Territory Stories

Ngirramini Ngini Pilatipuji



Ngirramini Ngini Pilatipuji

Other title

The platypus - a special animal; Pilatipuji


Ellis, Jean A.


Tipiloura, Immaculata


Kerinaiua, Magdalen


Living Archive of Aboriginal Languages Project; PublicationNT; E-Books




Nguiu; Wurrumiyanga


This material was collected by the Living Archive of Aboriginal Languages Project between 2013 and 2021. The project was led by Charles Darwin University in partnership with the Australian National University and the Northern Territory Government and funded in part by the Australian Research Council.; Efforts have been made to identify and contact the person or people responsible for creating these materials to request permission to include them in this archive. If you have any concerns about materials being made public on this site, please contact us and we will remove the item from display until any concerns have been addressed.


Reprinted with permission from Shakespeare Head Press 1986


en; Tiwi; Tiwi language N20


Traditional; LAAL; Tiwi; Bilingual education resources; Tiwi people N20; Tiwi language N20; Tunuvivi; Diwi; Nguiu; Nimara; Wonga:k; Wongak; Woranguwe; Wunguk; Wunuk; Yeimbi; Ni mara

Publisher name

Nguiu Nginingawila Literature Production Centre

Place of publication

Nguiu; Bathurst Island

File type


Other identifier

cdu:36396; LAAL_ID:tw0089


Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial International 4.0 (CC BY-NC 4.0)

Copyright owner

Nguiu Nginingawila Literature Production Centre



Parent handle


Citation address


Page content

The whole group of water creatures decided to go v is it the platypus family. W hen th e platypus was asked to join their group he smiled and thanked them. " I will think about it," he said and I 'l l give you my answer next week." Off they went, feeling certain that he would su re ly join up with them. The next day, the platypus talked i t over with h is wife. Then he went to v isit h is cousin and friend, the sp iny echidna. He told the echidna about h is problem. His friend thought about it for a time and then he said, "I think you should refuse to join any group." The platypus thought about this advice for a long time. Finally, he agreed that it was certainly the best thing he could do. The very next day the platypus sent a message to the three different groups of animals. He invited them all to a spot near to where h is hole had been dug. He insisted that they all come together in friendship. There was much noise and chatter as the various creatures gathered. Each animal was sure that the platypus fam ily has chosen to join h is group. When the platypus finally emerged from h is hole, a hush fell over the strange looking group. No one Stirred as the platypus began to speak. "You are my friends, he said. "I understand the b irds who must keep their eggs protected and warm. I understand the water creatures who dive to the depths and explore the underwater world. I also understand the animals who run on land and grow fur. Each of you is special in your own way and I am grateful that Baiame made all the different groups in this land. He created different creatures for different reasons. My wife and I would like to feel that youll be reminded of this and respect the great Baiames wisdom each time you see our family." For a moment there was silence and then there was much applause for the platypus. The other creatures had seen that what the platypus said was right. They had understood h is message. They realised that they should each have respect for all other groups. Each creature went away, a little w iser and not nearly so vain. The Aboriginal people also understood the message of the platypus and they agreed that he should be regarded as ve ry special. This story was told to the Aboriginal children of each new generation. Aboriginal people, century after century, have continued to respect the platypus as a special creature. The platypus was not, at any time, for any reason, hunted by the Aborigines, ever a platypus was sighted, as it scurried about a rive r or creek bank it was considered an omen of good luck. At such times, too, the Aboriginal people were reminded of the great creator, Baiame, who had created this fu rry creature as a 'special' animal. 16