“No Tree—No Leaf”: Applying Resilience Theory to Eucalypt-Derived Musical Traditions
Robin Ryan
pages 57-68



© Robin Ryan, 2014

NOTE: Earlier didjeridus may have been made from  Bamboo (Bambusa arhemica).

Popular Gumleaf Music Species

Yellow Box (E. melliodora; called ‘Stradileaf’ by competitive leafists at Maryborough, Victoria)

Red Ironbark (E. sideroxylon; local name Mugga; played by Philip Elwood in Melbourne, Victoria)

River Red Gum (E. camaldulensis; leaf soundmaker of the Yorta Yorta, Victoria)

Forest Red Gum (E. tereticornis; ‘music tree’ grown by Uncle Herb Patten in Melbourne, Victoria)

Red Box (E. polyanthemos; played by Will Lockwood in northern Victoria)

Candlebark (E. rubida; played by Wendy Eva in northern Victoria)

White Stringybark (E. globoidea; played by Lake Tyers Gumleaf Band in Gippsland, Victoria)

Gippsland Mahogany (E. botryoides, played by Lake Tyers Gumleaf Band in Gippsland, Victoria)

Coolabah; Coolibah (E. microtheca; played in Channel Country, SW Queensland)

Sydney Blue Gum (E. saligna; played by Aborigines at La Perouse, New South Wales)

Red-flowering Gum (E. ficifolia; played by Keith Lethbridge, Western Australia)

Popular Didjeridu Species 

Darwin Stringybark (E. tetrodonta; local name Gadayka in the Dhuwa moiety, Northern Territory)

Darwin Woollybutt (E. minata; Gulngurru or Gungurru in the Yirritja moiety, Northern Territory)

Yellow Box (E. phoenicia; called Scarlet Gum by the Mayali of Katherine, Northern Territory)

River Red Gum (E. camaldulensis; supplies didjeridus in Northern Territory and Murray River, Victoria)

Bloodwood (Corymbia polycarpa, local name Badawil in Northern Territory)

Bloodwood (Corymbia ferruginea)

Rough-barked Gum (E. ferruginea; local name Aiyangbarda on Groote Eylandt, Northern Territory)

Swamp Bloodwood (Corymbia ptychocarpa; supplies yigi-yigi, Cape York Peninsula, Queensland)

Mallee Didjeridu Species: (examples found in Western Australia Goldfields)

Silver Mallee (E. crucis)

Red Mallee (E. Oleosa)



© Robin Ryan, 2014

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FIGURE 1: Tim O’Farrell performs at Didgeridoo Breath, Fremantle, WA. Image by Robin Ryan, 2012, courtesy Tim O’Farrell and Sanshi




FIGURE 2: Leaf player and Gunai-Kurnai Elder Uncle Herb Patten with his sculptured self-portrait. Image by Robin Ryan, 2014, courtesy Herb Patten.



FIGURE 3: Potential musical instruments at Dubbo, New South Wales. Image by Robin Ryan, 2012.



FIGURE 4: Leaf Instruments of Red-Flowering Gum (Eucalyptus ficifolia), Perth, WA. Image by Robin Ryan, 2005.


FIGURE 5: Stringybark Eucalyptus tree at Bathurst, New South Wales. Image by Robin Ryan, 2012.









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