The landscape, the land, we call it “narang”, is everything. It’s part of us and we’re part of it. All our information, if you track it back, always comes back from the land.

When you walk into a landscape, the landscape will tell you so much.

All you can see is little bubbles, or big bubbles, of activity and they’re all joined together.

[However]  we’re looking at little pieces through a microscope, when what we should be doing is studying the whole. When I’ve made a major discovery that’s joined a whole load of dots together, I’ve given myself a bubble bath.

Landscape and ecology are like a cluster of bubbles in a bubble bath. Each story has its own circle. As one bubble bursts all the others shift and re-cluster. It’s constantly changing. Each bubble, each circle reliant and in communication with the other. The bubble bursts and then all the other bubbles around it filled in the hole but when they did that they lost some of their color and they burst and then the ones outside filled in that hole. That’s our environment. You take away one little piece, it mightn’t even be an important piece or apparently important piece, if you take away one little piece it affects the whole environment, because pretty soon I’d have no more bubbles in my bubble bath. The whole thing that’s like our environment. It’s a bubble bath where all these little tiny compartments all fit together beautifully. All beautifully colored and then one breaks and its all gone.

The Aboriginal knowledge is based on observation and experience, and that’s scientific anyway. And the scientific knowledge, the present day modern science knowledge is of experimentation and measurement. You put the four together and you have a whole science and this is what I’m trying to get them to do.

The whole experience is boronia – the scent I have in my bath – sweet and peaceful – boronia is how I would like to be. It’s endemic here, this is where it grows. Boronia is up here. That’s the epitome. That’s what I want to be but it can never be.

My most favorite smell is the smell of the native frangipani, which incidentally happens to be my traditional tree, because when a female is born into our family, the native frangipani is always planted. The seed is always planted for them.  I’m native frangipani, that’s the internal me, my traditional plant.

The bubbles that burst is mushroom, the mycorrhiza that plants communicate through.


Boronia, native frangipani, mushroom


Auntie Frances Bodkin