Meet: Clarence Slockee, Aboriginal Education Officer at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney
Where did you live as a child?
I am a Mindjingbal fella from the top part of Bundjalung country– Clarence River north to the NSW border. I came to Sydney to study music and dance at NAISDA Dance College. (National Aboriginal & Islander Skills Development Association)
Do you still dance?
I still perform from time to time as a dancer and musician, both here and overseas. I was recently part of the Woggan-ma-gule morning ceremony on January 26, and in the Edinburgh Military Tattoo in February.
Where does your interest in bush foods and medicines come from?
I grew up in a family of fishermen (and women) and farmers and spent heaps of time in the bush and along the creeks and rivers with my cousins and uncles, so I’ve always had a deep appreciation of the bush and the relationships between animals, plants and people; particularly from an Aboriginal cultural perspective.
Your favourite eating plants?
Some of the top end water lilies (Nymphae sp.) are unbelievably delicious cooked on the fire and I love quandongs and rainforest plums - and who can resist a lemon myrtle and wattleseed cheesecake!
Do you have a garden at home?
I’ve just finished turning my front lawn into a sustainable garden for the kids with water plants, fruit, vegetables, a herb spiral and a host of natives. I’d rather eat than mow!
Clarence hosts a 90-minute tour at the RBG every Friday. For more info, phone 9231 8134.