Sunday, 10 November 2019

Giant Moths

Situated between the Australian Institute for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies and the National Museum of Australia in Canberra are a number of large sculptures of moths. This seems like an odd choice of subject matter unless you know about Bogong Moths.

Two bogong moth sculptures by Matthew Harding in collaboration with Jim Williams. Canberra, Australia. Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.

The sculptures were designed by Aboriginal artist Jim Williams and made in collaboration with Matthew Harding. They were commissioned in 2001 to celebrate the ongoing culture and history of the Ngunnawal people, who are the traditional owners of the area. The Ngunnawal and others gathered here to collect and feast on the moths.

Bogong Moths migrate annually and were an important source of food for the Ngunnawal. Millions of the creatures emerge in the spring along the Queensland - New South Wales border west of the Great Dividing Range and start heading for the Southern Alps where they will spend the summer hiding in caves and crevices to avoid the heat. Flying at night, they are attracted by the lights as they overfly Canberra, briefly invading the city. Supposedly each moth contains three times the fat of a Big Mac. Traditionally they are roasted to remove the wings and legs. They can be eaten immediately, or made into a paste that can be transported by nomadic people.


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Le Pré de la Forge said...

I was reading about these the other day...
Their decline is causing knock-on losses of the Mountain Pigmy Possum... I was looking up that little, fierce Pigmy possum/cheetah cross after you said what it really was... and the above link popped up!!
The moth is tiny... comparatively... Large Yellow Underwing sized... but the numbers shown are a bit impressive. One photo on that page shows the moths looking like scales on a moth's wing.

Susan said...

Yes, I read a similar report a while ago. Thanks for this link -- a good article.

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