In southeastern and southwestern Australia, Cumbungi or Bulrush, Typha species, was a common Aboriginal food and fibre source (Gott 1982, 1983, 1999).
-- 1999 Cumbungi, Typha Species: A Staple Aboriginal Food in Southern Australia, Australian Aboriginal Studies 1, 33-50.
In southeastern and southwestern Australia, Cumbungi or Bulrush, Typha species, is often mentioned as an Aboriginal food and fibre source.
Cumbungi are often found growing in dense local patches, which extend their area by growth and branching of the rhizomes; they can rapidly fill in an irrigation channel and are regarded as a pest (Mitchell 1978, 65).
The common name `rush' has been given to various members of the sedges, grasses, rushes, cord-rushes and lilies, as well as Cumbungi; consequently, it is sometimes difficult to be sure that a record applies to Cumbungi and not to other aquatic species.
At the present time, any of the following may be used: Narrow-leaf and Broad-leaf Cumbungi, Bulrush, Reed-mace (Hartley 1979, 97); Narrow-leaved Cumbungi, Narrow-leaved Bulrush; Broad-leaved Cumbungi, Broad-leaved Bulrush (Briggs 1987, 8).
The two major uses of Cumbungi were for food and fibre.
Mounds still remaining on the flood-plain are full of these baked clay balls (Coutts et al 1979, 60, 69; Frankel 1991, 74-82) and were certainly cooking sites for Cumbungi and other foods.
For example, while Cumbungi
(Typha sp.) was a major food source in the Melbourne area, its leaves and fronds, when dried, could be split into thin lengths for weaving baskets, or making nets and items of personal adornment (Gott 1999; Zola and Gott 1992).