Macquarie University
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Is there ethnographic evidence of Bunya Pine dispersal by Aboriginal people in eastern Australia.

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posted on 2024-04-11, 05:19 authored by Patrick John Cooke
Globally, the influence of Indigenous people on biodiversity is a growing area of interest, and the links between biological and cultural diversity are increasingly being understood, leading to global directives for biocultural conservation pursuits. This research explored the likelihood of Aboriginal dispersal of Bunya Pine on the east coast of Australia prior to and since European colonisation. The research combined first-hand interviews with Aboriginal knowledge holders with investigations of the historical literature to explore possible cultural links between the disjunct populations and cultural associations with the populations themselves. The project also navigated the complex array of biocultural protocols that were relevant to this research and guides other researchers on how they too can navigate this often complex space as both an “insider” and “outsider” of the cultural groups. The project crossed 19 Australian Aboriginal language groups and retraces the possible pre-colonial dispersal of Bunya Pine using ethnographic and historical knowledge. The focus of this thesis centred on field and desktop research of Bunya Pine and Chapter 2 presents original ethnographic research into the cultural associations of Aboriginal groups whose Country supported Bunya populations. Overall, this research provides clear evidence of the biocultural influence on vegetation patterns and highlights the importance of respecting Indigenous knowledge and protocols in ecological research.


Rediscovering Aboriginal dispersal pathways

Australian Research Council

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Table of Contents

Chapter 1. Applying biocultural research protocols in ecology: Insider and outsider experiences from Australia -- Chapter 2. Not all edible nuts are eaten: Evidence for continued Aboriginal cultural use and dispersal of Bunya Pine in southern but not in northern Queensland -- Thesis conclusion -- References -- Appendix 1 (Ethics Approval)


Thesis by publication

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis masters research


Master of Philosophy

Department, Centre or School

School of Natural Sciences

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Emilie-Jane Ens

Additional Supervisor 1

Hsing-Chung Chang


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69 pages

Former Identifiers

AMIS ID: 276890