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Holiday Festive Food with Aunty Beryl

To celebrate the festive season, we’ve partnered with some of the very best home chefs in Australia to show you how they do family celebrations in delicious style.

We’re pleased to introduce Aunty Beryl, an Indigenous Elder and educator who is passionate about encouraging the use of native Australian ingredients. Having created a series of very successful food-related businesses and being an important member of our community, we spoke to Aunty Beryl about eating off the land, creating opportunities and making happy memories with home meals.

I am Kamillaroi lady from Walgett, NSW. I came to Sydney when I was 16 to get an education and a job. I lived and worked in the Redfern area. 

We grew up with culture, we lived off the land by the Barwon river. My dad was a shearer, my uncle was a station handler, we always worked on the land. We didn’t have any running water, we lived with the bare necessities, but we were healthy and happy. We were always taught to respect the land.

We always had fresh food, no junk food! That is why I’m into health and well-being now. We lived on freshwater fish, yellow belly and river cod.

The only sweet we had was the honeycomb, but you had to be careful not to bite the queen bee! 

Marinated Kangaroo

Kangaroo was a source of meat that we ate when we lived off the land. As with every Aboriginal family, we didn’t take in abundance – just whatever we needed. There’s no fat in the kangaroo and the fruits & veg are healthy. We always had bush yams and potatoes, but you had to know which ones to pick.

Growing up, our Aunt taught us all how to cook. I worked at an Aboriginal pre-school and I wanted to know how to cook healthy food on a small budget, so learnt about budgeting and portion control. Aboriginal people have been practising portion control from the start because we only eat what is available.

Indigenous people from all over the world have looked after the land because the land has looked after us. We need to start living off the land again.

My family celebrates NAIDOC and Christmas. With NAIDOC, every organisation in Redfern and Oz come together to celebrate. Even with Covid-19, we were all on zoom. It was different but it worked as we have to continue on. 

I always celebrate Christmas in Walgett with family, but this year we’re going to celebrate at my house in Sydney. We have Christmas breakfast together, I have three children, seven grandchildren & two great grandsons. There’s about twenty people that come and have scrambled eggs, ham, croissants, and then we have a big lunch too. 

Having food bring your family together is something I instil in the students that I teach. I can see it happening in the next generation, I can see it in the community the young mums cooking fresh meals.

I mentor young people and work at NCIE mentor for the Job Ready programme. We have a partnership with TAFE teaching hospitality and provide work experience in the kitchen at NCIE, and we find the students work placements too. 

When you see people turn their life around and get a job and better quality of life, that’s what it’s all about. They have choices.

Aunty Beryl’s marinated kangaroo recipe


½ cup Chinese wine

¼ cup soy sauce

2 chopped garlic cloves

1 tbs of chopped ginger

1 tbs brown sugar

500g kangaroo fillet


  1. Mix all ingredients together in a bowl and leave to marinate overnight in fridge. 
  2. Chargrill and slice to serve.

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Australian Pensioners Insurance Agency Pty Ltd (Apia) ABN 14 099 650 996 AR 239591 is an authorised representative of AAI Limited ABN 48 005 297 807 AFSL 230859 (AAI), the issuer of Home, Landlord, Car, Caravan, Motorhome, Boat, Travel & Compulsory Third Party Personal Injury (CTP) Insurance.

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