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Sydney Golden Wattle and Fishing for Sea Mullet

The Gadi People (Gadigal) are the original inhabitants of the City of Sydney local area.

The territory of the Gadigal stretches from South Head around Sydney Harbour to the suburb known today as Petersham, including the land the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney sits on today. The Gadigal’s close connection with the harbour provided them with a rich variety of plants and animals for foods, with seafood from the harbour being a delicious local staple.

Map of Sydney Harbour with names of Traditional Owners

The Gadigal used seasonal indicators to guide which seafood was available and ready to be harvested at different times of the year. The flowering of the  Sydney Golden Wattle (Acacia longifolia) indicated the season to fish for sea mullet.

Watch this video about the cultural significance of Wattle. 

Catching Sea Mullet

The Gadigal constructed stone fish traps to facilitate catching sea mullet travelling into freshwater. They also wove fishing nets from plant fibre and made fishing spears from the flower spikes of the grasstree plant (Xanthorrhoea).


A painting by Joseph Lycette

Painting of Aboriginal Australians fishing but the ocean

Activities - Sydney Golden Wattle and Fishing for Sea Mullet


1. Make observations

View the painting by Joseph Lycette. Record the different types of food the people are hunting and eating and how they are catching them. 

2. Make a map

Research the local Aboriginal people from your area. What were the boundaries of their area? What kinds of food did they eat? Draw a simple map showing the area your local Aboriginal group inhabited and draw symbols on the map to show where they would have sourced different kinds of food.

3. Create some art

Watch the video ‘Wattle's Cultural Significance’. Go outside and find natural resources to create an art display of this seasonal indicator. Include the sea mullet’s journey, the wattle flowering and the Gadigal catching fish with stone fish traps.

4. Examine the specimens

Look at the herbarium specimen of Sydney Golden Wattle in the image gallery.
a. What details are recorded on the data sheet?
b. Using a map of NSW, plot where the specimen was found.
                   c. Look at the specimen – is it showing flowers? What time of year was it collected? Does this match with the time of year Golden Wattles are recorded as flowering?