Meet The Rainbow Serpent for Primary School - Reptile Encounters

Meet The Rainbow Serpent for Primary School

Aboriginal people, the traditional custodians of the land we live on in Australia, have cared for this country for over 100,000 years. Your class will discover some of the animals that inspired Dreamtime stories, learn about how our traditional custodians live in balance with nature, and the deep respect they hold for the animals they depend upon for survival. A truly inspiring experience.


Learn all about the Indigenous history of these animals…

Walert - Possum

Possums were hunted for their mean and skin. Their skins used for warmth, keeping dry, in baby coolamons, stretched over hollow logs to make drums for music and ceremony, for burial and were even used to make a ball full of leaves, bark, feathers and charcoal to play a ball game called ‘Marn Grook’.

Waylu - Brush Tailed Bettong

Naturalists who first studied these animals found them almost impossible to find them in the first place, and so indigenous hunters were often brought in to help find and secure the animals for study - and on some recorded expeditions, the indigenous trackers and hunters were the only people that actually managed to catch any bettongs at all!

Karak - Red Tailed Black Cockatoo

The Southeastern Red Tailed Black Cockatoo is a totem or moiety of the Gunditjmara people in western Victoria (Gundit = Fighting, Jmara = Spirit)

Badja Bayaderra - Broad Shelled Turtle

Turtles are an important animal to many different aboriginal groups, they feature in dreaming stories and art. They are also a food source.

Dirawong - Goanna

The Dirawong is a creator spirit of the Bundjalung. There are stories of dreaming of a great fight between Dirawong and the rainbow snake that caused the creation of rivers, lands and islands in the area. You can still see Dirawong looking out to the ocean waiting for the snake to return at Goanna Headland or Evans Head. You can see a patch of red ochre on top of Goanna Headland which is the bite mark from the rainbow snake in the dreamtime. The snake curled up in the ocean to disguise itself as an island to hide from Dirawong.

Rainbow Serpent - Olive Python

Many cultures speak of the rainbow serpent as being a creator spirit of the land. The land was flat and grey before the creator spirits shaped it. The serpent is associated with water; rain, rainbows, billabongs, swamps, rivers, creeks and gorges.

Dungalaba - Saltwater Crocodile

Dungalaba isn’t just the word for Saltwater Cocodile but also one of the main clans of Larrakia people. All Larrakia people came from Dungalaba and all have a respect for the powerful animal. Dungalaba is a totem of the Dungalaba people, many Larrakia want to be connected to this sacred animal. Although many clans hunt crocodiles and take their eggs for food, Larrakia don’t hunt and eat the Saltwater Crocodiles, they prefer the animal to stay in the harbour as a protector of the people.


Curriculum Focus

Connection to Country/Place

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Histories and Cultures


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