Fire & Seasons Calendars
Developed collaboratively with Aboriginal communities across Australia
Gamilaroi Fire and Seasons Calendars
Walhallow, Gunnedah and Tamworth
New South Wales, Australia
The Gamilaroi / Gomeroi region of NSW represents the second largest language group and Aboriginal nation in NSW. Across the region are many skilled cultural practitioners who ensure that the traditional and contemporary practice of Gamilaroi / Gomeroi language, storytelling, song, dance, fine arts, weaving, tool making and ecological knowledge is sustained and grown, and taught to upcoming generations. These practices have survived the impacts of colonisation and the dislocation of Aboriginal people from their traditional lands, languages, and ways of life, thanks to those who fought, who resisted, and who remembered, in order to pass on this knowledge (Stead 2022).
Amongst this mix of rich cultural knowledge and practice, cultural fire knowledge and the practice of cultural burning has been impacted. Interest in cultural burning practices has increased since the devastating fire season across Australian in 2019/2020, and there is potential for this to represent cultural and economic development opportunities for Aboriginal communities if they can develop an appropriate depth of knowledge (Stead 2022).
The Gamilaroi calendars were developed through a series of workshops which were designed to strengthen traditional fire and land management, providing a practical introduction and foundational tools in Fire and Land Management to three Gamilaroi communities – Tamworth, Walhallow and Gunnedah. The project revitalised traditional Aboriginal fire knowledge; increased understanding of local landscapes, flora and fauna and how these interact with cultural burning; and increased understanding of different types of cultural burns. This was achieved by holding three Indigenous-led workshops incorporating cultural burning education and on-site demonstrations on different areas of land at each of the three communities and developing a fire and seasons calendar for each community.
Tingha Fire and Seasons Calendar
Mooki and Bassendean,
New South Wales, Australia
Working collaboratively with the Tingha Aboriginal community, we developed Wii (Fire) based on the amazing ecosystems and cultural values at Mooki Bassendean. The calendar provides biocultural indicators to guide the reintroduction of cultural burning.
Yugul Mangi Faiya En Sisen Kelenda
Yugul Mangi Fire and Seasons Calendar
South East Arnhem Land Indigenous Protected Area,
Northern Territory, Australia
‘We are showing, not even Australia, but worldwide that we are managing our country with the knowledge that has been passed down from generation to generation by our grandfathers and ancestors, and still is. Because we got modern tools, like using helicopter to burn, all season matches, drip torch, we are still using our same knowledge- when to burn, how to burn… We are doing the burning because our grandfathers did it before. Now they are gone, they taught us and we take note, now we are teaching our children, our future rangers, we are teaching them to take over our ranger program including fire.Fire management in our ranger program is very important because fire brings back life’ – Elder and Ranger Clarry Rogers.
Winba = Fire
Banbai Fire and Seasons Calendar
Wattleridge Indigenous Protected Area
Guyra, New South Wales
Developed over a decade, Winba = fire collates information from Indigenous and non-Indigenous knowledge systems, to provide 'right-way' science to support cultural burning. For more info, read our paper in Austral Ecology or visit the BoM's Indigenous Weather Knowledge page
Webra = Fire
Wahlabul Fire and Seasons Calendar
Jubullum / Tabulam, New South Wales
'Cultural burning… It’s part of the Lore- knowing how to do it and when to do it- it’s all part of being Aboriginal' - Roy Bell, Traditional Owner.
Developed with the Wahlabul people in the western Bundjalung area, this calendar reflects the lives and cultural burning practices of the mob known as the 'turtle-divers' in northern NSW.