Text Aboriginal science tools: the morah stone

TLF ID M013032

This is an article about morah stones, incised grinding stones from the tropical rainforests of northern Queensland, and how they were used by the local Aboriginal peoples to process toxic starchy seeds and kernels. Written by Kudjala/Kalkadoon Elder from Queensland Letitia Murgha and intended mainly for teachers, it describes why slate was used for the stones, how and why incised grooves were made in the stone, and how scientific analysis of residues on the stones has revealed that they were used to process at least six toxic species. The article contains illustrations of a morah stone and of the author.

Educational details

Educational value
  • The article provides information useful for teachers in planning their implementation of the curriculum. It is relevant to numerous content descriptions across a range of year levels, including the content description in year 5 science about scientific understandings, discoveries and inventions being used to solve problems that directly affect peoples' lives. Discovering the complex process that removed the toxins from otherwise highly nutritious foods and developing the technologies to do it enabled Aboriginal peoples of the rainforest to survive and flourish.
  • It is also relevant to content descriptions in year 2 science about Earth's resources (in this case sedimentary rocks) being used in various ways and in year 4 geography about the resources provided by the environment. It would also be useful for the study in year 3 history about the importance of Country to Aboriginal peoples who belong to a local area. Morah stones are an important artefact in the histories of Aboriginal people of the Queensland rainforest.
  • The resource is especially valuable for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures cross-curriculum priority. It is particularly supportive of the priority's organising idea that Aboriginal peoples' ways of life are uniquely expressed through ways of being, knowing, thinking and doing. The use of morah stones is a unique Aboriginal knowledge built up over generations of careful observation and experimentation.
Year level

2; 3; 4; 5

Learning area
  • Humanities and social sciences
  • Geography
  • History
  • Science

Other details

  • Contributor
  • Name: Education Services Australia
  • Organization: Education Services Australia
  • Description: Data manager
  • Address: VIC, AUSTRALIA
  • URL: http://www.esa.edu.au/
  • Copyright Holder
  • Name: The State of Queensland (Queensland Museum)
  • Organization: The State of Queensland (Queensland Museum)
  • Publisher
  • Name: The State of Queensland (Queensland Museum)
  • Organization: The State of Queensland (Queensland Museum)
  • Description: Publisher
  • Resource metadata contributed by
  • Name: Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Organisation: Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Address: AUSTRALIA
  • URL: www.esa.edu.au
Access profile
  • Unknown
Learning Resource Type
  • Text
  • © The State of Queensland (Queensland Museum). This material may be used and reproduced free of charge for non-commercial educational purposes, provided all acknowledgements are retained.