The Wadandi people used natural indicators to determine the salmon season had arrived, relying on the cycle of flowering plants and natural patterns as opposed to the inexorable linear calendar.
“You know the salmon are here because you see flocks of white-tailed black cockatoos, we start getting the first rains, there are fruiting emu plums, and just a slight change in temperature of the water,” says Josh.
“Every couple of months, every second moon there is a plant that tells you what season it is. You see the plants change and the animals change, and the weather patterns change. Our calendar is our environment around us.”
Today, Josh shares this ancient knowledge through his Djiljit Fishing Experience, where guests are able to partner a contemporary fishing experience with traditional stories and culinary methods.
“I pick them up, take them out on country, share stories. We look for schools of salmon, herring and other local species,” Josh explains. “We fish with rods, but show them the traditional way, where we would make fishing spears from the wannang tree – Peppermint Tree – and then smoke the salmon with she-oak or banksia, any wood with a fair amount of oil and resin. They are wrapped and smoked in paperbark, or cut up in fillets and smoked on a rack.”
“You can also cook them fresh on hot coals, stuff them with sea celery, salt bush, and dune spinach. That way, you leave their scales on, so when they are placed on the fire and cooked on hot coals you can just pull the skin and the scales off and they are ready to eat.”