Bonar or in English the six Noongar seasons are Djilba, Djeran, Birak, Bunuru, Makuru and Kambarang.
- See Uncle Noel Nannup in "Guided by nature", an ABC News production by ABC News weather reporter Tyne Logan about the Noongar seasons.
The six bonar was very important, aiding in the gathering of plant, merenj wer animal dartj depending on the time of year and climate. In this way Noongar lived in harmony with the boodjar in a sustainable manner maintaining the plentifulness of these resources for future generations. Aboriginal peoples across Australia developed their own calendars based il the climate in their lands. This indigenous knowledge is very useful in anticipating the weather wer is being collated by the Bureau of Meteorology.
The four seasons brought by Wadjela do not map exactly onto the six bonar of Noongar boodja. The Wadjela seasons are Winter: January - March, Spring: April - June, Summer: July - September, Autumn: October - December. The Noongar bonar are really determined by significant seasonal changes in weather or when particular plants flower, etc., but by convention now are matched to the months, two at a time. If you want to have an idea of what the weather will be like months ahead then learn the Noongar bonar. See attached table to highlight the contrast between Noongar seasons and British seasons.
The Noongar bonar are as follows:
August wer September from late winter to early spring. Noongar People knew it was the bonar of Djilba when the wattles come into full bloom wer signal the start of the mass blooming of the south-west. The large birds nest to hatch their eggs wer the main source of food included Yonga (Grey Kangaroo), Weitj (Emu) wer Kelang, Koomal (Common Brushtail Possum).
Some boroong (rain) and nyidiny (cold) clear kedala (days). Beginning of warmer periods. Noongar collect seeds and hunt bwoka (animals).
Period of decreasing rain wer warming from October to November. Also wildflower season.
The sixth bonar of the calendar, Kambarang is also known as the bonar of birth. It is getting warmer wer there's lots of wildflowers. There are lots of yellow wattles in flower, along with some of the Banksias wer lots of little flowering plants such as the Kurulbrang (Kangaroo Paw) wer Orchids. Koorlbardi (Magpie) will also be out protecting their nests wer their babies, wer Kardar mokiny (Reptiles) start to wake from their winter sleep.
Beginning of dry, hot season. Noongar koorliny (go to) warden (ocean). Ngardanginy (hunt, creep after) kwiya (frogs), booyi (long neck tortoise) and dil (crayfish in swamps).
Birak[edit | edit source]
Birak is the first summer wer the bonar of the young from December through to January This bonar is referred to as the burning bonar where Aboriginal people would do 'controlled' burns in a mosaic pattern. This process is essential for environmental growth wer regeneration. The banksias are now in flower which attracts the bronze wing pigeons which are a stable resource of food for the season.
Noongar would naariny (burn) marlark (bush) while still a little moist to force out barna (animals).
With nyit (little) boroong (rainfall), many families would koorliny (move, go to) bilya (rivers) and inlets for djildjit (fishing) and kabi (water).
Through the cool periods of April wer May.
A welcome change from the karlang (hot) bonar, Noongar people continued seed collection and djildjit (fishing).
Roughly through June and July, the first rains and the beginning of winter. Noongar would be in the hills now.
Bonar koobarniny boroong djart (season with big rain fall). Generally highest rainfall of all seasons, fills inland kabi (water) supplies. Barna (animals) are hunted for bwoka (skins / cloak).
Noongar custom, culture and lore[edit | edit source]
Noongar custom and lore expresses that Noongar must take only what they need from boodja (country) to preserve balance of lifecycles. Care of boodja ensures a rich diversity of diet for the Noongar people and ensured that boodja provided life essentials such as; boorn (trees) which provided tools, gidjie (weapons), koorin (medicine), mia mia (shelter), mereny (food), and karl (fire), all important to survival. All parts of the boodja have a reason for being and they are all important to Noongar culture, customs and lore.
Kongal Marawar Noongar koortaboodjar kwedjang balang djinang ngolanga boodja (South-west is Noongar heartland, for a long time they have looked after country)
Nadja bonar ngoongoor Noongar - What the seasons give
- Mia Mia - shelter
- kabi - water
- beeliar (rivers), gabbi darbal (estuaries), keip (fresh waters), moomboyet (sea)
- mereny - food
- yonga (kangaroo), kwer (wallaby), yakkan (turtle), yerdarap (duck), djildjit (fish), meriny (vegetables),
- kodja (axe) and mullers (flat stones) - tools
- gidjie ngardanginy - spears for hunting
- bwoka (cloak) and choota (bag) - cloth made from kangaroo skin
- karl (fire) is revered in the Noongar culture and is used for:
- booyi (smoke), kop (charcoal), yoort (ash), bridal (coals)
- balga (grass tree) is used for starting fires, resin, pulp, shoots and flowers:
- Resin: highly flammable, used to start fires, as a glue agent, to tan kangaroo and possum hides and relieving sinus problems with its smoke
- Pulp: was chewed to alleviate an upset stomach
- Flowers: used to make sweet drinks, with the flower spikes carried as torches to spark the next camp fire and as fishing spears
- Shoots: were eaten
Noongar people identify marakeny bonar throughout the calendar year by the following changes; weather patterns, djert (bird) behaviour, niran (plant) cycles and the djinda (stars) 1, 2. Bonar plays an important role in the way Noongar care and preserve boodja (country) as it provides a clear pattern of niran (plant) and barna (animal) ecosystems and life-cycles. For 45,000 years Noongar people have gathered kaartdijin (knowledge) of bonar by tracking the weather patterns of the South-West of Australia – Noongar boodja. Since colonisation the British seasons have been commonly used to describe the Western Australian weather pattern.
The introduced European bonar - Spring, Summer, Autumn wer Winter - do also work in Noongar boodjar as the boodjar has a Mediterranean climate, named after the Mediterranean sea between Africa wer Europe. The Noongar bonar take account of typical weather patterns, which the European bonar obviously overlook. However, neither the four European bonar nor the six Noongar bonar map exactly to the arbitrary divisions of months, so when we say Djilba is August wer September nidja is only a guide, Djilba literally translates as the 'grassy time', when the preceding months of rainfall are reflected in the wealth of vegetation now growing - so when the vegetation blooms is the start of Djilba, not necessarily the start of August.
- "Nyoongar calendar". Bureau of Meteorology. Retrieved 3 September 2017
- Marissa Verma. "The Noongar Seasons". Perth Region NRM. YouTube. Retrieved 6 May 2023
- Tyne Logan. "Guided by nature". ABC News. 31 Mar 2023. Retrieved 6 May 2023
- Kaartdijin Noongar - Noongar Knowledge - Food. Pub South West Aboriginal Land & Sea Council. Retrieved 18 July 2016
- "An introduction to Noongar History and Culture". Archived 11 April 2013. Retrieved 16 January 2017
- Kaartdijin Noongar - Noongar Knowledge - Language. Pub South West Aboriginal Land & Sea Council. Retrieved 18 July 2016
- Kaartdijin Noongar - Noongar Knowledge - Noongar Word List. Pub South West Aboriginal Land & Sea Council. Retrieved 18 July 2016
- "Indigenous Weather Knowledge". Bureau of Meteorology. Retrieved 3 September 2017
- Ben Deacon and Kate Doyle. "Changing weather: Understanding Australia through ancient Indigenous knowledge of seasons". ABC News. Published 1 September 2017. Retrieved 3 September 2017
- Hansen, Vivienne and John Horsfall. 2016. “Noongar Bush Medicine: Medicinal plants of the south-west of Western Australia.” Crawley WA: UWA Publishing
- "Six seasons Noongar Calendar". Publisher Perth NRM. Archived 1 August 2016. Retrieved 4 July 2017
- "The Noongar season of Kambarang begins". publisher Department of Aboriginal Affairs. Retrieved 27 August 2016
- "Aboriginal seasons". publisher Karla Koondarn Collection. Retrieved 27 August 2016
- Karla Arnall. "Second summer arrives in South West Noongar calendar". ABC Great Southern WA. publisher Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 27 August 2016
- South West Aboriginal Land and Sea Culture. 2018. Kaartdijin Noongar – Noongar Knowledge: Connection to Country. https://www.noongarculture.org.au/connection-to-country/
- South Coast Seasons Calendar. 2018. South Coast Seasons Calendar: Noongar seasons of the south coast of Western Australia. https://www.rainbowcoast.com.au/areas/rainbowcoast/seasons.htm
- British Council. 2018. Learn English Kids: Seasons. http://learnenglishkids.britishcouncil.org/en/reading-practice/seasons
- Michael Hopkin. "Lovely Djilba weather we're having: a guide to the Noongar seasons". WAtoday. 12 September 2013. Retrieved 4 July 2017