Australia's First People

Economy in a Riverine Environment
Summer and Autumn

Families were now able to camp closer to the river as the flood plain dried up.

Gathering and hunting: lerp, kangaroos, wallabies and emus. Gathering and hunting: plants, fish, shellfish, birds, possums, snakes and lizards  

The Riverine
In the Winter, Spring and early Summer people established their base camp on the edge of the flood plan.  Fish, shellfish, birds, bird's eggs, crayfish were obtainable from the river environment. In the Summer and Autumn people were able to camp next to rivers and creeks.  They were able to collect vegetables and fruit from the flood plain as well as fish and shellfish from the rivers.


  1. Nets. A hoop net approximately two metres long was used to catch crayfish while seine nets approximately one hundred metres long and two metres wide were used to catch fish.
  2. Poison. Clumps of eucalyptus leaves were used to poison water pools. The stunned fish floated to the surface to where they were collected.
  3. Canoes. The light from a small clay fireplace on the canoe was used to attract fish. The fish were then speared.
  4. Reed spear. A reed spear less than two metres long, tipped with emu bone was used to spear fish.
  5. Fishing line. The line was approximately thirty to forty metres long with a bone hook. Shellfish meat was used as bait.

Some artifacts produced from animals were:

* Shells: scraping bulrush roots and animal skins.
* Crayfish leg segments: necklaces
* Possum skins: water containers, fur cords, drum, women's apron, headband, ball, armlets, cloaks
* Possum fat: medical treatment
* Possum jaws: engraver
* Kangaroo sinew: sewing possum skins, binding spear points
* Kangaroo skin: water bags, bags, mats, cloaks
* Kangaroo bone: awls, spear points
* Emus feathers: aprons and decorations
* Emus eggs: water containers
* Emus bone: spear points, awls, nose bone

Some artifacts produced from plants were:
* Bulrush roots: nets, fishing lines, skipping rope, waist belts, string bags
* Bulrush stems: nose pieces, necklaces, spear shafts