Although mainstream education teaches the four seasons of Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter, Western Australia’s Noongar Aboriginal people lived by six seasons. These seasons clearly indicate change in weather. Aboriginal culture dates back tens of thousands of years and reveals an astounding knowledge and understanding of the environment.
Through this ancient wisdom, Noongar Aboriginal people (sometimes spelled Nyoongar or Nyungar) lived across the south west of Western Australia. Life was lived according to the six seasons, moving with the availability of various food sources, weather patterns and cultural habits.
The six Noongar Aboriginal Seasons are:
- Birak (December-January)
- Bunuru (February-March)
- Djeran (April-May)
- Makuru (June-July)
- Djilba (August-September)
- Kambarang (October-November)
In December and January, it’s the season of…
Birak – December/January
Birak is known as ‘first summer’ and a time for controlled fire burning. With easterly winds most mornings and sea breezes in the afternoon, communities were known to burn in mosaic patterns. This would flush out game for food and burn out weeds ready for growth of edible plants in Djilba (August/September). Reptiles shed their skins and Banksia flowers are picked for their sweet honey.
Artist, Rikki Garlett
The beautiful image above was created by Rikki Garlett, a local Ballardong artist who grew up in Northam. Her ambition is to create traditional art, inspired by the stories of her culture shared to her as a child. She sees her art as a way to share knowledge and connect with the community. If you would like Rikki for other projects, please contact Wheatbelt NRM.
Noongar Season Dateless Planner
WA’s Wheatbelt NRM organisation, in conjunction with the Wheatbelt NRM Elders Advisory Group, has produced a wonderful yearly planner laid out with the Noongar six seasons. It’s a dateless planner and includes photographs and stories from all over the Wheatbelt along with art from local Ballardong artist Rikki Garlett. You’ll discover more about the six Noongar Aboriginal Seasons and the unique Wheatbelt environment. The planner is for sale from Wheatbelt NRM’s website.
READY TO FOLLOW THE SIX NOONGAR SEASONS?
The Noongar Season Dateless Planner shows the way to celebrate the year from a different perspective