Bittangabee Tribe : An Aboriginal Story from Coastal New South Wales
Rebecca Kirby, Liddy Stewart, Steven Thomas
Jana Austin, Year 2 students, Eden Public School
Aboriginal Studies Press, 2009
5-8yrs, Lower Primary, Primary, Upper Primary
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- Art motifs
- Bittangabee Bay (NSW Far S Coast SJ55-08)
- Bush tucker
- Children as artists
- Hunting and gathering
- New South Wales South Coast (NSW S Coast S156, SJ55)
- Social life and customs
- Yuin people (S67) (NSW SI56-13)
‘Bittangabee Tribe’ reveals the social life and customs of a family, comprised of the father, Ninima, a ‘great warrior’, his wife, Mina, and their two sons, Murrah and Walla, and their daughter, Kiah. Details of their food abound with abalone, oysters, crabs and lobsters which are taken from the sea. In the mountains the family feasts on bogong moths and kangaroos while meeting up with people from many different places. There the men would trade weapons and tools while sharing stories, songs and dances. Women would trade their baskets, tools, possum skins, and also share songs and dances. At the big corroborees the men danced and the women sang while playing the clapsticks and possum-skin drums.
Many details are included about the parents sharing their skiils with their children, such as making paintings of their stories. Summer was a happy time with feasts on moths, kangaroos, nuts and berries. Then when a certain white flower appeared in the forests, the family knew it was time to return to the coast, stopping at their favourite camping places along the way. Within the month, they would arrive at Bittangabee, their home by the sea.
This story of family life includes many direct statements about their way of life, such as catching only enough food for a meal. The story ends with the father’s statement of cultural significance. He knew the ‘sea and the land would look after his family and his children’s family. They would always look after his people.’ The close and respectful relationship within the Aboriginal family and their way of life is told in a factual and warm way. The coloured illustrations by children reflect a youthful perspective on life with special attention given to the creatures of the land, features of the landscape and life activities. The text opposite features small creatures like fish, crabs and lobsters in black line and occasional colour. The page layout of illustration and text invites the viewer to look closely as details of daily life are revealed.
The story was written by Aboriginal students at the Eden campus of the Bega College of Technical and Further Education and illustrated by children in second class.
- Teachers’ Notes: Bittangabee Tribe https://aiatsis.gov.au/sites/default/files/research_pub/bittangabee-tribe-teachers.pdf
- Bittangabee Bay https://placeandsee.com/wiki/bittangabee-bay
- National Film and Sound Archives. Trade Routes. National / Year 9 & 10 / Australian History -Indigenous Studies https://dl.nfsa.gov.au/module/1567/
- Aboriginal Culture. Traditional Aboriginal Bush Foods https://www.aboriginalculture.com.au/bush_foods.html