VicHealth funding for new research looking at Aboriginal Australian dietary practices and place-making

Pelargonium - a tuberous root plant that was used by Aboriginal people.
Research project hopes to uncover ancestral Aboriginal knowledge about 'deadly tucker'.
Tuesday 18 July 2023

Victoria University (VU) researchers have received a VicHealth $230,000 grant to investigate Aboriginal Australian dietary practices and place-making in public health equity. 

The two-year project, led by Dr Kristina Vingrys together with VU’s Indigenous Academic Unit Moondani Balluk, hopes to uncover ancestral Aboriginal knowledge about the ‘deadly tucker’ and Aboriginal food practices that can be used by the Aboriginal community today. 

“The project aims to support Aboriginal people and Country, to strengthen social and emotional wellbeing, inter-cultural understanding, skills and knowledge to support sustainable, healthy food systems, and reduce health inequities currently experienced by Aboriginal Australians in Victoria,” Dr Vingrys said. 

The multidisciplinary project will involve Aboriginal community and researchers, with research expertise also from dietitians, community psychology, sociology and ecology teams.  

“We hope to also gather information through lived experiences – we want to uncover the lost knowledge about traditional foods that were grown in the Kulin Nation and the practices around growing, harvesting and preparing them,” Dr Vingrys explained. 

We are also really interested in identifying the potential nutritional benefits that might have been prescribed to those consuming these foods.

The first step of the project will be to identify which edible plants are significant to Kulin Nation and to search what is already known about them.  

Moondani Balluk Executive Director Karen Jackson said: “Once the knowledge has been gathered, it will be protected and used by and for the local Aboriginal community for cultural healing and place-making to support their social and emotional wellbeing.” 

The project collaborators include Koling wada-ngal Aboriginal Corporation, Nutrition Australia’s Healthy Eating Advisory Service, Western Public Health Unit, The Cairnlea Conservation Reserves Committee of Management (CCRCoM) and the Community Identity and Displacement Research Network (CIDRN). 


Contact us

Dr Kristina (Kris) Vingrys

Teaching focused academic, Public Health, Human Nutrition & Dietetics, Institute of Health and Sport

+61 3 9919 5339 [email protected]