According to Aboriginal belief, all life as it is today – Human, Animal, Bird and Fish, is part of one vast unchanging network of relationships which can be traced to the Great Spirit ancestors of the Dreamtime.

Bilargun and Daroo   “The Platypus story”

When the old people sat around their campfire, they would tell the dreamtime story of the platypus.

“Once there was a water rat named Bilargun, while he was out hunting one day, he saw Daroo the duck, and decided that he wanted her as his wife. He silently swam underneath the water and grabbed her legs, and then took her back to his hole in the bank; which was his home. There he made her very comfortable and brought her food every day.   They were very happy. Bilargun told Daroo that if ever she was in danger, to hit her tail on the water as a warning signal.

After some time, Daroo the duck had some babies, and do you know, they had Daroo the duck’s bill and webbed feet, and Bilargun the water rat’s fur coat and flat tail.”

To this day the baby’s ancestors can still be seen in the creeks and rivers, using the same warning signal. They are now called the ‘Platypus’.


With permission from

About Patricia Newell-Dunkley

I am an artist writer, born in Sussex, Shoreham-on-Sea and educated at Ealing Modern School in London. I studied amongst other subjects English Literature and Art which sowed the seeds for what would become a lifelong passion. It was not until 1970, after moving to Australia, that I began to satisfy my artistic desire when I first started Porcelain on-glaze painting using mineral oxides paint, a style which would become my forte. Within six months I had bought a kiln, and I embarked on an extensive series of courses over the following years in Grounding, Gold and Silver Gilding, Lustres, Raised Paste and Pen work. In 1980 I began to offer my art through a number of major Sydney outlets. Initially the Fine Art Department of the Myers City Store, followed by David Jones, Grace Brothers, The International Airport, Micawbers Antiques, Bourke’s Hilton Hotel, Roseville Gallery and Toowoon Bay Gallery. Over the years my painting styles have expanded to include Oil, Pastel, and Watercolours. I am a member of the Society of Authors and also a member of the Society of Women Writers and Journalists UK. My writing includes articles and poems published in This England, Evergreen, and The Radio ABC Pot Pourri of Poems, as well as short stories. “The Complete Guide to Painting and Decorating Porcelain,” “Wallis the Woman I Love,” a narrative poem, “Letters of a Travelling Lady,” and six romantic novels.