Traditional Knowledge

We work closely with the Noongar community to preserve Noongar booja (country), Kaartadjin (knowledge), and wongin (language), as well as to identify and protect sites of cultural significance.

Aboriginal Heritage

Kaya (hello) and wanju wanju (welcome)

Aboriginal cultural heritage encompasses archaeological sites, artefacts, and places as well as cultural beliefs, dreaming stories, cultural practices, language, and knowledge that are inherited from past generations.

Traditional knowledge is inextricably linked to the environment because it is knowledge that has evolved over thousands of years through Aboriginal peoples interaction with their environment.

At Perth NRM we work closely with the Noongar community to preserve Noongar booja (country), Kaartadjin (knowledge), and wongin (language), as well as to identify and protect sites of cultural significance. In collaboration with Noongar people we encourage not only Noongar participation but also Noongar ownership and control of natural resource management projects.

Our program focuses on preserving the karlup (home or heart country) and the traditional knowledge of Noongar people.

We provide a wide range of services such as:

  • facilitating Aboriginal participation in natural resource management;
  • promoting traditional knowledge;
  • delivering cultural heritage education; and
  • promoting awareness of the Whadjuk Trail Network and Noongar Coastal Trail
What is the link between Aboriginal cultural heritage and natural resource management?

The Noongar people are the traditional custodians of the Swan region in Western Australia. Plants and animals have evolved under Noongar management practices over thousands of years, therefore preserving and recording Noongar cultural heritage and traditional knowledge, and emulating practices or learning from this knowledge can contribute to viable resource use, biodiversity conservation, and resilience of natural ecosystems in contemporary NRM.

We deliver this project as part of our regional funding under the National Landcare Programme.

It aims to increase the engagement and participation of Aboriginal people in NRM (NLP Strategic Outcome 3) through education, increasing participation in on-ground work, and conservation of cultural heritage and traditional knowledge.

  • Delivered by Perth NRM
  • Targets: 400 Aboriginal people participating in NRM
  • 1 cultural heritage asset protected (management plan developed)
  • Increased community awareness of Traditional Cultural Values and Ecological Knowledge

Traditional Ecological Knowledge

Noongar Six Seasons

Perth NRM, together with Elders Vivienne and Morten Hansen conducted a series of guided cultural walks around the Perth region to celebrate the Noongar Six Seasons. Following on from the walks, Vivienne worked with Perth NRM to record knowledge of the Noongar seasons to share with the wider community. The information in the audio recordings for the Six Seasons is the intellectual property of Elder Vivienne Hansen, a Balladong Wadjuk Yorga of the Noongar Nation.

Unlike the four seasons of summer, autumn, winter, and spring that are generally accepted worldwide, the Noongars followed a calendar of six seasons. With each season, the Noongar diet would change to match what they could find while traversing the land.

Each recording starts with an introduction to the Noongar Six Seasons.

Birak – the first summer

This season runs through December and January when the warm days are cooled by afternoon sea breezes. Noongars would burn the land to improve grazing patterns for game animals and improve their mobility while travelling.

Bunuru – the second summer

This is the hottest time of the year, February through March, when there is little to no rain and the Jarrah and Marri trees are in full bloom. During this time, the Noongars would live by the coast, rivers, and estuaries.

Djeran – autumn

Running from April to May, this season is the time for marriages and courtship ceremonies. Several of the Banksia trees would start to flower and the diet changed to incorporate fish, frogs, and turtles.

Makuru – the first rains

Spanning June and July, traditionally this was the time of year to migrate inland. Fattier red-meat animals, such as the yonga (kangaroo) and weitj (emu) were hunted at this time of year and used as bookas (food and clothing) to help ward off the cold.

Djilba – the second rains

During this time, August to September, the wattles come into full bloom and signal the start of the mass blooming of the south-west. The large birds nest to hatch their eggs and popular foods included yongas (kangaroos), weitj (emu)and koomal (possum).

Kambarang – flowering

Through October and November the landscape is carpeted with a rainbow of wildflowers. The Balga (grass tree) starts to bloom and reptiles are out of hibernation, making for good bush tucker.

Noongar Database

We work with Noongar Elders to preserve and record traditional ecological knowledge. This database will help the wider community to:

  • better understand the traditional uses of flora and fauna;
  • assist with on-ground works to help protect native species, as well as any endangered species; and
  • help restore species for future uses such as bush medicines and bush tucker.

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We acknowledge that the cultural knowledge shared on our website is the intellectual property of the Noongar people, from whom this information was shared.

Perth NRM does not endorse its use without permission from the Noongar people who are its original owners.

Forrestdale Lake: Traditional Ecological Knowledge

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This project is supported by Perth NRM, through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program.

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