An Indigenous Pantry
The region around Quorn, upon which the NUKUNU people lived was bountiful country that was blessed with game, the prized Quandong, wattle seeds, and other native food and medicine plants. Indigenous art on canvas alongside dance, acting and film is now mirrored by an exciting explosion of Aboriginal foods, medicines and cuisines.
It here was in Quorn that Brian Powell started the first Quandong orchard in the 1970s at his property “Endilloe”, just outside of town. Brian wanted to find and reproduce the perfect Quandong, and the qualities he was looking for, apart from being ‘freestone’ and easy to halve, were bigger, thicker flesh and good colour. He found plenty like this, but only three of the Quandongs also had a very white flesh that would not oxidise or turn brown once cut, or split if there were rains at the wrong time (and then oxidise). He named the three champion Quandongs “Powell’s No. 1”, “Red Supreme” and “Saltbush Lane”.
The fruits of his work are growing in son Ian Powell’s orchard just out of Quorn, which is planted with “graftees” of the ‘big three’ Quandongs, plus seedlings.
Other bush food pioneers in town include Bob and Sue Tulloch, founders of the Copley Bush Bakery. In their peak production period, they’d produce 25,000 Quandong pies per year, supplying local cafes and restaurants and a couple of resorts in Sydney and Yulara. They expanded the bakery/café concept in Copley by opening a second outlet in Quorn, the current Quandong Café. This cemented Quorn as ‘Home of the Quandong’ and the first Wild Peach Festival was held in October 1995.
The festival will use Quorn as a platform to promote Quandongs and other bush foods. As the Pithi Kawi Bush Food Garden shows, the area was an indigenous 'bread basket’. The Quorn Kurti Festival seeks to acknowledge and promote this exciting development and sharing of knowledge.
Presenters at the Pithi Kawi Bush Food Garden will conduct workshops and introduce traditional Aboriginal plants, while over in the main street, stall holders will showcase emerging culinary trends that feature indigenous foods.