Australian Plants and Flowers, Nature
Comments 8

Makuru is Blue

Andersonia Lehmanniana Kalamunda NP Western Australia

The Western, Gregorian or Christian calendar is the most used calendar in the world, with twelve months and four seasons dividing each year. This is no different in Australia, where it was introduced by European settlers. However, the Noongar of Australia’s South West use a six season calendar, based on the emergence of plants and animals rather than solar cycles or dates, and the seasons therefore can be longer or shorter. More importantly, the Noongar were guided by them, as they provided crucial clues and information for when to substainably hunt, gather and take care of country.

Blue Lechenaultia biloba Mundy Regional Park Perth Hills Western Australia

Blue Leschenaultia (Leschenaultia biloba)

Purple Flag Patersonia occidentalis Beelu NP Perth Hills Western Australia

Purple Flags (Patersonia occidentalis)

When living in the forest we experienced the significance of the Noongar calendar, and realised how far city dwellers are removed from the natural world. Throughout the years I have mentioned and used the names of the Noongar seasons in several posts, but realised they were never explained within their context (courtesy South West Aboriginal Land and Sea Council):

Birak (Dec-Jan) – Dry and hot – Season of the Young

Bunuru (Feb-Mar) – Hottest part of the year – Season of Adolesence

Djeran (Apr-May) – Cooler weather begins – Season of Adulthood

Makuru (Jun-Jul) – Coolest and wettest time of the year – Fertiliy season

Djilba (Aug-Sep) – Mixture of wet and warmer days – Season of Conception

Kambarang (Oct-Nov) – Longer dry periods – Season of Birth

The rains have come early this year and we have already entered Makuru. This cold and wet season is associated with the colours blue (wooyan) and purple, symbolising the rain, but also the many blue and purple coloured flowers emerging around us.

 

8 Comments

  1. This is really interesting! I’ve always been fascinated by calendars and time in general (my next book is about time actually). Thanks for teaching me something new. Cheers

  2. We really ought to learn from these kinds of traditions and beliefs, our “western, civilised” and, lets be honest, material outlook on the world has disconnected us from that which we need most to survive!

    • You got it, Dries. Fortunately, indigenous knowledge about food, medicine and land management is increasingly shared with and used by businesses and governments across Australia. One of the biggest success stories is the traditional burning of the land by the Warddeken community (Arnhem Land), generating less destructive fires and reducing damage and carbon emissions. The saved emissions through this so-called Savannah burning are now purchased by a large multinational energy company to offset emission elsewhere. It proves there is money to be made in conservation!

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