Aunty Marilyne Nicholls: Watti Watti, Barrapa Barrapa, Dja Dja Wrung, Yorta Yorta and Ngarrindjeri
Image: Great CostelloContributors
These grasses Aunty Marilyne and her family have collected from the same place for many years - her family have visited and camped here for the past three generations.
This grass is a basket weaving grass that is used for various types of weaving patterns and twine for dilly bags. The grass is good to use as is available in certain seasons, its plentiful (if there is no sheep or cattle eating it). It has length and is continuous, and its strong – it will last years once woven into an article. It grows by a rhizome root system in most wetland areas along the Murray (Milloo) through to the salt water. It can self-seed meaning it is even more resilient. As such it is used by a lot of different language speaking Indigenous groups. It dies off and grows brown, or it can be harvested and stored for use later.
This knowledge of the harvest depends on the land and the waterways and the environmental system. These factors have changed now so people check regularly to see when the grass is growing and when it is useful. The material is picked with two hands from low down towards the root ensuring it is plucked as opposed to breaking further up the stem.