Indigenous Weather Knowledge

Yawuru calendar


Yawuru calendarYawuru calendar - click to view big version

The Yawuru calendar shows six seasons. The Yawuru people are the native title holders of the town of Broome, including areas of land and sea in and around the location.




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Wet season
Strong winds


Late summer

Hot season
No wind
High tides, hot



Dry season
No rain
Days hot, nights cool



Cold season
Some fog
Dry winds



Warming season
Days and nights getting hotter


Early Summer

Hot season
Hot time

Wet season Hot season Dry weather Windy Warming Monsoon

Permission to use the Yawuru seasonal calendar is granted by "Yawuru Native Title Holders Aboriginal Corporation RNTBC ICN 7033".


Yawuru seasons


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

Man-gala — wet season

Wet seasonSummer: December-March

Monsoonal weather
Strong winds


The lifestyle for the Yawuru communities during Man-gala

The wet season, when the strong northwest wind brings the rains in from the sea. Man-gala occurs approximately during December to March. The length of the season depends upon the beginning and end of the 'wet'.

People would take shelter in the shelters constructed during Laja. Ropes made from Pindan Wattle would hold down the huts during squalls and cyclones.

Flies and many other insects are everywhere during this time.

The cocky apple and wild pear are now ready to eat. Yams are also plentiful and can be cooked and eaten

Barn swallows and ducks arrive during this time and are building their nests. There are many flying foxes during this time and fly each evening from the mangroves to the fruiting trees. Snakes are in abundance and the grass is growing rapidly with the rainfall. So be careful walking through the grass. There are many lizards out hunting the abundance of frogs but the lizards are thin and tended to be eaten later in the year when they fatten up.

The stingrays are still plentiful but the turtles have moved away. However, the egg clutches can still be collected.





Marrul — hot season

Hot season

Late summer: April

High tides and hot weather.

The lifestyle for the Yawuru communities during Marrul

Crested pigeon by Luke ShelleyCrested pigeon by Luke Shelley

The hot period after the wet season, when the wind is still. This occurs in approximately April.

Marrul is the shortest of the seasons. It begins with the budding of the inland bloodwood and it continues until the southeast winds start to blow.

Marrul is a time when there is hunting on land as the lizards are getting fat and so are easier to catch and provide a plentiful food source. Also there are lots of birds around at this time including the bar shouldered dove, the crested pigeon and the red winged parrot.

The tides are very high during this period and the sea foods such as the stingray are small.

The sand paper fig and the wild prune are fruiting. The latter is eaten also by the flying foxes. Also in fruit is the Gundurung, a mangrove (Avicennia marina).





Wirralburu — dry season

Dry season

Autumn: May

No rain with cool nights and hot days.

The lifestyle for the Yawuru communities during Wirralburu

A cooling time occurring approximately in May. Wirralburu is the beginning of the strengthening south east winds. It is a very dry period. No rain. The days are still hot but there is a cooling and the nights are pleasant.

The flowering of the inland bloodwood indicates the arrival of this season. Many of the acacias begin to flower including the soap tree and pindan wattle. The bush onion bulb can now be eaten.

The lizards are fat and heading underground to hibernate. The kangaroo and agile wallaby are a food source. As are the crested pigeon and the honey eaters





Barrgana — cold season


Winter: June-August

Some fog with dry winds.

The lifestyle for the Yawuru communities during Barrgana

Cold days and nights. It is usually dry but winter rain can fall. Fog also occurs at this time particularly at the beginning and end of the season. The dry wind blows strongly from the southeast off the desert and can bring duststorms.

There is lots of seafood and fish traps are used to catch the now fat salmon and mullet. Dugongs were also hunted.

On the land, the possums, porcupine, wild cat, wallaby and kangaroo are all fat. Bunung and conkerberry are in fruit and there are many bush onion bulbs to eat.





Wirlburu — warming season


Spring: September

The country is warming up.

The lifestyle for the Yawuru communities during Wirlburu

Cockatoo by Luke ShelleyCockatoo by Luke Shelley

The transition period from cool to hot season occurs in September, during which the westerly wind starts to blow. Both days and nights are hotter. Dry time but clouds begin to appear. Dust storms may still occur.

There are many mud skippers and mud creepers around during Wirlburu. They are good bait for catching the abundant reef fish that are all fat during this time such as sea perch, bluebones, rock cod and different varieties of snapper and bream. Also fat are varieities of shellfish such as, mud cockles, pearl meat, mud cockles and mangrove crabs.

On land, it is a good time for catching turkey and collecting their eggs. It is also a good time for collecting the eggs of other birds such as the different snipes. Also, the different cockatoos have had chicks that were easily caught.

The acacia pods dry out and the wild pear is beginning to flower. Bush onions are dried out and inedible.





Laja — hot season


Summer: September-November

Very hot ground
Some inconsistent rain.

The lifestyle for the Yawuru communities during Laja

The hot time and build up to the wet season from October to November, when the days are very warm and the humidity is high. The first rains indicate the end of Laja.

Seed pods of the various acacias: soap tree, pindan wattle, etc have split open. The wild pear and cocky apple are bearing fruit but it is not ripe yet. The white gum trees are flowering and attract the honey fly. The honey fly makes honey nests in the Jigily tree and Inland Bloodwood which is collected and eaten.

Wood and bark from the paperbark is collected for shelters in preparation for the wet. Many plants begin to flower including the mistletoe and billygoat plum.

The many turtles are mating and laying their eggs on the beaches; these include the green turtle, loggerhead turtle, flatback turtle and hawksbill turtle. Laja is the time of many stingrays: the shovelnose, cowtail and coachwhip stingrays are all good, nutritious eating.