The Six Aboriginal Seasons of the M12

The Six Aboriginal Seasons will be interpreted through Sydney's new M12 Motorway corridor, through native planting, artworks, shared pathways, and colours.

Balarinji was engaged within the Arcadis and HASSELL design team to embed Aboriginal heritage and culture within the M12 Motorway's identity. Through Balarinji's cultural design principles methodology, a deep Aboriginal sense of place has informed the earliest stages of M12 design.

Balarinji has worked closely with local Aboriginal knowledge holders, like D'harawal Elder, Professor Frances Bodkin, as well as Aboriginal artists, to translate the cultural themes for art and design across the M12 corridor. The creation stories song, dance, iconography, and cultural practices that have informed the M12 cultural narrative, will greatly enrich built form, landscape design, and interpretive user experience. The story of those who travelled the area long before us is a rich and authentic base for the project’s identity.

An overarching concept of the M12’s Aboriginal narrative is enabling people to experience traditional Aboriginal stories that still live on the landscape, and are just as alive today as they were thousands of years ago.

The Six Aboriginal Seasons will be interpreted throughout the M12 corridor, through native planting, artworks, shared pathways, and colours. As people travel along the corridor they will experience the landscape, the six seasons, and the seasonal indicators the D’harawal people used to live in harmony with nature. This could be knowing the best times to hunt based on what plants were in bloom or when it was time for clans to come together for ceremony and celebration.

Aboriginal Six Seasons

1. Burran January and February when it is hot and dry. During this time the Acacia Implexa blooms, it is forbidden to eat meat or fish, it is the breeding season for the kangaroo and wallaby, therefore hunting is forbidden, the Bursaria Spinosa was crushed and applied to ease sunburn.

2. Marraigan

March through to May when it is wet and becoming cooler. The fruit of the Lilli Pilli ripens and food is plentiful, and it is time to move from the highlands to the coastal areas.

3. Burrugin

June and July when you get cold, frosty and short days. When the Eucalyptus Tereticornis flowers it signifies the coming of really cold weather, the echidna appears, and nectar-laden flowers attract possums and birds to provide adequate food.

4. Wiritjiribin

August when it is cold and windy. The blooming of the Acacia Floribunda indicates the coming of the south-westerly winds, calls of the lyrebird can be heard, and it's time to prepare for the ceremonies that will take place at the next moon, the celebration of a new beginning and new awakening.

5. Ngoonungi

September and October when it's cool but getting warmer. Gentle rains fall, flowers bloom heavy with nectar, flying foxes gather in vast numbers, and it's time for ceremony and the clans to gather to celebrate a time of plenty.

6. Parradowee

November and December when it is warm and wet. During this time it is unwise to camp near rivers due to storms and heavy rain, and massive numbers of freshwater eels begin their journey down the rivers and creeks and out to sea.

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