• Cranbourne
  • Melbourne
  • RBG

Discover the Kulin Seasons

When most of us think of seasons, we think of four – summer, autumn, winter and spring, but for the local Indigenous people, each year brings six seasons which better capture Melbourne's climate. Over thousands of years, Indigenous people have developed an intricate understanding of the environment, carefully forecast by the effects of changing weather on native flora, fauna and landscapes and movement of the stars in the night sky. Discover the six seasons of the Kulin Nation below! 

Late Summer (February to Mid-March) 

Late summer is depicted by eels, Galaxia (small freshwater fish), baby animals and mistletoe as well as eeling and fishing. Hot, dry days mean a scarcity of surface water and high bushfire risk. Late summer brings the peaking of eel and Galaxia migration, young birds and mammals emerging, boxing kangaroos, and snakes basking in the sun. Stick insects and spitfire grubs attack tree foliage, messmate and mistletoe flower, and the night sky is bright and full of stars.  

Early Winter (April and May)

Early winter is when rains would begin, and the billabongs would start to fill. All sort of fungi would appear while dews were abundant and the ground was still warm, with old man weed (Centipeda cunninghamii) is starting to grow on the wetlands. Wareeny (wombat) would emerge to bask and graze in the sun, brush-tail and ringtail possums would mate, and eastern grey kangaroos and wallabies would feed on the new grass growth. The Creator Being Bunjil (wedge tailed eagle) would build his nest and birds would moult their feathers. Different moths would emerge and become food for birds and small marsupials, while tadpoles would fill ponds and mature eels would head out to sea to breed. 

Deep Winter (June to Mid-July)

Deep winter slowed but didn’t stop plant growth. Echidnas were breeding, rivers and creeks would flooded, and koalas, possums, and wombats could be found in sheltered spots in the uplants. Leaves of the water plants would become dry and brown, but the small tuberous herbs were growing, and cherry ballart (Exocarpos cupressiformis) formed fruit. 

Early Spring - (Mid-July and August)

Early spring brings the ‘big wet', when heavy rains start to fall, wetlands fill up and river and creek banks burst. Many including Muyan, silver wattle (Acacia dealbata), and Guling, orchids, burst into flower, and the flowers of the yellow box (Eucalyptus melliodora) produce nectar. By early August, Murnong, yam daisy (Microseris lanceolata) starts to bud, in full golden bloom. Bees and insects become active as the flowers bloom, eels swim upstream, birds nests, and sillywinds blow in all directions. 

True Spring (September and October) 

True Spring is depicted by bird eggs and wildflowers. This time of year sees the fattening up period when the chicks and young are raised, and fish and eels feed in the shallows. Grass and shrubs grow, yam daisy (Murnong) and lily tubers are harvested, and bees are busy making honey. The end of springtime is drying out time. when northerly winds blow, the weather heats up, grasses seed and dry out, and reptiles become active.

High Summer (November, December and January)

High Summer season is depicted by echidna and wetland plants (cumbungee and water ribbon). As the weather stabilises, the heat starts to dry the country, and butterflies chase and in the warm sun. Echidnas dig for ants, and wetland plants flourish as banksias burst into full flower to the delight of honeyeaters.

Read more about Seasonal Calendars for the Melbourne area here.

Published on