Traditional knowledge, like that captured in these Indigenous seasons calendars, can tell us much about the ecology of Australia.
CSIRO worked with a range of Indigenous language groups to develop a series of calendars representing seasonal ecological knowledge.
Six of the calendars were developed as part of the Tropical Rivers and Coastal Knowledge program, two as part of an Inspiring Australia Unlocking Australia's Potential grant, two as part of the National Environmental Research Program's Northern Australia Hub, and one as part of CSIRO's Indigenous Livelihoods project.
The calendars demonstrate the wealth of knowledge that Indigenous peoples in Australia hold about the environment.
The groups included:
- Gulumoerrgin/Larrakia people from the Darwin region in the Northern Territory
- Ngan’gi, MalakMalak and Wagiman people from the Daly River region in the Northern Territory
- Tiwi people from the Tiwi Islands, north of Darwin in the Northern Territory
- Kunwinjku people from western Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory
- Gooniyandi and Walmajarri people from the Fitzroy River area in the Kimberley region of Western Australia
- Ngadju people from the Great Western Woodlands region in south-west Western Australia
- Kundjeyhmi people from the Ngurrungurrudjba (Yellow Water) region in Kakadu National Park in the Northern Territory
Documenting the calendars has informed the scientific understanding of the relationships between people and the seasonal cycles of resource availability. In the future the calendars may provide an important baseline for detecting ecological change associated with climate change. They have also had a positive social benefit by making Indigenous knowledge more accessible to school students and the broader community.