Making a Difference

Aboriginal seasons


The Morning Frost and Bark-Harvesting Season occupied the ninth lunar month from August 3rd to August 30th. In this period prior to the October rain and local floods, time was devoted to making canoes, tarnuks (large wooden bowls) and other bark artifacts. This time of the year is marked by fairly clear and sunny but cool days with moderate winds, which therefore result in more frequent morning frosts.

The first flow of sap is stimulated by this late winter sunshine in early August and this facilitates bark harvesting. By harvesting at this period the tree is also offered the best chance to heal before the height of summer. The removal of large sheets of bark usually took place on the south-east side of the tree, as this offered the best protection from the summer sunshine on the north side and the desiccating winds from either the south-west or north-east.

Complete removal of bark from a tree was therefore only done when it was deliberately intended to kill the tree, such as when maintaining the perimeter of a woodland copse next to grassland area. New canoes were required every couple of years to navigate flooded lowlands and for fishing, whilst tarnuks and other bark artifacts were required for food gathering in the coming seasons of bounty.

Wattles and orchids bloom throughout this morning frost period and women are often nearing full term in their pregnancies. The end of this season is marked by the last morning frost as well as when butterflies appear, finches and parrots begin nesting and joeys begin emerging from their mother’s pouches.

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