School Holidays End with Tea Gardens Cultural Fishing Event

Local experts helped the kids get fishin’ on the Myall River.

SOMETHING fishy happened on the shores of ANZAC Park at Tea Gardens, on Sunday, 7 October, the last day of the spring school holidays.

Several kids and their families, locals and visitors, descended on the sandy banks of the Myall River to plumb the briny depths of the estuary, facilitated by the Hawks Nest Tea Gardens Progress Association, and using rods and reels funded by NSW Department of Primary Industries.

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The Tea Gardens Hawks Nest Aboriginal Reference Group led the event, injecting a dose of cultural awareness to go with the beautiful October morning.

“Worimi people have strong and unbroken connections to the Myall Bila (River) that flows and winds through Worimi Barray (Country) of Tea Gardens and Hawks Nest,” Aunty Dr Liz McEntyre told NOTA.

“The Gone Fishing Day event was an opportunity for Worimi People to hand down their knowledge and expertise with younger generations relating to fishing, as well as helpful ways to care for and protect the river system’s environment to ensure there is an abundance of fish and other fare available for future generations.

“It is well known that women were better at fishing, and Aunty Fran’s story about her Grandmother being a skilled fisherwoman who provided ample fish to feed the family certainly confirmed what we know.”

“The river mullet has been a staple, dependable food resource, sustaining and linking every community down the coast from Queensland,” Auntie Fran explained.

Fishing was, understandably, a fundamental lifestyle for coastal Aboriginal peoples, allowing Auntie Fran’s grandmother to provide for seven children.

NSW DPI’s Recreational Fisheries gifted the Elders with 20 fishing packages containing Intrepid 2 fishing rods and reels, squidgies and soft-bait packs.

Visitors hailed from Karuah, Maitland and Nelson Bay, and, while the catch of the day was not quite what the anglers had hoped, most likely due to tides and holiday river-traffic, a Wubaray (black dolphin) visit delighted many.

By Thomas O’KEEFE

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