On a cool April morning at the Herdsman Lake Wildlife Centre, Perth NRM partnered with Yelakitj Moort Nyungar for a fascinating journey into the Noongar season of Djeren. Though Djeren is the season of First Rains, there wasn’t a cloud in the sky as twenty community participants were greeted by Elder Neville Collard conducting a traditional Welcome and smoking ceremony.
Neville showed participants how the green seed pods from the Wilyawa tree (Red-eye wattle) could be used to make soap and acted as protection from insect bites, and how the bark from the Bibool (Swamp Paperbark) was used to wrap and cook food, build Mia Mia (tents), and used as cushioning for beds. Participants had to watch out for the Moyop (Tiger Snake) that could hide in the trees, swim through the water, or lay on the path to warm up in the sun. Neville also described how the Ngarnak (Joint rush) was used as snorkels to sneak up on and capture Yerderap (ducks) for dinner.
“I really enjoyed the Djeren walk at Herdsman Lake. It has been really interesting to learn all about the Noongar people and how they lived. I learnt so much from listening to Uncle Nev and I have made it into a story. I am doing a story for every seasonal walk” Tahlia Heerey (9 years old), walk participant said.
After the walk concluded, Neville showed participants an array of bush medicines and seeds to grow tucker at home. He shared stories on how the Noongar people moved across the land in accordance with the Noongar six seasons, following the food that grew and how water was found during dry times. Some participants stayed on to join in a yarning circle where we talked about how the land had changed, the history of Herdsman Lake, and important practices everyone can do to protect Perth’s lakes into the future.
This walk is part of the Perth NRM Six Season Walks series, which aims to celebrate every Noongar season in an area that the Noongar people would have traditionally resided in at that time of year. The next Six Season walk will be for Makuru at Heirisson Island on Thursday, 7 June from 10 to 11am. Bookings for this walk will open in May.