The cold and wet season is upon us, though the sun still loves to shine, mixing with sporadic showers to create beautiful rainbows across the winter sky.
Makuru is known by the Noongar people as the season of the first rains and fertility. Bird species such as Ravens (Wardong) and the Black Swan (Mali) increase in numbers and quieten down for the breeding season. This was also the time that Noongar people traditionally moved further inland to hunt and the diet was meat heavy as opposed to seafood, including emu (Weitj), bandicoots (Quenda) and possum (Koomal).
Towards the end of Makuru, around late July, residents in the suburb of Peppermint Grove will no doubt notice the white flowers of the peppermint gums that line the verges, emitting a beautiful fragrance and appearance. Tea tree and fungus are also is great abundance in the southern regions.
Kangaroo (Yonga) was an important source of food and materials during Makuru, with its bones being used for tools and scrapers, tendons for bindings and ties and the famous skins used to make coats.
There is so much to learn about the Noongar seasons and culture and the best way to do this is to take part in one of the excellent tours and workshops held by respected Noongar elders in Perth and throughout Western Australia. The following businesses and tour operators are just a few of the suggestions we have here in the Perth Metro area and we highly recommend them to all those who want to learn more about culture, Australian history and the six seasons.
Bindi Bindi Dreaming: Marissa Verma does some great cultural workshops and will also introduce you to the Yonga Booka, a coat made from kangaroo skins turned inside out during this cold wet season. She makes some tasty native treats as well.
Indigenous Tours WA: Join respected elder Dr Noel Nannup and son Greg Nannup on a journey through Wadjuk country. Learn more about the their culture, traditions and spiritual links between land and sea, discover Fremantle's early indigenous history, or tour King's Park to learn more about bush food and medicine.
Wangi Mia, Yanchep National Park: One of our favourite places for reflection and learning, Yanchep National Park is the perfect place for a family day out. To discover more about Wadjuk culture, the tools and instruments such as the didgeridoo, visit the charismatic and very funny Derek Nannup at Wangi Mia.
Urban Indigenous: An award winning private tour operator at both a corporate and educational level, Rebecca Casey and Ron Bradfield along with a truly fantastic team of guides and story tellers, share culture and challenge stereotypes with their workshops and tours with passion and a deep understanding of Aboriginal culture.
Go Cultural: Taking place at Elizabeth Quay, Perth, Go Cultural is the newest aboriginal experience available to those wanting to learn more from those with deeper connections to land and culture. Dreamtime stories, spiritual songs and an introduction to hunting and cooking implements are all part of the experience conducted by traditional owner of Nyungar Boodja, Walter McGuire.
Here's to enjoying these cold wet days and celebrating what the season of Makuru has to offer. We would love to hear more about your experiences and learning through tours like the above.