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Bodkin, Frances (comp.) Lorraine Robertson (illus.): D'harawal Seasons and Climate Cycles.

** BODKIN, Frances (comp.) Lorraine Robertson (illus.) D'harawal Seasons and Climate Cycles L Robertson/National Heritage Trust, 2008 109pp $34.95 ISBN 9780980481013 SCIS 1414502

Aboriginal peoples have a deep knowledge of this land's weather and climate based on thousands of years of observation. Frances Bodkin, a highly respected storyteller and knowledge holder of the D'harawal peoples is widely known for her work at the Mount Annan Botanic Gardens and the NSW Department of Education. Here she collates the results of a project she undertook to gather together the weather knowledge within the D'harawal community, ensuring as she did so that individual interviewees would be identified by numbers only and that records of interview would be handwritten notes rather than tape recordings. It was only on this understanding that 106 D'harawal descendents came forward. The resulting book, beautifully illustrated with what appear to be watercolours by botanical artist Lorraine Robertson, is a fascinating wealth of knowledge about the Sydney region's times of day, seasons and climate cycles interspersed with traditional stories.

D'harawal country stretches from the southern shores of Port Jackson (Sydney Harbour) to the Shoalhaven River and from the Wollondilly river system to the eastern seaboard. The correlations between animal behaviour, plant flowerings and natural phenomena indicate the various seasons and weather predictions and the traditional knowledge also tells of climate cycles which run in 11-12 year cycles as well as much longer timeframes. This book only reinforces the fact that scientists still have a lot to learn from many millennia of traditional observation. The Bureau of Meteorology has a basic webpage of Indigenous Weather Knowledge and is planning to expand this resource. The knowledge that Frances Bodkin has documented is not yet online.

Purchase from PO Box 314, Macarthur Square NSW 2560

** Book by an Australian author or illustrator
COPYRIGHT 2009 Children's Book Council of Australia
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2009 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Babbage, Lynne
Publication:Reading Time
Article Type:Brief article
Date:Aug 1, 2009
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