Seasons of change at Royal Life Saving WA offices

11 July 2019
In recognition of the six seasons of the Noongar calendar, Royal Life Saving WA has recently refreshed its internal office meeting spaces to be named after, and to celebrate, each of these seasons.

Royal Life Saving WA headquarters is located on Whadjuk Noongar country. Whadjuk are the people of the Swan River plains, whose country is now occupied by the greater Perth metropolitan area. The Whadjuk people have managed the coast for tens of thousands of years, traditionally living in extended family groups and caring for country through cultural ceremonies such as song, dance and the use of fire.

CEO Peter Leaversuch says, as an organisation, Royal Life Saving WA is committed to supporting culturally responsive practices and behaviours. "We want to achieve this, in part, through providing opportunities for our staff, customers and partners to develop an understanding and respect for Aboriginal histories, peoples, culture and languages."

To acknowledge and recognise the strong partnerships we have with Aboriginal communities and to demonstrate our commitment to working with Aboriginal people, our meeting rooms have been renamed to reflect the Noongar seasons of Birak, Bunuru, Djeran, Makuru, Djilba and Kambarang.


Birak is the first summer and is the season of the young. Birak is represented by the colour red, symbolising heat, sun and fire. The season is dry and hot with easterly winds in the morning and sea breezes in the afternoons. As the ‘fire’ season, this was traditionally the burning time of year. Noongar people would burn areas to reduce fuel, aid seed germination, increase grazing pastures for animals and to make it easier to move across the country.


Bunuru is the second summer and is the season of adolescence. Bunuru is represented by the colour orange and is the hottest time of year with little to no rain. Relief from the hot easterly winds is provided by a cool sea breeze on most afternoons – if you’re near the coast, that is. It’s a great time of year for living and fishing near the coast, rivers and estuaries which is why the Noongar diet consisted chiefly of freshwater foods and seafood at this time of year.


Djeran is autumn and is the season of adulthood. Djeran is represented by the colour green, signalling the cooler weather beginning. The winds change, bringing lighter, more southerly breezes. Nights are cool and damp with dewy mornings a regular occurrence. Food sources at this time of year include fresh water fish, frogs and turtles, as well as seeds collected during the Bunuru season.


Makuru is winter and is the season of fertility. Makuru is represented by the colour dark blue, which symbolises the rain and cold weather that is prominent this season. Noongar people would traditionally start to move back inland from the coast with the onset of colder westerly winds and wet weather. Moving about the country, grazing animals such as the yongar (kangaroo) became an important food source during Makuru. In addition to providing meat, the animal skins, bones and sinews were used to manufacture cloaks and hunting tools, with nothing wasted.


Djilba is the first spring and is the season of conception. Djilba is represented by the colour pink, symbolising the growth of wildflowers and plants in brilliant flowering display. A transitional season, there is a mixture of cold nights with clear days, wet and rainy days and the occasional warm, pleasant day. Sounds of newborn animals can be heard, with protective parents such as the koolbardi (magpie) and djidi djidi (willy wag tail) swooping any unwelcome guests.


Kambarang is the second spring and is the season of birth. Kambarang is represented by the colour yellow, symbolising the return of the hot weather. An explosion of colours and flowers is all around, most noticeably the moojar, or Australian Christmas Tree. Its bright yellow-orange flowers are a sign of the heat that is on its way. The season sees longer dry periods and warmer weather – so it’s also the time of year to be on the lookout for snakes as they come out of hibernation!

Mr Leaversuch says the renaming of these rooms is part of our Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP), which will serve as an important new chapter for Royal Life Saving WA and has been developed to drive:

  • internal reflection – organisational & individual;
  • challenge – of current practices, procedures and policies;
  • improved relationships, respect and understanding; and
  • natural engagement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Examples of our engagement include someone enjoying a swim at the new Balgo swimming pool, a mother and child participating in early-childhood swimming lessons at Burringurrah or a young adult starting their first job as a pool lifeguard after undergoing training at our head office.

The renaming of our meeting rooms to match the six Aboriginal seasons of South Western Australia represents one way we are promoting respect and recognition of Aboriginal culture and, importantly, we hope it helps make our head office a welcoming place.