Canoes were regularly used by our people o travel along the waterways. They were fairy easy to make and could be done so in a short time. We would make canoes from the old River Red Gums that were along the river and use a stone axe was used to cut out the shape in the bark. We would strip the bark off the gum fairly quickly – to strip a length of bark six, seven feet long, would only take five or ten minutes. We then dry and shape the bark over a fire.
Fishing traps were used in rivers, lakes and tidal marine locations. There were different types of traps, some were circular and extended from the shoreline while others ran straight across rivers and streams. They can be made using stones, branches, sticks, reeds and clay.
Fishing spears were one of the many tools we used when we hunted for fish and other sea creatures. They could be made of stone, wood and reeds by the men who would stand waist deep in water with a spear while the other man stood at a higher point looking for fish.
Artist Deanne Gilson is a proud Wadawurrung woman from Ballarat in Victoria who uses the area’s ochre in her art and in doing so, shares an ancient link to the practices of her ancestors. As we celebrate NAIDOC 2021 week across the ABC, we’re exploring the theme of Heal Country.