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Science7 Bush Tucker & Medicine: Home


Traditional Indigenous Australian peoples were hunters and gatherers. Men hunted mainly for larger animals, such as kangaroos, emus, birds, reptiles, and fish. Women and children hunted small animals and collected fruits, honey, insects, eggs, and plants. They took only the animals and plants that were needed, and nothing was wasted. Traditional Indigenous food was rich in nutrients and varied according to the seasons and location.

Indigenous Australians and the Environment. (2021). in Encyclopaedia Britannica,

AIATSIS. (n.d.). Australia: Bush Food [Image]. Encyclopaedia Britannica.


Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples used traditional medicines to treat such ailments as burns, snake bites, jellyfish stings, headaches, and eye infections. These treatments were referred to as “bush” medicine because all the ingredients used to make the ointments or remedies were gathered from the natural resources in the bush. Each clan used different medicines, depending on which plants and animals were available in their environment and in different seasons. Remedies included the use of wild herbs, bark and sap from trees, soil, animal products, and leaves. Knowledge of which plants or products treated particular conditions and how to prepare those remedies was part of the body of knowledge passed down through the oral tradition.

Indigenous Australians and the Environment. (2021). in Encyclopaedia Britannica,

Guido Amrein/Dreamstime. (n.d.). Australian Aboriginal Peoples [Image]. Encyclopaedia Britannica.


St Stephen's School acknowledges the contribution of

Mrs Maranne Purnell

the original creator of this guide.