The Nyoongar Seasons

The Nyoongar people of Western Australia’s Southwest region have been living in harmony with the land for tens of thousands of years. The longest surviving civilisation on earth, they have a deep understanding of the local ecology and recognise six distinct seasons, each with its unique characteristics and significance.

The six Nyoongar seasons reflect the weather pattern, and the resultant changes to flora and animal life throughout the year.

Birak (December-January):

Birak is the first season of the year, which falls between December and January. It is characterised by hot and dry weather, and it marks the time when the first eucalyptus blossoms begin to appear. The Nyoongar people traditionally use this time to conduct controlled burning of the land to reduce the risk of uncontrolled bushfires later in the year.

Bunuru (February-March):

Bunuru falls between February and March and is the hottest and driest season of the year. This is the time when many animals, such as snakes, lizards, and insects, are most active. The Nyoongar people would traditionally move closer to water sources during this season, as water will become scarce in many areas.

Djeran (April-May):

Djeran falls between April and May and marks the end of the hot weather and start of the cooler months. The nights become fresh and cool and the mornings damp and dewy.

There is occasional rainfall and the first migratory birds start to arrive in many regions spanning the Nyoongar Boodjar.

Djeran is characterised by red flowers and seed cones, with Banksias especially showing their flowers and increased activity from native birds.

Makuru (June-July):

Makuru falls between June and July and is the wettest season of the year. This is when the rains start to arrive, and the temperature drops further. This is the time when many plant species begin to flower, and the rivers and creeks start to flow again.

A good time of the year to travel inland and away from the winds and rain coming in off the coast, Makuru sees waterways and catchments filling. The Nyoongar people’s food sources change from the sea, rivers and lakes to those of the land, namely grazing animals like the kangaroo.

Djilba (August-September):

Djilba falls between August and September and marks the beginning of the warmer months. The temperature starts to rise again, and many animals, such as kangaroos and wallabies, begin to have their young. This is also the time when many plants start to fruit.

Kambarang (October-November):

Kambarang falls between October and November and is characterised by hot and dry weather, similar to the Birak season. However, the difference is that the ground is now covered in flowers, including the wildflowers that Western Australia is famous for. This is a time of plenty, as many animals and plants are at their peak.

Throughout the year, within the Nyoongar Boodjar the landscape undergoes a remarkable transformation. The impact of the changing seasons and weather conditions is reflected in the plants and animals within Western Australia’s Southwest.

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