As a spin-off from the amazing laboratory that SiteWorks was, you and Jim Wallis decided to propose a series of mini residencies here, where you will look at the botany of the site and indulge in the preparation and in depth research on various uses of a number of species living on the property.
Bundanon trust is an extensive conglomeration of 4 properties, Beweeree, Eerie Park, Riversdale and Bundanon itself, all together a bit over 1,000 hectares placed on a wide river’s bend of the Shoalhaven, about 3 hours drive south of Sydney.
An old settlement, important area for the local indigenous people, then occupied by loggers who harvested the priced Red Cedar, then establishing itself as prime farmland.
Nowadays the property is mostly a conservation area, historically important as one of the early colonial settlements, and as a remarkable example of native heath land and wood land ….
Here with Jim you will pull out the botanical histories of the place, from an ethnobotanical point of view, and through an archeobotanical path..mind thou you don’t rely on any pollen sampling, but rather assessment of what there is left and living.
The living plants drive your interest, remnants of pre-colonisation periods together with remnants of what it came after, through cultivation or stowaways which found their way to this side of the world.
We will be here for a series of short residencies at regular intervals, so that somewhat we could cover the seasons. This to allow for a wider range of harvesting/investigation.
The main drive here is to create a database of the species, native and not, via the traditional and not-so-traditional uses that the local population had for them.
We will record and try the uses, making step-by-step video recording, and preserving what is known.
We started by harvesting what Jim terms ‘Black bog sedge’, Schoenus melanostachys. We drove to this particular creek, and pulled at the fronds. If the plant was ready to be harvested the fronds would come out easily, if not they wouldn’t, and you needed to try another.
Anyway, day one: visit to Eerie Park to look for botanical remnant at the old homestead; harvesting of black bog sedge for future weaving; tasting and collecting of: wombat berries, wattle wax, bolwarra, clerodendrum and lantana berries, locating of bunya nuts, burrawang for processing and future eating and stringy bark tree for bark canoe making, and of course we came across mallow, plantain, wood sorrel, blackberries, thistles and..