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WHAT WOULD YOU DO IF ALL OF THE SHOPS SHUT DOWN AND YOU HAD TO SURVIVE OFF NATURE???
By Edwina Ring
My Survival Plan is based along the coast of NSW. It displays the essentials every human needs to survive and where to find them. It includes useful information like: shelter, fire, fresh water, food, what seasons to find food and medicine.
Every human needs fresh water to live. Finding water is essential to survive anywhere. However, being in the hot Australian bush without water is very serious. You need to find water as soon as you can, so it is the first thing on the survival plan checklist. There are some procedures that can be used if water is limited.
For example, there are some plants that provide water in their roots and trunks, if you see certain plants you know you are close to water and there are even methods of making freshwater from saltwater.
The She-Oak is also called the Casuarina equisetifolia. It is found mostly in coastal sand-dune country across northern Queensland and the Northern Territory, and other related species are distributed throughout Australia.
The Aboriginals used to chew the leaves of this tree and in some cases the young green oak apples as a thirst-quencher. The fruits have an extremely acidic taste and contain an acid similar to citric acid. This activates the salivary glands, thereby relieving the feeling of thirst. In some species of this tree, the roots have been known to yield visible amounts of water.
The Casuarina equisetfolia can also be used as a bush medicine. The Aboriginals would create a mouthwash from it to relieve sore throats and toothaches.
The Native Rock Fig
The Native Rock Fig is found along the Northern coast of Australia, also in parts of inland Australia and the Coast of NSW.
It a type of bush tucker food. The special thing about this tree is that the trailing root system can sometimes indicate the presence of water pockets in rock crevices, especially in arid areas. As the roots often penetrate deep crevices, the water can be a long way down.
Fire is important as it provides warmth, light and is used for cooking. It is the next step for surviving in the bush after securing fresh water and food.
It is difficult to light a fire without matches or a cigarette lighter, but if some steps are taken before lighting the fire, the process is much easier.
A good start would be to dig a hole to put the fire in. This will keep the fire out of the wind. Now it is time to collect some firewood. It is important to look for the driest wood that can be found, because it makes lighting the fire so much easier. Using the resin and dead trunks from Grass Trees is a good idea, as the resin is flammable and the dead trunks burn with an intense heat, even in wet conditions. Next is building the fire. Put the materials that will catch alight easiest on the top like dead leaves, with the steady burning materials like logs on the bottom. Lighting the fire is the next step.
Lighting the fire is the hardest step. The Aboriginals would rub two dry sticks together until they began to get hot. Then, with a lot of effort, hopefully the sticks would smoke and spark onto the dead leaves and light a small flame. The Aboriginals would then try to keep the flame alight, while still rubbing the sticks together and sparking more dead leaves alight. So, by following the Aboriginals’ method to light fire you can keep the flame alight until it grows to be a steady fire.
Bushtucker is a very important part of survival in Australia. It was how the Aboriginals stayed alive. It is very important to know the seasons that certain foods grow, so you always know what to look for. If you are not sure whether or not a plant is poisonous, DO NOT take the risk. Stick with the plants that you know are edible.
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Shelter is your next step to surviving. You need shelter to keep you dry and safe. Barks are ideal for shelter, as building shelter with sticks and logs can be quite difficult. Select strong bark, that is large, and support it by possibly leaning it against a tree. Make sure that you have enough room to sleep in it. It is also a good idea to make shelter for your fire, but if you do, make sure it is higher than the flames can reach so it doesn’t catch alight.
There are many different types of bush medicine that do different things. The Australian Bugle’s leaves are bruised and soaked in hot water to make an infusion to bathe sores and boils. The sap of the Cunjevoi, if applied to the skin, is said to relieve the pain of the Giant Stinging Tree and can often be found growing close to it. The sap can also be used to relieve snake bite, stings from stingrays and insects. The Casuarina equisetfolia can also be used as a bush medicine. The Aboriginals would create a mouthwash from it to relieve sore throats and toothaches. These are just some of the bush medicines found around the mid north coast of NSW.