Vicki Couzens - Women's Journey [detail] etching on paper

Bullarto N'yoweenth (plenty of sun)

For the Boon Wurrung, November through to February was the season of Bullarto N’yoweenth and the focus of activity moved towards the coast.

In the area we now call Bayside, the area around Ricketts Point was a gathering place – especially for the women and sometimes their visiting neighbours, the Woi Wurrung.

The water collected in rock wells, creeks and springs provided a ready source of fresh water for the season. The warm waters meant that abundant shellfish could be harvested.

Fish such as flathead and flounder were caught by both spear and nets in the shallow waters. Today the remains of these activities can be seen in the middens left behind – a record of thousands of years of annual visits to this area. The middens are like a time capsule, recording the activity of the people each year when layer after layer of shellfish and animal bones were laid on top of each other. This was also the season when the eels were plump and ready to be harvested.

During the summer months the eels would begin to travel down river and creeks. The shellfish and fish diet on the coast was supplemented by trips from the coast to areas such as Carrum swamps to catch these eels.

The Boon Wurrung women were responsible for collecting most of the food that sustained the people. This included cultivation of the yam daisy, the collection of fruits and berries, shellfish and coastal fish and small mammals such as possum.

The Boon Wurrung men provided the larger animals. In summer they travelled from the coast to the inland forest to hunt emu and kangaroo. The men travelled inland to nearby forests where the game congregated around creeks and smaller waterholes as the summer sun dried out the country.

Artwork: Women's Journey, etching on paper, by Vicki Couzens, Bayside City Council Art and Heritage Collection.

Page last updated: 10 Dec 2010