Noongar people are the traditional owners of the south-west of Western Australia and have been for over 45,000 years. In the Noongar calendar, the months of December and January bring the season of Birak.

Mainstream education teaches the four seasons of Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter, but Western Australia’s Noongar Aboriginal people live 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, the Noongar people (sometimes spelled Nyoongar or Nyungar) live across the south-west of Western Australia, from Jurien Bay in the north, east to Moora and Esperance in the south. 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)

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

In conjunction with the Wheatbelt NRM Elders Advisory Group, WA’s Wheatbelt NRM organisation 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.

The first astronomers

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were the world’s first astronomers, studying the night sky and navigating using the stars long before Babylonia, Greek or Roman astronomers. Tens of thousands of years of culture and heritage are reflected in WA’s night sky. Astrotourism WA acknowledge and pay tribute to the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Western Australia. We recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait people as the world’s first astronomers and their continuing connection to lands, sky, waters and communities. We offer our respect to them, their cultures, and to Elders both past and present.


The Noongar Season Dateless Planner shows the way to celebrate the year from a different perspective