Monday, July 15, 2013

Looking forward to Sprinter - Tugarah gunya'marra season

It has been a windless and sometimes wet Winter in Sydney with fewer sailing opportunities. We are hanging out for some more reliable wind in August, a season known as the 'Sprinter' at the Botanic Gardens and Tugarah gunya'marra by the D’harawal people.

The seasons recognised by Aboriginal communities vary across Australia, and are based on changes in wildlife and vegetation. However, since European occupation, the 'traditional' view of the weather has been that of the Northern Hemisphere, with four seasons; Spring, Summer, Winter and Autumn.  
In the Sydney area, koalas fighting signify
hot weather approaching. (Pic. NPWS)

More recently Scientist Dr Tim Entwisle, at Sydney's Royal Botanic Gardens  has  developed his own five-season model for Australia's central east.  In his model , spring begins a month early in August, when many native plants flower. Named 'sprinter', it lasts two months, and is followed by Sprummer a four-month-long summer beginning in December. 

The traditional owners of the  D’harawal Country and language area (from southern shores of Sydney Harbour, to the Shoalhaven River and  the Wollondilly River) have an even more refined system of six seasons, documented by Frances Bodkin, a respected D’harawal Elder  and author of the book: "D’harawal Seasons and Climate Cycles".

D’harawal Seasons 

Coming soon the D’harawal Season of Tugarah gunya'marra, cold and windy.
'The lyrebirds' calls ring out through the bushland as he builds his dancing mounds to attract his potential mates. It is the time of the flowering of the Marrai'uo (Acacia floribunda) which is a sign that the fish are running in the rivers. Boo'gul the marsupial mouse mates and dies.
The season ends with Boo'kerrikin (Acacia decurrens) flower, which indicates the end of the cold, windy weather, and the beginning of the gentle spring rains.'