Traditional Life In Tune with the Seasons

The old people told us how to know when different fruits would be coming on

Traditional owners lived their lives in accordance with the seasonal patterns which governed life in the Laura basin, for thousands and thousands of years.

There are five recognized seasons here, marked by shifting winds, thunderstorms and the availability of different foods. In the Gugu-Yalanji language they are as follows.

You have to know those seasons to live with the land. That’s how you know where to find different foods

Kamba Proper Wet Time December to March

When the rains came, the old people went up the high country

When the wattles flower the fish are fat

The wet season rains made travel difficult, so people spent more time together in permanent camps on higher ground. This is when they stayed in the shelters, which are now rock art galleries, high up in the sand stone escarpments.

The wet season was not a time of plenty, the fruits were less varied and harder to find.

Kabakabada Underwater Time April to May

Flooded rivers swept across the lowland plains and became home for swarms of mosquitos. Bush food was hard to find at this time of year and traditional owners relied on stored food, such as nuts and tubers.

Travelling was difficult. It was a time for stories, paintings and maintaining tools.

Buluriji Cold Time June to September

When the rains and floods eased, people made their way back to the plains to disperse into smaller family groups. This was a time of plenty with abundant fruits, vegetables, hunting and fishing.

The native bee hives were full and honey was gathered with delight.

Wungariji Hot Time October to November

As the weather got hotter and the rivers started to dry up, fruits and vegetables become less available. Although yams could still be dug from the earth and meat became a large part of the diet.

Jarramali Storm Time November to mid December

Conditions are hot and humid at this time of year. Water levels are low and rain is scarce. People would be drawn back to permanent rivers and waterholes.

Lighting and thunderstorms signaled and availability of Scrub Turkey eggs and alerted neighbours it was time for communal wallaby hunts.


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