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Ngan'gi seasons calendar

The Ngan'gi seasons calendar was developed by key knowledge-holders of the Ngan'gi language from Nauiyu Nambiyu and CSIRO, as part of a Tropical Rivers and Coastal Knowledge project on Indigenous socio-economic values and rivers flows in northern Australia1.

The seasonal cycle recorded on the calendar closely follows the cycle of native annual speargrass (Sarga intrans), with many of the 13 seasons identified and named according to speargrass life stages.

For example, the season known as 'Wurr wirribem dudutyamu' occurs when speargrass seed heads are swollen and are hanging heavily. The term 'taddo' refers to the sounds of the seed heads knocking together as they start to open up, and indicates that the rainy season is nearing its end.

The Ngan'gi seasons calendar represents a wealth of Indigenous ecological knowledge. The development of the calendar was driven by a community desire to document seasonal-specific knowledge of the Daly River and its wetlands, including the environmental indicators that act as cues for bush tucker collection.

The calendar also addresses community concern about the loss of traditional knowledge, as older people from the language group pass away and younger people no longer speak Ngan'gi as a first language.



  1. Emma Woodward, 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 Sustainable Ecosystems, Darwin.

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