I’m gradually putting together a list of super-camps spread across the Murrumanaarr landscape. These camps are quite extensive and contain all the prerequisites for a comfortable life. The first priority is obviously water and the super camps have this above and below ground. Good billabongs are required to hold surface water and I think these holes have been “enhanced” to increase their capacity. Underground water is also available beneath the paleo channel sandhills in all but one of these camps. I know this because remnant redgums or oversized eucalypts & scrub trees flourish there. As you know redgums live on riverbanks or floodplains and our 17 ” rainfall on the flats will not sustain them without available groundwater.
The next factor is food, and protein comes in the form of the bigger mammals such as wallabies & emus & possums that also need to drink and can be trapped or speared. Large birds such as brolgas & bush turkey are now back in considerable numbers and would have been even more abundant pre 1788. The super camps also contain all the bush tucker varieties of fruit as well as yam vines (Marsdenia viridiflora), grass seeds & native bulbs like the Darling & Wilcannia lilies (Crinum flaccidum & Calostemma). Other edible plants commonly found near the super-camps are crowsfoot, pigweed and warrigal greens as well as Wild tobacco (Nicotiana sauveolens) which was smoked or chewed.
Chimera camps are super camps that have one or more mature scrub trees growing in old boxtrees – TinTs, which I might start calling Chimera. In mythology a Chimera is a lion goat and snake combo but has come to mean something made up of parts of things that are different from each other – a cobbled together thing. To create boxtree chimeras you would need plenty of time and knowledge. Time is a given & this lore may have formed part of the clan’s hereditary store of botanical accomplishments. The know how for growing trees in other trees could also be part of a Murrumanaarr woman’s dowry of skills she brought with her when marrying into another clan. This may explain the existence of Chimera on Wailwun land and elsewhere?
The amazing avenue of 8 possibly 9 Chimera leading up to the big billabong & redgum wells is a living museum of irreplaceable cultural significance. It is approx. 300 km from first to last Tree in Tree although a couple of the guests are dead as well as a host. All the guests are of different species (Quinine, Peach bush, Wild Orange, Rosewood X 2, Wilga & 2 high up unknown guests) I’m awaiting the arrival of botanist/ecologist Jennifer Silcock to identify these 2 guests in adjoining “penthouse” suites. When I showed Allan Tighe ‘Chimera Chase’ last month it brought the grand total of Australian visitors to 2 – me and him. Sometimes you just have to wait for the world to catch up.