Aborigines were limited to the range of food occuring naturally in their area, but they knew exactly when, where and how to find everything edible. But food was not obtained without effort. In some areas both men and women had to spend from half to thirds of each day hunting or foraging for food.

Inland, the quest for water was a life and death matter. Aborigines survived where others would perish. They knew where the water holes and soaks were in their area. They drained dew, and obtained water from certain trees and roots. They even dug up and squeezed out frogs, which store water in their bodies.

Within the clan grouping, all speaking the same language, or the same dialect, small bands of families carried out their daily living as a group. They moved around their clan country, from place to place, depending on the season and the availability of food. In coastal areas, and the more fertile parts of the continent, groups were relatively static, because food was readily obtainable, but in the desert areas vast tracts of land could support only a few people, and these had to travel long distances in their endless quest for food.

That necessity to be mobile meant that Aboriginals could afford only those possessions that were essential to their way of live. Many belongings were multipurpose - like the coolamon, a curved wooden dish, which was used to dig, to carry water or the baby, to toss seeds or collect the plant food gathered daily by the women.


Word Translation Word Translation
range das Angebot to occur vorkommen
edible essbar to obtain erhalten
effort die Anstrengung forage for food suchen nach Nahrung
quest die Suche matter die Sache
perish zu Grunde gehen to drain abschöpfen
dew der Tau certain bestimmt
to dig up ausfindig machen to squeeze out ausdrücken
daily täglich availability die Verfügbarkeit
coastal areas Küstenareale fertile fruchtbar
relatively static relativ seßhaft readily sofort
obtainable erhältlich vast tract riesiges Gebiet
necessity die Notwendigkeit to afford sich erlauben
possession Besitz essential to wesentlich für
belongings der Eigentum multiporpose mehrzwecksmäßig
curved gebogen dish die Schüssel
to dig graben to toss säen
seeds die Samen to gather anhäufen