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Mutton bird on the menu? Palawa Kipli serves up traditional feast at Hobart’s Dark Mofo Festival

Callan Morse -

Tasmanian Aboriginal food was on the menu at the recent Dark Mofo Festival in Nipaluna (Hobart), with Palawa Kipli offering a variety of traditional Lutruwita (Tasmanian) cuisine.

Offerings of preminghana honey yula (slow-cooked mutton bird) with a side of bush tucker salad, shots of yula (mutton bird oil) and focaccia glazed with kunzea ambigua butter were available for purchase in what was a uniquely Tasmanian traditional dining experience.

Palawa Kipli project coordinator Kitana Mansell said she was "stoked" with public feedback.

Yula (mutton bird), being slow-cooked at Dark Mofo.

"We didn't get one negative comment," she said.

"The mutton bird oil was probably not everyone's favourite flavour, it has quite a strong unique taste.

"This medicine has been used by my community and my people for thousands of years, and it was the first time that Palawa Kipli had ever sold it as a product."

Some 1000 mutton birds were sourced from Titima (Trefoil Island) for the event, which took a significant amount of preparation before being served to the public.

"We spent around 12 hours just cutting up mutton birds the day before, and we had about six of us there halving all the mutton birds," Ms Mansell said.

"We had to cut the backbone out so then it wasn't as hard to get into the meat for people that hadn't tried it before."

Developed as Tasmania's first Aboriginal food business by her cousin Tim Sculthorpe in 2016, Ms Mansell said the vision for Palawa Kipli had changed over the years.

The business has diversified to now offer cultural dining experiences on Piyura Kitina country at Risdon Cove.

"We're changing the whole way that the business is run and we're actually doing cultural dining experiences now", Ms Mansell said.

Palawa Kipli operates bush tucker tours on land handed back to the Tasmanian Aboriginal community in 1995 by taking guests on a 90-minute tour through the bush, teaching all about native ingredients as they go.

Guests are treated to a smorgasbord including wallaby, mutton birds, wattle seed damper with kunzea butter, and even oysters and abalone.


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