Full Project Title: 
The Spinifex Project
Project Summary: 

Triodia (‘spinifex’) grasslands cover a third of our continent. Despite being the dominant vegetation across much of the arid zone, we know little about the function of these fascinating grasses and ecosystems that represent some of the driest, hottest and most fire prone landscapes on Earth. With field sites established in north-west Queensland and collaborating with the Myuma Aboriginal Cooperation, the interdisciplinary spinifex project examines facets of spinifex that span from Indigenous knowledge of spinifex-derived materials to potential novel uses and material properties. We study the effects of fire and harvesting on regeneration, ecophysiology, biogeography and function of its unusual surface resin.

Funding Sources: 

This project is funded through an ARC Discovery Grant (DP0877161 - Towards novel biomimetic building materials: evaluating Aboriginal and western scientific knowledge of Spinifex grasses).



  • Project Collaborators

    Prof Paul Memmottp.memmott@uq.edu.au                             

    Aboriginal Environments Research Center
    The University of Queensland

    Prof Susanne Schmidtsusanne.schmidt@uq.edu.au 

    School of Agriculture and Food Science
    The University of Queensland

    Dr Rod Fenshamr.fensham@uq.edu.au

    School of Biological Sciences
    The University of Queensland

    Prof Darren Martindarren.martin@uq.edu.au 

    School of Chemical Engineering
    The University of Queensland

    Dr Harshi Gamage h.gamage@uq.edu.au

    School of Agriculture and Food Science
    The University of Queensland

  • Postgraduate Students
    • Lisa Xian (PhD 2011- present) l.xian@uq.edu.au

    • Georgia Neave (Honours 2010)                                                                                       

  • Publications

    Mondal, S; Memmott, P; Martin, D (2013) Preparation and characterization of green bio-composites based on spinifex resin and grass fibresJournal of Composite Materials

    Gamage, HK; Mondal, S; Wallis, L.A; Memmott, P; Martin, D; Wright, B; Schmidt, S (2012) Indigenous and modern biomaterials derived from Triodia (‘spinifex’) grasslands in Australia. Australian Journal of Botany, 60(2): 114-127. 

    Mondal, S; Memmott, P; Wallis, L; Martin, D (2012) Physico-thermal properties of spinifex resin bio-polymer. Materials Chemistry and Physics, 133: 692–699.                                                                     

    Memmott, P (2012) On generating culturally sustainable enterprises and demand-responsive services in remote Aboriginal settings: A case study from north-west Queensland. In N Fijn, I Keen, Cr Lloyd and M Pickering (Ed.), Indigenous participation in Australian economies II : Historical engagements and current enterprises (pp. 243-260) Canberra A.C.T., Australia: ANU E Press.