Outback MagazineOutback Magazine


A Murray catch

On a visit to the area where the Murray and Darling rivers meet, OUTBACK's nomadic chef Adrian Millman discovers both the people and the produce fed by the rejuvenation of the Murray-Darling River system.

A Murray catchGraham Clarke and Bill Lever are different in many ways. Yet they both share a devotion for a special piece of country where two lifelines merge.

In fact, both men are so passionate about the mighty Darling and Murray rivers that merge at their home town, Wentworth in far western NSW, it wouldn't be surprising if they bled muddy water instead of plasma.

Graham, 28, a guide with Aboriginal-owned Harry Nanya Tours, has devoted himself to learning and practising the food gathering techniques of his people, the Barkinji, who have roamed the rich lower Darling country for millennia.

A Murray catchBill, 73, is one of a handful of professional Murray cod fishermen left on the Murray. It is a trade he has plied for 40 years.

Both have a mystical affinity to the river system and both know that much repair is necessary if the waters are to continue to provide bounty.

Graham, who learnt from his father and other Barkinji elders, is a walking encyclopedia of traditional bush tucker. He says the river has always been a vital source of food for his people, whether its the water's inhabitants, the birds that nest on its fringes or the animals attracted to its grassy banks.

And the Murray cod - a totem in both indigenous and settler cultures in these parts - has always been a prized food.

Murray Cod Indigenous StyleMurray Cod Indigenous Style

Whole cod gutted and stuffed with lemon scented gum leaves and wild onion roots and caked in black clay.
Cook slowly in coals. serve with bush tomatoes and black box gum seeds.

Emu Egg Omelette with Yabbies and Old Man Saltbush

Heat shovel and grease with Murray cod fat.
Pour stirred emu egg onto shovel face and cook to omelette consistency.
Fill with yabby tail and saltbush and fold over. Story end

Full story Issue 13, October-November, 2000

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