Witchetty bush is one of the important plant for the Indigenous People of
Australia, especially because of the large tasty grub found in the roots of the
plant, where it makes its home. The grub is the larvae of a large grey moth that
can grow up to 6 cm and longer. During a really good season, you can collect up
to as many as 50 grubs from the roots of one decent size bush.
The grubs are rich in proteins and fats that are easily assimilated by humans,
and as a food source is highly valued by the Aborigines. Although the grubs can
be found at all times of the year, not all Witchetty bushes will harbour the
grub. The moths themselves are also eaten.1
Like the Honey Ants, the Witchetty Grubs are depicted in bush tucker paintings.
Often included in the paintings are the symbol imagery of the digging sticks,
coolamon and women. The meticulous works of Audrey Rubuntja and her daughter
Clarabelle Swift, often depict the witchetty grubs in their bush tucker
paintings. Other Aboriginal artists including Janet Forrester Ngala and Janet Long Nakamarra
have produced a number of works on the ‘Witchetty Grub Dreaming’.