Indigenous Weather Knowledge

D'harawal calendar


The D'harawal Country and language area extends from the southern shores of Port Jackson (Sydney Harbour) to the northern shores of the Shoalhaven River, and from the eastern shores of the Wollondilly River system to the eastern seaboard.


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Hot and dry

Male kangaroos aggressive
Meat forbidden
Weetjellan blooming


Wet becoming cool

Quolls seeking mates
Lillypilly ripens


Cold and frosty

Echidna seeking mates
Burringoa flowering
Shellfish forbidden


Cold and windy

Lyrebird building mounds
Marrai'uo flowering
Boo'kerrikin flowering
Gentle spring rains


Cool becoming warm

Flying foxes appear
Ceremonial time
Miwa Gawaian in flower


Warm and wet

Summer heat starts
Stable weather

Dry weather Wet and cool Echidna Cool and windy Flying Fox Warm and wet

Permission to use the D'harawal seasonal calendar is granted by the D'harawal Traditional Knowledgeholders' and Descendents' Circle.


D'harawal seasons


Navigate back up to the calendar overview with the links at the end of each season.


Time of Burran


Gadalung Marool—hot and dry


Gymea lily, Mark WilgarGymea lily by Mark Wilgar

The behaviour of the male kangaroos becomes quite aggressive in this season, and it is a sign that the eating of meat is forbidden during this time. This is a health factor; because of the heat of the day meat does not keep, and the likelihood of food poisoning is apparent.

The blooming of the Weetjellan (Acacia implexa) is an important sign that fires must not be lit unless they are well away from bushland and on sand only, and that there will be violent storms and heavy rain, so camping near creeks and rivers is not recommended.





Time of Marrai'gang

Wet and cool April-June

Bana'murrai'yung—wet becoming cooler


The time of the year when the cries of the Marrai'gang (Quoll) seeking his mate can be heard through the forests and woodlands, and when the lilly pillys ripen on the trees.

However, when the lilly pillys start to fall, it is time to mend the old warm cloaks from last cold season, or make new ones, and begin the yearly trek to the coastal areas.





Time of Burrugin

Echidna June-late July

Echidna, Luke ShelleyEchidna, Luke Shelley

Tugarah Tuli—cold, frosty, short days


This is the time when the male Burrugin (echidnas) form lines of up to ten as they follow the female through the woodlands in an effort to wear her down and mate with her. It is also the time when the Burringoa (Eucalyptus tereticornis) starts to produce flowers, indicating that it is time to collect the nectar of certain plants for the ceremonies which will begin to take place during the next season.

It is also a warning not to eat shellfish again until the Boo'kerrikin blooms.




Time of Wiritjiribin


Tugarah Gunya'marri—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.

At the end of this time the Boo'kerrikin (Acacia decurrens) flower, which indicates the end of the cold, windy weather, and the beginning of the gentle spring rains.





Time of Ngoonungi

Flying FoxSeptember-October

Murrai'yunggory—cool, getting warmer


The time of the gathering of the flying foxes. A magical time of the year when the flying foxes gather in the darkening skies over D'harawal Lands. They come in from the north-east, the north, the north-west and the west, and swirl over the Sydney area in a wonderful, sky-dancing display just after sunset, before setting off for the night-time feeding grounds to the south.

But it is also a very important ceremonial time for the D'harawals, which begins with the appearance of the splashes of the bright red Miwa Gawaian (Telopea speciosissima) in the bushland.





Time of Parra'dowee


Goray'murrai—Warm and wet


This season begins with the Great Eel Spirit calling his children to him, and the eels which are ready to mate make their way down the rivers and creeks to the ocean.

It is the time of the blooming of the Kai'arrewan (Acacia binervia) which announces the occurrence of fish in the bays and estuaries.