Before the first European colonists settled on the continent, Aborigines followed a nomadic lifestyle within extensive tribal boundaries, following seasonal game and plants and promoting both by annually burning off grassland.

Along the coast, indigenous people speared turtles and dugong from outrigger canoes, and even cooperated with dolphins to herd fish into shallows. On land, animals caught were possums, snakes, goannas, emus and kangaroos, while more meagre pickings were provided by honey and green ants, water-holding frogs, moths and various grubs – the witchetty (or witjuti) being the best known. Plants were used extensively and formed the bulk of the diet. This food became known as bushtucker.

Until 1993, it was illegal to sell or serve kangaroo or emu anywhere outside of South Australia, but following legislation that allowed their consumption in other states, emu, kangaroo and even crocodile are now readily available on restaurant menus.

There are also several bushtucker tours and safaris available (particularly in the Northern Territory), which give an introduction to living off the land.

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