While trying to find the solution to the “congat” puzzle at Anggarrgoon, I happened on the word(s) cunjevoi in my Australian Oxford:
cunjevoi1 n. an Australian sea-squirt found on intertidal rocks and used as bait. (Probably from a NSW Aboriginal language.)
cunjevoi2 n. a rainforest plant of NSW and Qld, having extremely large leaves and arum-lily-like flowers, the stem-tissue providing a staple food for Aborigines after it had been carefully treated to rid it of its very high toxicity. (Probably from Bandjalang.)
Naturally, I turned to the OED, which lumps them together into a single entry:
1. The popular name for the green arum or spoon lily, Alocasia macrorrhiza.
1889 J. H. MAIDEN Useful Native Plants Austral. 165 Colocasia macrorrhiza.. Alocasia macrorrhiza.. ‘Pitchu’ of the aboriginals of the Burnett River, Queensland; ‘Cunjevoi’ of those of South Queensland. […] 1965 Austral. Encycl. I. 221/1 One of the commonest Australian species is the cunjevoi,.. whose large fleshy rhizomes extend for several feet over the surface of the ground.
2. (Also –boi, -boy.) A common ascidian, the sea-squirt (see quots.). Abbrev. cunjie.
[1821 S. LEIGH in W. S. Ramson Austral. Eng. (1966) 121 Conguwa, a kind of living fungus, which at certain Seasons they detach from the Rocks on the Sea Shore.] 1911 A. E. MACK Bush Days 109 Down at the sea’s edge grew the cunje-boy, brown and red, upon the rocks. […] 1966 BAKER Austral. Lang. (ed. 2) xiv. 302 Cunjie, a cunjevoi, used for bait.
I’m hoping one of my Australianist readers will tell me whether this is two different Aboriginal words that happen to fall together in borrowed form, or whether the OED is correct in taking them as two meanings for one word. (It would also be great if someone can answer Claire’s “congat” question.)