Indigenous Weather Knowledge

Maung calendar


The Maung country and language area are on the Goulburn Islands, off the north coast of Arnhem Land, in the Northern Territory.



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Heavy rain
November-February: main wet season with northwest monsoons

"We get a little bit of rain, not as much as Oenpelli.
It floods everywhere."


Cold weather
March-April: end of wet season, northwest-southeast winds
June-July: early dry season, southeast trade winds

"It gets windy and we make fire to make us warm.
We go fishing more because we feel cold and it
warms us up from the sand and sun."


Hot and humid
August: strong southeasterly winds
September-October: southeasterly and northwesterly winds

"When it starts to warm up we feel hot and sweaty."

Heavy rain Cold and windy Monsoon

Permission to publish the Maung seasonal calendar is granted by the Senior Traditional Owners of South and North Goulburn Islands (2013).

Maung can also be written as Mawng which is the old way of spelling. The West Arnhem Regional Council requested the use of Maung for the Seasonal Calendar (2014).


Maung seasons


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


You can view the Maung seasonal calendar as:


Tumbnail of Maung Seasonal Wheel


Heavy rainRain time: November-February

Kamarlkpakpa aparligaj ta walij
Bushfire burning, new shoots of bush food.


Signs it is Walmatpalmat time

Lots of rain
"We feel a bit sick with 'flu and colds." Gwenda
"Rain, that's where the water comes from, the rain, fills up the tank and that's just what we drink. The wells are still on the island but now we stay at home and get the water from taps." Tanya
Cyclones (Marlu)
"We can't go in the boat (to North Goulburn) because we know its dangerous. That's why we can't go when the winds come, like a cyclone comes. Cause we know lots of people they used to die, you know." Miriam
Plants are shooting
"There are some wild berries. Some of them can make you sick. But most of them (bush foods) are strong and healthy for you." Renfred
Tamarind flowers
They look like green leaves
"There are lots of them at Wigu. The old people planted them from the Maccassans." Caleb and Audrey
Mango fruit
"We climb up and pick it when it is soft." Rosharlia.
"If you wait for it to fall it might split open." Caleb
Wild apple fruits
"It looks red like an apple with a brown stick stem. It tastes not as sweet as a shop apple and a bit chilli." Nikkita
Green plum fruit
"Green plum is at the airport and North Goulburn too. It tastes sweet and a little bit chilli. It has to be washed clean to the dust off." Audrey
Hairy yam shoots
"You look for a little hill. We got to dig it up with a steel bar."Caleb
Karnjawarra moulting
Crabs moulting
"They are trying to grow big so they go soft and then they grow a new one. Caleb
"...we get big mob crab at Wigu and Whalebone. It is favourite spot." Jonah

The best time for hunting and collecting...

Goanna by Ceredwyn EalantaGoanna by Ceredwyn Ealanta

Manpiri (turtle) eggs
"We get turtle eggs from North Goulburn. We look for where the sand is rough and follow the trail. We use a stick and stab it in the sand. We smell the stick to see if it smells like turtle egg. We dig with our hands because a shovel would bust the eggs. Sometimes goannas steal the eggs." Thomas
"I go every wet season and look for turtle eggs." Donna
Wuta (mullet)
"During the wet season it's the best time for mullet...and it's also good for to catch prawns." Renfred
Kawirrwa (striped scat)
"If it shoots us we will feel pain all night and all day. We get green leaf from Munmunguy plant and put it on the fire then press it really hard on the pain and the next day it gets better." Gwenda
Witjirrk (yellow tail grunter)
"We use it for bait." Rosharlia
Wirlmu (barramundi)
"My favourite fish is barramundi. My uncle is the best cook. He puts it on the fire. I eat it by itself." Devon
Marrwakara (goanna)
Fatter at this time.
"Only young girls and boys can eat goanna. If older girls eat it they get scratch marks." Nikkita
Nawariyi (whistle duck)
"Find them at the creeks and billabong when we go hunting around the Island. We eat them they taste like chicken. They smell like pelican." Ainsley
Marlajak (tiger prawns)
"You can catch them (ocean and creeks). They have claws (small). It tastes a bit like crab." Douglas


Kiyap (fish)
Kowirrwa, nurulyak, wirlmu (barramundi), martali (mangrove jack), wuta (mullet), wunjarraj, wirtjirr, arilka (parrotfish), alapanja, mumpulimaruny, wurrnguk, ngunymin, makumaku, nankurta, jirnumpu, jakalang, katapanga, ngurrkpartpart, mungurl-ut, nganyjapirn, nayuma, mirrk, narut, wanyjarlarrk, kawirra (striped scat), witjirrk (yellow tail grunter).


Iyigi (shellfish)
Kalanyun, mortpoj, wurlngun, kurrmala, ngartjerr, namatpa, naminga, mirarlalu, nganypam, miwuna, wuki, ngarlwak (mud mussel), umunpanji, mirarlalu, maminga, ngarnji, yarlkaj.
Inyarlgen (turtles)
Manpiri (turtle/turtle eggs), alapika, majirnti.


Marlajak (tiger prawns), morngany, kanyingan, wirlnguk.
Yagaru (sharks)
Wurkirnkirn, mun nuyu, kuywala (stingray), murtij.
Marntingunyuny (dugong), karlurri.


Mayuwirlkm, kurnpi, wardwardang, iru, ngunymuk, marnpi (billy goat plum), wawurluj, mirlak, wunkurlurrk, meperrnperrk, wulpay, karwuluk (hairy yam shoots), warraka, pajo, miyulum (bush yam), mayuparl (bush potato), malngpi, kuli, ngarntowl, yuwak, wurrakak, winyjurlpu, winyjulpu, wukurrminyjilang, walurru (eucalyptus).





Cold and windyCold weather time: March-July

Kamawurnkartparra apururrk walij la karlurri
Flowers blooming, we know there will be sugar bag (wild honey)


Signs it is Wumulukuk time

Knock 'em down winds
"When it gets dry, the long grass falls over in the big winds." Nikkita
Jampang (tamarind)
"Tastes a bit sweet and has seeds inside. The seeds are round like a crooked football." Sharnthea
Itpalk (wattle tree)
Has flowers, which means it is the end of the wet
Walurru flowers (eucalyptus)
Attracts wild bees which make sugar bag
"People go to see the round sugar bag. We cut it with knives or hammers or dig it out." Audrey
Grass and trees dry
Can burn off: Kamarlkpakpa (grass fire)
"We burn off to clear the area so there is no dangerous stuff like snakes." Nikkita

The best time for hunting and collecting...

Sea turtle by Ceredwyn EalantaSea turtle by Ceredwyn Ealanta

Manpiri (turtle)
Getting fat and ready for mating
"Turtle's back fat tastes like T-bone steak. We only take a few turtles, because we take too many we might waste them or no more for the
future." Caleb
"Sometimes, when the night is good, we go out and spear turtle and dugong (Marntingunyuny) on the boat." Renfred
Arilka (parrotfish)
"The bones are blue colour. It is a rainbow colour on the outside." Douglas
Yurrmuyurrmu (blue salmon)
"It has too many Iyayik (bones). You might choke on them. You gotta take the bones out." Caleb
Imartuk (black brim)
"It is easy to catch using longbum (Wumunpanji) (as bait)." Caleb
Martali (mangrove jack)
"It's yuck, we don't like it. Tastes like no taste." Caleb
Kuywala (stingray)
"We shoot a spear at the stingray when we see a circle and tail wobbling in the water. We follow the tail and see the dust from the stingray digging up the sand. We have to look out for crocodile so it doesn't eat us, and also the spike on the top of the stingray. It really hurts if it stabs you." Aiden
Marruny (bush banana)
"They are near the airport. They taste sour but look like small green bananas." Rosharlia
Miyulum (bush yam)
"We start collecting Miyulum during April to July because that's the time for harvesting." Jenny
Mayuparl (bush potato)
"Tastes like English potato but the English potato is bigger." Audrey
Karnjawarra (crab)
"Crab is paired in hole for mating - one is soft." Rosharlia

March, April, and part of May

Kiyap (fish)
Lungurran, wurrnguk, wuta (mullet), mumpuli-marruny (bush banana), wampa, wirlmu (barramundi), nurulyak, kuywala (stingray), nangurnta, yurrmuyurrmu (blue salmon), imartuk (black brim), wumunpanji (longbum).
Iyigi (shellfish)
Arrayi (black lip oyster), wuki, murriny, karrarnarn (milky oyster), miralalu, maminga, namatpa.
Inyarlgen (turtles)
Manpiri (turtle/turtle eggs), munma, majirnti, alapika mangily, kurlajuk.
Kanyan-wirlnguk, nganyjarlwiny, marlajak (tiger prawns), mawuga, alurrwi.
Animals and birds
Najarrarri, marrwakara (goanna), kuntarruk, karrak, mirrijpu-kurlajuk, mirrinyak, kurlajuk, nawariyi (whistle duck), kujpagarri, kuntarruk, mirnawt, marntingunyuny (dugong).
Miyulum (bush yam), mayuparl (bush potato), kuli, warraka, wulpay, karlwuluk, wirlamarr, yuwak, wirlan, kantawurlulu, awalk, kupulak, maryawu, wanta, itpalk, karrawu, pajo, yuwak, inyjinyakaj, ngurlurrumumu, jampang (tamarind fruits), Itpalk (wattle tree), walurru (eucalyptus).

Part of May, June, and July

Fish - Kiyap (fish)
Manyjurruk, katapanga, jakalang, wurrut, wunjarraj, arilka (parrotfish), martali (mangrove jack), lungurran, wuta mullet), ngunyrrim, najapin, wurralkurrulk, mampui-maruny, wirlnu, nayurna, najapirr, wurringuk, wanyjarlarrk, yurrmuyurrmu (blue salmon), imartuk (black brim), wumunpanji (longbum).
Iyigi (shellfish)
Arrayi (black lip oyster), marninga, wuki, ngartjirr, ngarlwak (mud mussels), karrarnarn (milky oyster), miwuna.
Inyarlgen (turtles)
Manpiri (turtle/turtle eggs)-kurlajuk, alapika-kurlajuk, marrjarn.
Yagaru Wampa (sharks and relatives)
Muri nuyu, murtij. Kinyaka wungijalk, kinyaka tuka yirnkirrk, arlitju kalakalak (kurrwirlku).
Karnjawarra (crab), kanyugan, alurri, marlajak (tiger prawns), nganyjarlwiny, wirlnguk.
Animals and birds
Kuntarruk, maruny, ngalagayu, najarrarri, karrak mangalpitan, marntingunyuny (dugong), manuk, marwakara, nawariyi (whistle duck), manimunak (magpie goose), mirrinyak, wutput, wirlitpirlit, makakurr.
Mawugany, malngi, marnpi (billy goat plum), miyulum (bush yam), mayuparl (bush potato), wirlamarr, karwuluk (hairy yam shoots), wirlan, milirriny, walurra, nanykarrgarr, kapaja, mawulu, wirnparr, jampang (tamarind), itpalk (wattle tree).




MonsoonRain time: November-February

Kamarlkpakpa aparligaj ta walijj
Bushfire burning, new shoots of bush food.


Signs it is Kinyjapurr time

Billy goat plum flower by Ceredwyn EalantaBilly goat plum flower by Ceredwyn Ealanta

More clouds, getting darker, storms start, rougher seas, getting hotter
"Somewhere middle October through to January, when the new shoots start, the whales start to travel. My in-laws used to tell my husband to not go night-time hunting for turtle between North and South Goulburn Island because the whale (Nawunawu) hears the motor and comes to see what's happening. But the global warming thing is changing things." Jenny
Wardwardang (wild apple flowers)
"They are red on the outside and have a big black seed in the middle." Gwenda
Marnpi (billy goat plum flowers)
"Tastes sweet and a little bit chilli. Its green and black seeds on the inside. We don't eat the seeds." Sharnthea
Mayuparl (bush potato starts to shoot)
"We look for a spiky flower. It is only small so it is hard to find." Audrey

The best time for hunting and collecting

Arrayi (black lip oyster) and Karrarnar (milky oyster)
"They look like rocks. To get them off we hit them on the side." Audrey
Ngarlwak (mud mussels)
"You have to look for a triangle shape in the mud." Sharnthea
"I go...looking for mud mussel because all the time I think now, fresh meat when I go." Donna
Wugi (mangrove worms)
"We find them in old mangrove trees. We crack the branches with a hammer till they break. We eat it raw or cooked by boiling. It tastes like crab." Audrey
Manimunak (magpie goose)
"In the old days, the people built a trap on the water. The people sat inside and put food on top. When the geese came to eat the food, the people would pull them into the trap and kill them. They would wait till they had enough to fill the trap and then they would go home and share them." Jenny

August and September

Kiyap (fish)
Wurrulkurrulk, impurrk, yarri, ngunymin, mungurl-ut, wurringul, najapirn, imartuk (black brim), nayurna, wirlmu (barramundi), wurrut, arilka (parrotfish), jakalang, wunjarraj.
Yagaru (sharks)
Iyigi (shellfish)
Marninga, karrarnarn (milky oyster), ngarlwak (mud mussels), arrayi (mlack lip oyster).
Kanyngan, morngany.
Inyarlgen (turtles)
Manpiri (turtle/turtle eggs) - kurlajuk, alapika-kurlajuk, munma-kurlajuk, majirnti-kurlajuk.
Mawulu, milirriny, ammarra, kupulak, wimparr, wirlan, wardwardang (wild apple flowers).
Manimunak (magpie goose), nawunawu (whale).

September and October

Kiyap (fish)
Nangurta, martali (mangrove jack), wuta (mullet) (kurlajuk), ngunymin, wurrnguk, mumpulimarung, ngurrkpartpart, jakalang, nayuma, wurrut, anilka wirlmu (barramundi).
Yagaru Wampa (sharks and relatives)
Wurrkirnkirn, kuywala (stingray), arlitja.
Iyigi (shellfish)
Inypajiyiny, ngartjerr, namatpa, kalanyun, kurmala, ngarnji, yarlkaj, umunpanij, mortpoj, miwuna.
Karnjawarra (crab).
Warraka, karwuluk (hairy yam shoots), kuli, yuwak, wardwardang (wild apple flowers).
Marrwakara (goanna), nawunawu (whale).