We acknowledge the tradition of custodianship and law of the Country on which the University of Sydney campuses stand. We pay our respects to those who have cared and continue to care for Country.


The following videos are from series 1 of ‘Plants, People, Place’. The videos are excerpts from the Grasslands for Grains Knowledge Sharing session (Dec, 2020). Discussions are led by Dr Angela Pattison at The University of Sydney.  These videos introduce Aunty Beryl van Oploo, Aunty Berndatte Duncan and Aunty Rhonda Ashby. The words of these three Aunties highlight the importance of plants in culture and on Country.

Excerpts are used with permission and designed for use for University of Sydney science units of study. Video edits: R. Basckin & R. Quinnell

Aunty Beryl van Oploo:


Aunty Beryl works with the National Centre of Indigenous Excellence in Redfern, Sydney.

For more information, check out:

Aunty Beryl’s Recipes – https://ncie.org.au/aunty-beryl-recipes/


Aunty Bernadette Duncan:


The Garragal Project bridges the gaps between traditional and western science knowledge for plants and animals to support the health, wellbeing, and empowerment of Kamilaroi women. This created opportunities for reconnection to traditional language and cultural knowledge through physical, spiritual, and environmental practices with plants and animals on country.

This project was designed to reconnect and engage Kamilaroi women with their language and cultural knowledge. The practical experience of linking western science names and knowledge for plants and animals to language names and traditional science opened a safe space for women to rediscover and share their personal and ancestral knowledge about these plants and animals. Aunty Bernadette talks about yuurra tea here.

Women’s language and culture networks, based in Walgett and Boggabilla, NSW, were created and involved Kamilaroi women interested in the use, promotion, development, and protection of their languages and cultural knowledge. Information about each plant and animal was collected through the network and included names in the Kamilaroi languages: Yuwaalaraay, Yuwaalayaay, and Gamilaraay/Gamilaroi/Kamilaroi, and ecological knowledge about its purpose, relationships, and character.

Information deemed suitable for publication was included in the Atlas of Living Australia (ALA), Australia’s free national biodiversity database. The ALA now includes Kamilaroi knowledge for more than 300 species, and for the first time directly links Kamilaroi and western science knowledge on a free and high-profile public forum.

This project is on-going and, to-date, it has proved the catalyst for change in women’s well-being. They are more motivated and committed to share and progress their language and culture through investigating plants and animals.

For more information:

Aunty Rhonda Ashby:

Since graduating from the University of Sydney, Aunty Rhonda has assisted in creating teaching programs and resources for communities, schools, TAFEs and universities, and have taught and supported programs to educate students on Aboriginal language and culture.

Please note you are encouraged to return to these videos and to read more information about the Grasslands For Grains Project at https://www.sydney.edu.au/science/our-research/research-areas/life-and-environmental-sciences/indigenous-grasslands-grain.html



Learn more about the Grasslands for Grains project: