Frances Bodkin, known to many as 'Aunty Fran', is a D’harawal woman of the Bitter Water Clans. Her mother was a storyteller, and her grandmother and great grandmother were medicine women. Not only is she now an elder, knowledge-holder and teacher of the D’harawal people, she is also a Western scientist with degrees in climatology, geomorphology and environmental science. Frances is also a recognised botanist, and is the author of 'Encyclopaedia Botanica', which has over 11,000 entries on Australian native plants. She has also published ‘D’harawal: Seasons and Climatic Cycles’, exploring ecological indicators of climatic changes. She works tirelessly to teach traditional Indigenous 'science' and enable a deeper understanding of, and an ability to care for, our natural environment.
"Having Aboriginal knowledge recognised as a science, to me, is one of the most passionate ambitions that I have. And Aboriginal knowledge is a science, because two of the most important elements of any of our sciences is observation and actual experience. And those observations and experiences have been put into story. Some of those observations - some of our science - goes back 80,000 years." Frances Bodkin - ABC, Message Stick.
Since 1998 Frances has worked as an Indigenous Education Officer at Mount Annan Botanic Gardens. This is where she combines her formidable knowledge of Australian botany with her invaluable knowledge of D’harawal creation, history and law, and shares her ancestors' stories to teach future generations about our environment and it's animals, birds and insects which inhabit the land.
"I shall be talking about the importance of plant associations in our bushland and in the production of our medicines and food. It is a subject which has been close to my heart for a very long while, and it has long been my dream to enable people to have their own chemist shop growing in their backyards, or even in common areas near their homes. I began this project before I left school, and have been collecting information ever since. As the technology became available I learned more, and added that knowledge to the work - which now, although still incomplete - numbers some 3,000 pages, and that is confined only to the Sydney Region." Fran says of her PNB presentation.
Please join us in welcoming Aunty Fran Bodkin to the northern beaches for an evening of aboriginal knowledge and science.
Members free - Visitors by donation
Please feel free to also contribute on the night to our:
- 60 Second Shout-out - Join in our permaculture community and share your news, projects and events to the group.
- Fair Share Table - swap or give away anything you wish from seeds, plants, books or fruit.
- Share a small plate for communal supper following our guest speaker.
- Organic teas and coffee are also available.