Podcast: Aunty Fran Bodkin and Uncle Bruce Pascoe in Conversation

This podcast features agriculturist and researcher Uncle Bruce Pascoe in conversation with botanist Aunty Fran Bodkin: meeting for the first time here at Waraburra Nura to exchange ideas on different environmental issues and share their wealth of Indigenous Knowledges. The questions in this series have been developed by a variety of UTS academics and professionals working in the fields of horticulture, food production, sustainability and climate research. They were recorded and produced by Yaegl filmmaker and Industry Associate Professor, JIIER, Pauline Clague and sound artist Missi Mel Pesa, with funding from the James N. Kirby Foundation.

In the following episodes, Aunty Fran and Uncle Bruce chat about plants, Indigenous Knowledges, seasons, and how to achieve our goals of sustainability by introducing Indigenous plants back into in our backyards.

Episode Summaries

Episode 1: In the first episode of this series, we run into Aunty Fran looking in on the growth of the plants at Waraburra Nura.

Episode 2: In this episode, Aunty Fran gives us an overview of all the different trees she’s planted throughout schools in Sydney, while Uncle Bruce Pascoe talks about different methods of harvest for Aboriginal communities exploring how to commercialise their own produce. Uncle Bruce also tells us a little bit about what he’s doing to preserve Aboriginal grasses.

Episode 3: Uncle Bruce and Aunty Fran talk about Indigenous Knowledge on seasons. Depending on the country, the seasons are often read by plants, shifts in weather and animals. There are also larger cycles that are years longer that relate to floods and droughts.

Episode 4: Uncle Bruce and Aunty Fran share their knowledge on cultural burns. For a lot of communities, burnings or fire practice serves multiple purposes: to prevent hot burns, to protect animals and flora, as a means of kickstarting germination, as well as to encourage new cycles of regrowth.

Episode 5: We catch up with Uncle Bruce Pascoe, who believes we can and should all carry forward a part of Aboriginal Lore. He talks about bringing back traditional practices and methods of growing Aboriginal plants, and how to crop several plants together but harvest them separately. He also talks about our responsibility to our children, and how we can ensure the recognition of Australian plants and their values for future generations.

Episode 6: Aunty Fran Bodkin voices her concern that Aboriginal medicines are being stolen or sold out by other Aboriginal peoples. She recalls a time when she gathered Aboriginal medicinal plants with her mother and grandmother on the Cooks River, Marrickville and Kurnell in Sydney’s South.

Episode 7: We ask Aunty Fran and Uncle Bruce what key issues are facing our countries and our land today and into the future.

Episode 8: In the final episode of our podcast, we talk to Uncle Bruce and Aunty Fran about what you, our listeners, can do. You may want to turn your garden into a native oasis, but don’t know where to start. We thought we would get them to talk simple changes you can make in your own backyard.

Bonus Episode: In one of the earlier series Aunty Fran and Uncle Bruce talked to us about seasons. Aunty Fran gave us the full detail of the 6 seasons of the Sydney basin and we thought we would share it with you as a special bonus.