Mayone Bulluk Boonwurrung traditional land extended north to the top of what was once the old Carrum swamp (or Carrum Carrum as it was known to the Mayone Bulluk), east to the western edge of the Koo Wee Rup swamp, south as far as Moorooduc and west to Port Phillip Bay.
As with most Aboriginal people in the world, Mayone Bulluk people’s cultural, ceremonial and spiritual life was dictated by the seasons through the availability of sustainable resources.
Mayone people were in turn able to predict the seasons through natural indicators, such as the behaviour of different animals or the blooming of a certain flower, for example, the Mayone people knew that ‘quoim’ (kangaroos) were at their fattest when all the bark had fallen from the gum trees, which usually occurred at the height of summer when the grass was dryer.
During the summer months, the Mayone Bulluk people could (and still can) be found at one of their many coastal camps at Mordialloc, Frankston or Warneet. Here they would access many of their favourite resources such as fish, shellfish and the many marine birds and eggs. For vegetables they would collect a variety of bulbs, shoots and leaves, such as the leaves of the Warrigal spinach. For fruit they ate many different species, such as the fruit of the native cherry or the kangaroo apple, which was quite often washed down with a beautiful sweet drink made from the coastal banksia flower.
All throughout the summer, the Mayone Bulluk would collect their kangaroo and possum skins and tan them with bark from the many wattle trees, and as summer came to an end they would stitch the skins together to make cloaks and rugs for the cold months ahead.
As winter drew near, Mayone Bulluk families would begin to gather at one of their many winter camps around Moorooduc or perhaps the Dandenong Ranges. During the colder months when the wind blew hard and kangaroos were very frisky, the Mayone Bulluk would join neighbouring clans in large-scale cooperative hunts, and harvest the many yams, shoots and mushrooms. Sometimes the women and children would rob an ants nest for seed the ants had inadvertently stored while gathering their own food. The seed would be ground on a rock grinding bowl to make flour for a true damper.
The Boonwurrung people are blessed with an environment that once provided a great diversity of plant and animal life, much more than has been noted here, though many of these plants and animals have disappeared or are threatened by past land management practices, over-development and/or over-exploitation, as is the case for the many occupational, cultural and sacred sites of the Boonwurrung people.
There is much more to Boonwurrung life and anyone who has spent enough time in their land will see the diversity in their available resources, even given we can only see what has yet been spared from development and exploitation. Today the Boonwurrung people have very little access to their traditional land, and actively struggle for the recognition and protection of Boonwurrung cultural heritage and their cultural environment through the Bunurong Land Council Aboriginal Corporation.