Mandjabu (Fishtrap)

“In old times people would make these mandjabu (fish traps) to go fishing. They are made with vine we find in the jungle. That old man, Anchor Gulunba, he showed me how to make these fish traps. I would sit there and watch him making them. We catch barramundi, catfish, all kinds of fish.” – Helen Lanyinwanga

Kuninjku people traditionally make two sorts of conical fish traps. One called mandjabu made from a vine called milil, and another smaller one called manylik mandjabu, made from the grass manylik. The mandjabu conical fish trap is bigger and stronger and used in tidal reaches of creeks to catch large fish. The smaller, lighter manylik trap is used in freshwater flowing creeks to catch smaller fish and freshwater prawns. Traditionally, only men were involved in the construction of the large fish traps, but children would often crawl inside and assist.