It’s Djilba, the time of second rains when the wattles are blooming to signal the start of wildflower season in the Perth region.
Elder Nev lit a fire for a Smoking Ceremony and welcomed us to Country, inviting everyone to breathe the smoke and invite good spirits to come and sit with us as he spoke of the Noongar people’s connection to Boodja (Country). He shared stories on the history of Kalamunda and how the Noongar people lived during Djilba, hunting for Yonga (kangaroo), Weitj (emu) and Koomal (possum), and how there were eggs available because the large birds were nesting.
We set out on a short walk where Elder Nev showed us Budjan (Parrot Bush) and spoke of how it could be made into a sweet drink and the gum could be chewed to stop hunger. There was Mardja (Bloodroot), which is hot like chilli if eaten when uncooked and will turn your tongue blue. And the Balga (Grass Tree) with its long flower spikes that could be used to make walking sticks or fishing spears. The Bardie (small grubs) that live in the Balga roots can be eaten, as can the young leaf shoots from the centre of the tree.
The walk led us down to a small creek along the Bibbulmun Track where Mick Davis from the City of Kalamunda told us of the amazing community rehabilitation work being done and the activity we’d be doing that morning. Soon everyone was collecting large fallen logs and branches to line the creek with and create a pool for birds, frogs, and insects. We shored up the branches with coir logs, soil and mud from the creek, securing the newly constructed dam into place with stakes.
After the work was done, we enjoyed morning tea and got to sample some delicious quandong jam from Maalinup Aboriginal Gallery. Now is a perfect opportunity to visit Jorgensen Park and walk the Bibbulmun Track, seeing the wildflowers and listening to the birds as they bustle about and prepare for their chicks to hatch.
The Djilba Walk and Stream Care Activity was jointly coordinated by Perth NRM and the City of Kalamunda as part of the Noongar Six Seasons Walks – facilitating Country and Culture connections project supported by funding from the Western Australian Government’s State NRM Program.
The next Noongar season of Kambarang will be celebrated at the Cockburn Wetlands Education Centre on Saturday, 9 November and registrations for this event will open soon so keep an eye the Perth NRM website and Facebook pages.