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Tiwi Calendars

The Tiwi people’s understanding of their environment has developed over tens of thousands of years. Knowledge of seasonal patterns, plants and animals, passed down the generations, ensured an ongoing supply of food, medicines, and other resources. The Tiwi interpreted the stars, weather, and other indicators, such as the timing of flowering and fruiting of plants, to predict natural events and signal when to pursue cultural activities.

Tiwi elders concerned about ‘losing’ ecological knowledge want important information recorded in a way that everyone can access, particularly young Tiwi people. Tiwi elders, with support from the Tiwi Land Council, an Inspiring Australia Unlocking Australia’s Potential grant and CSIRO produced two information calendars: one focussing on the three main and 13 minor Tiwi seasons and environmental cues, and another focussing on plants and animals of Tiwi significance.

Senior Tiwi Traditional Owner, Bernard Tipiloura said there has been a significant loss of knowledge over the past 10 to 15 years on the Tiwi Islands. ‘Our children need to learn about culture, they need to become strong Tiwi people, and I want to show them the ways to do that. These calendars are wonderful. I will use them all the time to teach the children culture and the proper ways to live.’

‘All of the foods pictured in the calendars are all healthy, there’s no sugar, they’re good for you,’ Mr Tipiloura said. ‘That’s why Tiwi people were so powerful and strong, because they ate natural bush foods. They were eating the right foods.’

In 2015, the calendars won the Culture and Heritage category of the Northern Territory’s Keep Australia Beautiful Council Awards, acknowledging the important role they will play in preserving Tiwi knowledge for future generations.

Tiwi Seasons Calendar


Tiwi Plants and Animals Calendar

Posters of the Tiwi calendars can be purchased from Tiwi Resources here.