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Ngan'gikurunggurr (Ngan'gi) knowledge holders from Nauiyu Nambiyu, Daly River, Northern Territory partnered with CSIRO to co-create a seasonal calendar.

The Ngan'gi seasons calendar was co-developed by senior knowledge-holders of the Ngan'gikurunggurr language group residing at Nauiyu, Daly River, and CSIRO. 1

The development of the Ngan'gi Seasons calendar was driven by senior knowledge holder Patricia Marrfurra McTaggart, who wished to document seasonal-specific Ngan'gi ecological knowledge. The aim was to focus on the environmental indicators that act as cues for harvesting of plant and animal resources.

There are thirteen main Ngan'gi seasons recognised in each annual weather cycle.

Ngan'gi seasons calendar

Ngan'gi seasons calendar ©  Indigenous knowledge holders

Many of the seasons follow the life cycle stages of the local dominant spear grass called Wurrmuy (Sorghum intrans). For example, the start of the year begins when last year's Wurrmuy seeds germinate in the early wet season, and the life cycle begins. This season is known as Wutt bengin tyerrfal ('grass seeds sprout').

Once the grass grows and seed heads hang heavy and swollen, the season known as 'Wurr wirribem dudutyamu ('grass cheeks swell')' has arrived.

The following season of Wudupuntyurrutu acknowledges that the 'seeds have burst open'.

Each of the life cycle stages of the Wurrmuy also indicate the availability of different fruits and tubers; the fatness and behaviour of different animals; the availability of recently lain eggs; the height of the river and likelihood of access to favoured fishing sites; as well as the availability of an array of aquatic species

Representing a complex, rich and unique knowledge of seasons, the Ngan'gi Seasons calendar also responds to the concerns of senior language speakers who fear the loss of traditional knowledge as older people pass away, and the loss of opportunities for younger people to learn from the Elders.


  1. Emma Woodward (CSIRO), Patricia Marrfurra McTaggart, Molly Yawulminy, Catherine Ariuu, Dorothy Daning, Kitty Kamarrama, Benigna Ngulfundi, Maureen Warrumburr and Mercia Wawul. 2009. Ngan’gi Seasons, Nauiyu – Daly River, Northern Territory, Australia. CSIRO (Land and Water).

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