Makaru sees the coldest and wettest time of the year come into full swing, and over the last couple of days there’s definitely been a cold and rainy change after some quite warm and sunny weather!
As the winds turn to the west and south they bring the cold weather, rains and occasionally even snow on the peaks of the Stirling and Porongurup Ranges.
Traditionally, this was a good time of the year to move back inland from the coast and stay warm in the mia mia (shelter) next to the karl/kaarla (fire). Nowadays, we coastal dwellers have the option to stay where we are but we still aren’t straying far from the indoors!
As the waterways and catchments started to fill, traditionally people were able to move about their country with ease and so their food sources changed from sea, estuarine and lake foods to protein rich land animals, in particular the grazing animals such as the yonga (kangaroo). As well as a food source, animals provided people with many other things. For example, yonga not only provided meat but also bookas (animal skin cloaks that were used as the nights became much cooler). Nothing was left; even the bones and sinews were used in the manufacturing of bookas and for hunting tools such as gidji (spears), miro (spear throwers) and kodj (axes).
Makuru is also referred to as the season of fertility, as it’s a time when a lot of animals start to pair up in preparation for breeding in the coming season. If you look carefully, you might now see pairs of waardongs (crows) flying together. You may also notice these pairs are not making their usual ‘ark ark arrrrrk’ call that these birds are well known for when flying solo. Upon the lakes and rivers of the South West, you’ll also start to see a large influx of the marlee (black swan) as they too prepare to nest and breed.
Flowers that will start to emerge include the blues and purples of the mangaard or blueberry lilly (Dianella revoluta) and komma or purple flag (Patersonia occidentalis). As the season comes to a close, you should also start to notice the white flowers of the wannang, or weeping peppermint (Agonis flexuosa), and the flooded gum (Eucalyptus rudis), as the blues start to make way for the white and cream flowers of Djilba.