Six Nyoongar Seasons

King Edward Memorial Hospital and Perth Children's Hospital are on Whadjuk Nyoongar Boodja. 

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Birak (December- January):

  • Represented by the colour red as it symbolises heat, sun and fire

  • In this season the rain eases and it begins to get warmer

  • Afternoons are cooled by the sea breezes from the south-west

  • Traditionally, burning time of the year for Noongar people and they would burn the country in mosaic patterns

  • They did this to increase the grazing pastures for animals, to aid seed germination and to make it easier to move across the country

  • Reptiles shed their old skin during this time and many fledglings venture out of nests in Birak

  • Baby frogs to complete their transformation into adulthood

  • Birak is also known as the first summer and the season of the young

  • An abundance of food sources still remain including mammals, birds, reptiles and yonga (kangaroo)

  • The start of the season sees the vibrant flowering of Nuytsia Floribunda, also known as the Western Australian Christmas tree

Bunuru (February- March):

  • The hottest time of the year and represented by the colour orange

  • Little to no rain

  • Hot easterly winds continue with a cooling sea breeze most of the afternoons

  • Traditionally, and continues to be a good time for loving and fishing by the coast, rivers and estuaries

  • Therefore, during Bunuru major parts of the Noongar people's diet includes freshwater foods and seafood

  • Jarrah Marri and ghost gums, as well as other white flowers, come into full bloom (also the female zamia (Macrozamia riedlei)

  • As the hot and dry weather continues, the seed cone in the centre of the female zamia changes from green to bright red which indicates to animals that they are ripe. This flower becomes more attractive to animals, particularly, the emu who will eat the toxic fleshy outer layer

  • Wattle, banksia blossom and various roots are also popular food sources at this time

Djeran (April-May):

  • Cooler weather begins and is represented by the colour green

  • A key indicator of the transition into the Djeran season is the cooler nights and the presence of dew in the early mornings

  • Many flying ants can be seen cruising around the light winds

  • Time of red flowers especially the red flowering gum (Corymbiaficifolia) and the summer flame (Beaufortia aestiva)

  • Banksias start to display their flowers, ensuring that there are nectar food sources for the many small mammals and birds that rely on them

  • Traditional food sources at this time of year include the zamia seeds, root bulbs of the yanget (Bullrushes), freshwater fish, frogs and turtles

  • As the season progresses, the nights will become cooler and damp

  • The onset of cool and rainy days meant that traditional mia mias (houses or shelters) were repaired and updated to make sure they were waterproofed and facing in the right direction in readiness for the deep wintery months to come

  • Time of the year to nourish and prepare the body for the cold of Makuru

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Makuru (June-July):

  • Represented by dark blue as it symbolises rain and cold weather

  • The coldest and wettest time of the year in the South West

  • Traditionally, this was a good time of the year to move back inland from the coast as the winds turned to the west and south bringing the cold weather, rains and occasionally snow on the peaks of the Stirling and Porongurup Rangers

  • Waterways and catchments filled making it easier for people to move around their country with ease and the food sources changed from the sea, estuarine and lake foods to those of the land, in particular, the grazing animals such as the kangaroo

  • The yongar (kangaroo) did not only provide a source of food but also bookas (animal skin cloaks that were used as the nights became cooler)

  • Nothing would be left of the animal, as even the bones and sinews were used in the manufacturing of bookas and for affixing barbs to hunting tools such as spears

  • This season is also the time for many animals to prepare for breeding in the coming season

  • It is possible to see pairs of wardongs (ravens) flying together

  • The large influx of the Black Swan or Mali as they too prepare to nest and breed

  • The emergence of the blues and purples of the blueberry lily (Dianella revoluta) and the purple flags (Patersonia occidentalis)

  • Scarlett banksia is in bloom

  • Fire is very important during this season, a useful resource for food preparation and production, hunting and driving game, and for warmth and signalling

Djilba (August-September):

  • Represented by the colour pink as it symbolises the growth of wildflowers and plants

  • Start of the massive flowering explosion that happens in the South West

  • Begins with the yellow flowering plants such as the acacias

  • The transitional time of year, with a combination of cold and clear days combined with warmer, rainy and windy days, as well as the occasional sunny day

  • Traditionally, the main food sources included many of the land-based grazing animals including the yongar (kangaroo), the waitj (emu) and the koomal (possum)

  • As the weather becomes warmer, we see the first of the newborns with their parents providing them food, guiding them through foraging tasks and protecting their family

  • The woodland birds are still nest bound, hence the swooping protective behaviour of the koolbardi (magpie), dijidi dijidi (willy wag tails) and chuck-a-luck (wattlebirds)

  • The flower stalks of the balgas (Grass Trees) begin to emerge in preparation for the Kambarang season

  • This season is also known as the season of conception

  • Wattles come into full bloom, as well as the lemon myrtle

Kambarang (October-November):

  • Represented by the colour yellow as it symbolises the return of the hot weather

  • An abundance of colours and flowers

  • During this time the balgas will continue to flower, especially if they've been burnt in the past year or closely shaved

  • The blooming of the moojar or the Australian Christmas tree (Nuytsia floribunda) signals that heat is on its way due to its bright orange-yellow flowers

  • Reptiles begin to awaken from their hibernation

  • It is also a time that many young families of birds will be singing out for their parents to feed them. Koolbardies (magpies) will be out protecting their nests and their babies

  • This is also known as the season of birth

  • Vibrant flowering of the Kangaroo Paw

  • Kambarang is the season of plenty with an abundance of food available, including fruit, yams and gilgie (freshwater crayfish)

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There is no start or end date for each of the seasons, instead, the passing of a season is something that is felt. The Noongar calendar creates respect for the land in relation to natural fertility cycles and land and animal preservation.

Disclaimer: it is important to recognise that there are different spellings of Noongar and Noongar words and that it is an oral language. On our website, we have consistently used the spelling Noongar and we respectfully include all people in the southwest