Waltja Tjutangku Palyapayi

'Doing Good Work with Families'

Charmaine was a former journalist and presenter in Brisbane and Sydney. She’s worked for the 7:30 NSW report, Lateline and is now working in Central Australian communities as an Open Producer.

Her role allows her to teach media in remote communities as well as tell stories from the eyes and mouths of Aboriginal people. She recently visited Ampilatwatja and Alparra/ Utopia homelands with our caseworker Iria to collect bush tucker and bush medicine stories with the local women. Charmaine and Iria visited Ampilatwatja where the women took them out to collect bush bean, which was in season. The beans can be roasted, ground down to make a millet or used to make a drink. The women made a bush bean drink which is high in nutrients.

They then visited the Alparra women who took them out to find witchetty grubs. This was the first time Charmaine had been out to collect them since she’s been in Central Australia over the last 3 years. She said it was an amazing experience and that the grubs were hard work to dig out. She also said that it tastes like scrambled eggs when cooked.

Charmaine is really pleased at the collaboration between ABC Open and Waltja to document these customs that goes back tens of thousands of years. She’s looking forward to heading out with the Waltja crew again this year and also broadcasting these experiences with the rest of the country through the ABC.