. This unique spot was a fantastic opportunity to connect with country and experience local Aboriginal culture. This hidden keeping place was bursting with bush tucker and medicine plants, "Wigay" I later learnt is the Dunghutti word for bush tucker.

By chance whilst I was at Wigay I found a huge Bunya Pine. The Bunya Pine cones shed their seeds which I've read can be eaten raw, boiled or baked. The Bunya pine has been reported as having a nutty or potato like taste. I've personally enjoyed them baked in a herb and garlic marinade and found them quite tasty.
Its also been said that the Bunya Nuts have been around since the Jurassic period and were once a food source for dinosaurs. It is known that Aboriginal people have feasted and enjoyed this traditional food for many thousands of years.

The next day I shared my foraged goodies with the educators and their children at Goodstart West Kempsey. The group had a good time gathering the nuts from the pine once it had been split open. Whilst our first cooking attempt failed it lead to further learning about the different species of Bunya and cooking methodologies needed.

We had a great time visiting Goodstart West Kempsey and learning about their Reconciliation journey. This service has a 40% enrolment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families who regularly share their culture and knowledge with the educators and children at the service. Some of the families have created a mural that features in the nursery outdoor learning space which reflects the native birds and plants found in the area. Relationships are definitely a strength at this service and at the core of everything they do.

Thanks for having us Goodstart West Kempsey!

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