Welcome to Noongar Season, Bunuru!

Dated: 15 March 2024


Welcome to Noongar season, Bunuru!

The hottest and driest season of the Noongar calendar, Bunuru typically lines up with the calendar months of February and March and is referred to as the second summer. With recent heat waves, it’s easy to see and feel that this is indeed the second summer! The days often bring scorching heat, with the occasional reprieve of a cool afternoon breeze.

During this second summer, the lakes and dams are at their lowest and the landscape feels dry. For this reason, Bunuru was a time when Noongar family groups would gather by the coast, fishing in freshwater and coastal areas. Freshwater and saltwater fish were a primary food source at this time. With their understanding of the patterns of nature, Noongar people were able to live safely, sustainably and respectfully in relation to the natural cycles of land, plants and animals.

As with all Noongar seasons, Bunuru is heralded by subtle yet consistent changes in our local environment. In Bunuru, the plant world tells us of the shift of season with an abundance of white pom-pom blossoms. Flowering gums, including jarrah, marri and tuart, are draped with soft, lacy blooms. The female Zamia palm, native to the south-west, is also in flower with large floral cones emerging from the centre of the plant, surrounded by a fluffy cotton-wool like substance.

Local birds are particularly active at this time of year as they enjoy the ripe nuts and seeds of jacaranda, sheoak and native trees. These birds are a wonderful reminder of the playfulness of Bunuru, the season of adolescence. Have you noticed the big flocks of pink, white and black cockatoos, flanking tall tree tops and socialising noisily as they enjoy summer’s final bounty? They invite us to consider how we can enjoy the last of summer and come together with our community in a spirit of playfulness, joy and appreciation. 

Remember that we are not separate from nature and just like the earth, it is normal to feel a little depleted after a long hot summer. Take stock of the activities that nourish you, cool you and allow you to regain your energy. For those of us who don’t love the heat, Bunuru can be an uncomfortable season, tempting us to stay inside all day. But every season has its gifts, and the plants and animals of our local environment give us clues on how we can adjust and even thrive in this season. 

Just as it is darkest before the dawn, it is hottest before Summer’s end. As Bunuru starts to draw to a close we are reminded that the long, bright summer is nearly over and cooler days await. Let us enjoy and appreciate the cool relief we find on these final hot days and make the most of summer’s last hurrah.