In our childhood we became familiar with a calendar of four seasons – summer, autumn, winter and spring. How strange it seems now to expect anything that resembles what we accepted as a “fundamental understanding” when we were young. The traditional calendar that we grew up with “migrated” from the northern hemisphere and has long been regarded as irrelevant when measuring the rhythms of the Australian landscape. Indigenous people had a different approach. Depending on where you might be in our land the number of seasons varied and the transition from one season to the next was marked by natural events such as the appearance of certain birds, the flowering of different plant species and other natural phenomena.  This page has been created to explore what our natural calendar might look like….in Newstead.

Think about the following:

* How many distinct seasons can you identify and what marks the shift from one season to the next?

* How has the timing of the seasons (when compared with our conventional calendar) changed over your lifetime? What have you noticed?

* Are there natural events; such as the appearance of certain bird species (eg Rainbow Bee-eaters) or the flowering of particular plants (eg Golden Wattle) you think might be significant?

Over time we will start to construct a seasonal calendar for the Newstead area. It will be incomplete and imperfect, but hopefully it will incite you to add your thoughts to understanding what makes our landscape “tick”. To view local seasonal observations click here.

There is a nice example at that describes a 7 season calendar for the Upper Yarra Valley ((Jones, D., Mackay, S. & Pisani, A. 1997 Patterns in the Valley of the Christmas Bush: a seasonal calendar for the upper Yarra Valley. Victorian Naturalist 114(5):246-249.)  and a 6 season calendar for the Melbourne area compiled by Dr. Beth Gott of the School of Biological Sciences, Monash University.

A six season calendar for the Melbourne region

Graphic by Damian Curtin and Stanley Barker

7 responses to “Seasons

  1. Mark Pietzsch

    Hi Geoff

    This is a really great idea and I would love to see how a season calendar might look from an Indigenous perspective, it would be great to see how much things have changed in 200 years also.


    • Mark, thanks for the feedback. We would be grateful for your input and advice. The idea was certainly inspired by a range of projects and work on indigenous knowledge. Let’s have a yarn!

      Cheers, Geoff

  2. Hi Geoff,

    have you heard to the timelines project initiated by a relative of mine Alan Reid,
    not sure where its at but maybe a useful source of info.

    Cheers, Tim

    • Yes Tim, Alan’s work is one of the sources of inspiration but I have been unable to track down the latest progress with Timelines – any suggestions about how we might learn more?

      Cheers, geoff

  3. Outstanding idea. I live in the bush on the other side of the Loddon and it is quite clear that local people should pay more attention to local weather patterns as a core element extending our awareness and respect for our environment. The arrival of certain insects are major events that I have noticed, this year I will try to document what I see and get back to you.

  4. That will be great – I look forward to hearing about anything you think may be of interest.

    All the best, geoff

  5. Hi Geoff, Just clicked on to your website at the suggestion of Janet Trudgeon, as we have been discussing at the Newstead Community Garden about the changing seasons and the noticeable effect we see on the insect population we have in the garden. Last year in particular we saw a drop off in the insect life during last summer and autumn this year. We need the both good and bad bugs for pollination. We did and article for the Echo a couple of months back about building insect hotels to encourage insects back into the garden and we are thinking of doing one on the changing seasons. I have been reading a book about changing the seasons from four to six and have looked at the Aboriginal weather charts on the BOM site. It is good to see many other people are talking about this subject. maybe we could talk about it some time in the future.
    Dawn Hartney

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