SLCG wants to use now less familiar edible native plant species to re-introduce today’s residents to the traditional uses of our site as a regionally important place for gatherings, ceremonies, celebrations, healing, hunting and harvesting for indigenous people from all over what is now South East Queensland and Northern New South Wales. So much of that history is now largely unknown to modern Australian (and St Lucian) culture, and we hope that every bit of added knowledge will lead to more understanding and appreciation. A particular focus for “New Shoots From Old Roots” is the long social significance of our site as a place for people of all ages, origins and abilities to meet, socialize, exchange ideas and enjoy the bounty of nature. Which is very close to what the current Community Garden was set up to do in 2021.

Indigenous people in Brisbane are part of a far wider society that extended north and south along the coastal plains and inland to the Great Dividing Range. Social organisation involved multiple tribal or language groups, each subdivided into local clans in charge of ‘principalities’ or estates. The map (below) shows some of those language and skin groups in our immediate area of St Lucia.

Courtesy the University of Queensland

Aboriginal people walked ancestral pathways spanning the region, gathering to trade, find a partner, hunt on a grand scale, feast, conduct ceremonies and resolve disputes. This site is one of those gathering places. The current Swan Road and Hawken Drive follow the ridge line route of one important pathway, linking Indooroopilly to St Lucia and beyond, across the river. Another pathway ran beside Sandy Creek to connect the Tarcoola river crossing site with the healing camp at Dharra-Nga (Taringa).

What is now the 4th tee of the St Lucia Golf Links was once a year-round flood-free camp, a place to organise the cross river canoe traffic at Tarcoola from, as well as the seasonal hunting and fishing gatherings that drew people from as far away as Toowoomba to Moreton Bay, Coolum to Murwillumbah. 

“New Shoots from Old Roots”: the SLCG Indigenous Garden

You can lean more about the 40 or so species we are now home to (so far) here, or by snapping the QR Code next to the plants themselves.

The SLCG Indigenous Garden is proudly supported by the Brisbane City Council through The Lord Mayor’s Cultivating Community Gardens Grants scheme, specifically to “Increase the cultivatable area and species diversity of the St Lucia Community Garden and provide a structured opportunity to learn more about the site’s rich cultural and food history”.

Maiwar MP Michael Berkman and the SLCG itself both substantially topped up the initial budget during late 2022 to deal with the project’s rapidly rising costs.

For enquiries about the Indigenous Garden or to become a CG Member write to: stluciacommunitygarden@gmail.com