Taylor Burrell Barnett

Noongar Seasons: Birak First Summer

As a part of our Reconciliation Action Plan journey, TBB is delighted to share insights into the Noongar six seasons.

Birak (first summer, December – January)

During Birak season the rain eases and the warm weather really starts to take hold. The afternoons are cooled by the sea breezes from the south west.

Traditionally this was the fire season. An almost clockwork style of easterly winds in the morning and sea breezes in the afternoon meant that this was burning time of the year for Noongar people and they would burn the country in mosaic patterns. There are several reasons for this, including fuel reduction, increasing the grazing pastures for animals, to aid seed germination and to make it easier to move across the country.

Bunuru (second summer, February – March)

During Bunuru it’s the hottest time of the year and there is little rain. Fortunately, there is some relief from the hot easterly winds along the coastal areas as the cooling sea breeze arrives in the afternoon. This is why Bunuru saw Noongar people living and fishing along the coast, rivers and estuaries – with their diets consisting of freshwater and sea foods.

At this time you will see white flowers in bloom including flowering gums like Jarrah, Marri and Ghost Gums. As the weather continues to be dry and hot, the female Zamia (photo below) which as huge cones experiences their seeds changing from green to bright red, making them attractive to animals. But be careful, these are poisonous!

About the Six Seasons

The Noongar six seasons represents and explains the seasonal changes we see annually. The flowering of many different plants, the hibernation of reptiles and the moulting of swans are all helpful indicators that the seasons are changing. The six seasons of the Noongar calendar do not adhere to fixed dates, but are indicated by distinct changes to plants, animals and weather patterns.

The six seasons in the Noongar seasonal calendar are Birak, Bunuru, Djeran, Makuru, Djilba and Kambarang.

Learn more here