Australia’s climate is diverse. Monsoon tropics, desert, savanna, alpine and temperate regions can all be found in various locations. The sheer diversity of ecological zones negates the concept of a rigid European seasonal calendar for the entire continent. The Aboriginal people of Australia inhabited distinct regions that were usually concordant with geographical and ecological regions. An intimate knowledge of the environment was paramount for survival and the resulting meteorological view of the Aboriginal people is one of great diversity, where the nomenclature of the seasons is often dependant on localised events or resources.
The ability to link events in the natural world to a cycle that permitted the prediction of seasonal events was a key factor in their success. These natural barometers were not uniform across the land but instead used the reaction of plants and animals to gauge what was happening in the environment.
The presences of march flies, for example, was an indication to the Gadgerong people that crocodile eggs could be found, to look for native honey, and it was approaching the late dry season.
As a result of all this, seasonal cycles as described by the various Aboriginal peoples differ substantially according to location.
This produces a far more intricate and subtle overview of Australia’s climate than the 4-season European climate description of Summer, Autumn, Winter and Spring, applied as it is across most areas of the continent.
[Bureau of Meteorology]
[Kakadu National Park]