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Pormpuraaw Cultural Uses For Plants

A new book by Pormpuraaw Art and Culture Centre is helping to maintain and share the region’s cultural knowledge, providing a legacy for future generations.


Pormpuraaw Cultural Uses For Plants is a comprehensive 160-page collection of information and photographs detailing the community’s traditional use of plants in the region.

Over 31 people from the Pormpuraaw community shared their knowledge of the traditional preparation and use of plants to develop the resource.

The book identifies over 100 plants with images. Elders helped to translate each plant name into the three local languages. The common and scientific names were also incorporated for each plant.

The book was released in late 2016.





Key stats

  • 31 participants directly involved including five young people and 17 Elders
  • 5,000+ readers


$15,000 Indigenous Regional Arts Development Fund (IRADF)

The project was supported by the BIA Initiative, the IRADF, a partnership between Arts Queensland and the Pormpuraaw Art & Culture Centre


  • Pormpuraaw Cultural Uses For Plants is an important document for preserving traditional knowledge and cultural practices for the community. The book supports the preservation of the three local languages and documents the cultural uses of local plants for future generations.
  • Creating the book’s content brought community together – elders were able to share knowledge with young people. The people of Pormpuraaw felt proud to have been part of the project. The contributors to the book are recognised as positive role models in the community.
  • The book has become a valuable resource for the Pormpuraaw Public School, Pormpuraaw Library, Land and Sea Rangers, Community garden and Land Council organisation.


Paul Jakubowski, the Manager at Pormpuraaw Art and Culture Centre, reflected on the transference and sharing of cultural knowledge through the production of the book:

The process of making it was a valuable learning experience for all involved. We have several elders who are trained language translators having earned certificates from the Bachelor Institute in Darwin. They put their skills to work translating language names using phonetic English alphabet.

What next?

The book is available for sale at the Pormpuraaw Art and Culture Centre and a number of retail outlets. 

Find out more

Paul Jakubowski

Arts Centre Manager – Pormpuraaw Art and Culture Centre



A pdf version (PDF) (793.31 KB) of this case study is available.


Image on Case study main page: Images in the book describe uses of the different plants.  Dillybags are weaved from string made from immature and unopened leaf stems from the Kennedy Palm. Image courtesy Pormpuraaw Art and Culture Centre.

Banner image: Image from Pormpuraaw Cultural Uses For Plants.