Bush tucker garden inspires St Peter’s Primary students

07 June 2022

St Peter’s Primary School has created a ‘bush tucker garden’ as part of its commitment to indigenous education.

The brainchild of teachers Victoria May and Marlie Corble Robson, the new garden featuring edible native plants was opened at the Inglewood school as part of National Reconciliation Week last week.

Inspired by generations of indigenous Australians who have grazed on native flora thousands of years, the St Peter’s bush tucker garden features native plants with edible fruits, leaves and seeds, which can be incorporated into traditional food and natural remedies.

“Together we stand on land which has been cared for by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples for hundreds of years. This year we decided to have the whole school of more than 750 students participate in a Caring for Country initiative,” Miss Corble Robson said.

“This National Sorry Day and National Reconciliation Week, we wanted all students at St Peter’s Primary School to build a personal sense of responsibility for respecting and caring for the country and place around them.”

“This National Sorry Day and National Reconciliation Week, we wanted all students at St Peter’s Primary School to build a personal sense of responsibility for respecting and caring for the country and place around them.”

Marlie Corble Robson, teacher St Peter’s Primary School

As part of National Reconciliation Week celebrations, each class was provided with a bush tucker plant to plant in the garden. The selection includes an array of native species including Raspberry Jam Wattle, Warrigal Greens, Muntries, Karkalla and Oldman Salt Bush.

Students then participated in a competition to design a stepping stone to represent National Sorry Week, National Reconciliation Week or Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ histories and cultures. A winner from each class will paint their design on a stepping stone for the garden.

Ms May said the Caring for Country initiative had allowed students to build on their awareness and appreciation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander contributions to sustainable land management as well as engaging with local knowledge about bush foods, medicines, histories, and native plants.

“We wanted to teach the children more about Aboriginal education, the culture, bush tucker and how some of these plants have been used as remedies and medicines for many, many years,” she said.

“The company we purchased the plants from is called Tucker Bush and they have on their website different remedies you can use plants for and different recipes as well.

“So we have put QR codes on the information in front of each plant so students can scan the code and read about the plants. We’ve had them take out their iPads (to the garden) so they can read about what the plant is for, what it will look like when it’s completely grown, recipes it can be used for and if there any natural remedies it can be used to make.”

Ms May said the idea for a bush tucker garden was first floated in 2021 but was put on hold until the start of this year due to COVID-19 restrictions.

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