Dreamtime Story - How The Birds Got Their Colours and Songs

How the Birds Got Their Colours and Songs

This particular Aboriginal Dreamtime Story is from the Western Region of New South Wales, Australia.

Australian Aboriginals believe that there are two forms of time. The first relates to the daily activity, and the second is an infinite spiritual belief called the "dreamtime". 

The dreamtime establishes the values, symbols, and laws of Aboriginal culture and society. It is believed that some people who posses unusual spiritual powers can have contact with the dreamtime.

It can get a little confusing because the word "Dreaming" is also used in reference to someones beliefs and  spirituality. As an example, an Australian Aboriginal might say that they have Kangaroo Dreaming, or Shark Dreaming, or Honey Ant Dreaming, or any combination of Dreamings connected to their "country". "Country" is the traditional lands of a particular family group.

However, "The Dreaming" can also be used to refer to the creation time. To make it a little clearer, "The Dreaming" was the time of creation, and The Dreamtime set out the patterns of life for the Aboriginal people. 

There are many variations of Aboriginal Dreaming stories throughout Australia that run along the lines of the same theme. The purpose of Dreamtime stories is to teach young children the necessary skills to survive on the land, and to abide by the lessons learned from their forefathers in combination with the cultural laws of their society. 

There are many, many Dreamtime stories which cover a vast range of themes and topics. Some of them include how sacred places were created; how geographical features of the land were formed; people; animal behaviour and plant species; Aboriginal law, customs and culture. 


Dreamtime Story - The Biggest Frog

A very long time ago in the Dreamtime, The Biggest Frog in Australia woke up thirsty. He was so very thirsty that he drank all the water from all the oceans, from the lakes and rivers, the billabongs and puddles, and even drank all the water from the clouds in the sky. When he was finished, the earth was very dry, and the other animals were very are thirsty.

The wise old Wombat suggested to the other animals that they should try to make the biggest frog laugh a lot, so that the water would spill out of his mouth so that everyone could have some. But alas the biggest frog in Australia could hardly hear the Kookaburra's jokes, and he was tired and just yawned at the Kangaroo attempting to make him laugh by doing acrobatics. Koala tried waddling around in a ridiculous way, but still had no luck in making the biggest frog in Australia laugh.

Are you curious to know what will make the biggest frog in Australia laugh?

This is a great Dreamtime story for ages 5-7 and is wonderfully illustrated. A great additional for home or school - the children just love it!


Dreamtime Story - Thukeri

This Dreamtime story is about two men who lived on the shores of Lake Alexandrina. They belonged to the Aboriginal Ngarrindjerri people.

The two men set out one day in their canoe to go fishing and paddled along on the calm waters until they came to their favourite fishing place - Loveday Bay, where they always caught the best bream fish. In their language, the fish is called Thukeri.

The fishermen made their own fishing lines, called nungi, from thin rope which they had made from the nearby water reeds. They also made hooks from very sharp bird bones.

Back on shore, the women were collecting vegetable plants to eat with the fish when they got home.

The two men caught more and more fat, juicy Thukeri until the canoe was almost full. As they returned to shore they could see a stranger in the distance; what if this stranger wanted some of their beautiful, juicy Thukeri, they thought to themselves.

Greed took over their thoughts and the fishermen decided not to share with the stranger. They decided to keep the Silver Bream all for themselves and quickly covered the fish up so that the stranger would not see them. The stranger said, 'Hello, brothers. I haven't had anything at all to eat today. Could you spare me a couple of fish?'

One of the fishermen said, 'I'm sorry my friend, but we caught only a few fish  and we have to take them home for our wives and children and the old people. So we can't give you any.'

The stranger said 'You lied,'  'I know that you have caught plenty of fish and they are in your canoe. Because you are so greedy and want to keep them all for yourselves, you will never be able to enjoy those Thukeri ever again.'

The two men were puzzled, and began to gut the fish. But as they did this, they found that these beautiful silver Thukeri that they had caught were so full of sharp, thin bones that they just couldn't eat them after all.

'What are we going to do? they said to each other. We can't take these home to our families, they'll choke on all the sharp thin bones.' So the fishermen returned home in shame with only the bony fish to offer their families.  The old people told the fishermen that the stranger was really the Great Spirit called Ngurunderi. Now all the Ngarrindjeri people would be punished for ever, because of the greedy actions of the two fishermen .

So even today, whenever people catch a bony bream fish, they are reminded of a time long ago, when Ngurunderi taught them a valuable lesson.

Thanks to Australian Museum Here is the Thukeri Story Explanation by Veena Gollan.