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Storyvalues – The Platypus

May 18, 2020

The Platypus


The Platypus. This is a variation of a story that originates from the aboriginal people of Australia.

It’s a creation story about diversity and equality. The story expresses the idea that our differences are to be celebrated and appreciated, and that no group is ʻbetterʼ than any other.

This story gently highlights the value of seeing our similarities, rather than our differences. The platypus inspires all the other animals to see that they too are equal and unique in their own special way.

As you listen to the story, try to imagine being in the story. What do you see? What do you hear? What do you feel? What do you think?

Cheryl Thornton - Storyteller


Find a nice quiet place to listen to this story. Pay extra attention to how the music and sound effects work with the words to help you picture what is happening!

Step 3 - I Wonder What YOU Think?

I wonder what you thought of the story! Were you able to imagine being in the story? Isn't it interesting that the platypus has the characteristics of so many other animals? 

I love how the platypus was able to show the other animals how to live peacefully, together. With calm, gentle wisdom, he was able to show them that we are all special, in our own unique way. 

In fact, being special and unique is something all animals and people have in common! What do you think are some of the ways you are unique?

What are some of your favourite things to do? What are some of your favourite things to eat?

We all have our own preferences and characteristics, and that is a good thing! Wouldn't the world be a boring place if we were all the same?


In this story, three types of animals ask the Platypus to join their group: Mammals, Birds and Fish.  Click the images below to see examples of each group. Then, continue on through the video, map and art sections.


Mammals are animals that are vertebrates (have a backbone), have mammary glands that produce milk for feeding young, a neocortex (part of the brain specializing in reasoning, language and sensory perception) and three middle ear bones. There are approximately 6500 types of animals that have been identified as mammals.


Fish are animals that have gills and live in the water. Unlike mammals and birds, fish are cold-blooded; their blood changes temperature according to their surroundings. There are over 34,000 types of animals that have been categorized as fish.


Birds are warm-blooded animals that are have feathers, toothless beaks and lay eggs to produce offspring. Birds are direct descendants of flying dinosaurs called, ‘avialans’, a species that can be traced back almost 160 million years. Recent studies show that there are approximately 18,000 species of birds in the world.

Play Video - About the Platypus and Australia

Culture - Where Is This Story from?

This story, ‘The Platypus’ is a variation of a story that originates from the aboriginal people of Australia, thought by many to be the oldest continuous civilization on earth, dating back approximately 50,000 years.

Australia is a country located in the region of Oceania. The region also includes sub-regions of Australasia, Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia.

Oceania was exclusively populated by indigenous peoples until the late 1700’s. The first contact between the indigenous people of this area and European explorers occurred in April, 1770.

Images of Oceania

Oceania includes a wide variety of countries and territories, populated by diverse people and a vast range of cultures, from ultra modern cities like Sydney, Australia and Honolulu, Hawaii to the traditional lifestyles found in Vanautu and New Guinea. 

Step 5 - Matt's Music and Art Corner


This recording of ʻThe Platypus’  features music played on instruments that are traditionally used by aboriginal Australian people, such as the Digeridoo (hollow tube instrument), Sharkskin Drum (hand drums), Tambourine and Claves.

Listen to the story and see if you can identify these instruments. Notice how the music and sounds combine with the words to help create a picture in your mind of what is happening.


‘The Platypus’ is a story that celebrates how each individual is unique and of equal value. Here is a short song that expresses the same idea, in a different way!

Just Be You

If you spend a lot of time swimming in the water does that make you a fish? 

If you dream of the sky, if you want to learn to fly does that make you a bird? 


If you growl like a lion or screech like an owl or laugh like a monkey in a tree

If you know you can smile when you’re met with a scowl you know that you’re free to be


You are you, I am me.

And that’s who we’re meant to be.

It’s true, it’s plain to see.


You’re an original, one of a kind

With you’re own sense of humour and your own state of mind,

So do what you love to do

Just Be You!

ART CORNER - Ancient Aboriginal Cave Paintings

Ancient aboriginal cave art dates back thousands of years and can be found in many parts of Australia. 

Notice how this art is abstract and symbolic rather than realistic.

The intent is not to reproduce the appearance of the world but rather to express what cannot normally be seen by the eye: dreams, visions and spirituality.

Art Project

Find a quiet place to listen to the recording of ‘The Platypus’. Pay special attention to the music and sound effects and how they help create a picture in your mind of what is happening in the story. Can you imagine what the lake looks like? Is there a particular part of the story that you can see most clearly?

Stories are great for inspiring the imagination. What do you feel? What do you think?

Now, draw your favourite part of the story or some of the characters that you ind most interesting. Feel free to draw in whatever style suits you best.