"What you’ve got here, the Guri Duri story; Guri Duri of course, from the European point of view is the platypus or Ornithorhynchus but we have a story of Guri Duri; the Platypus in my Grandfather’s people.
But what you’ve got in the painting, you’ve got the blue of the water; you know the platypus only lives in fresh water so it’s nothing to do with salt water or the sea. Then you have the rainforest because that’s where the creek is running through and the green of the rainforest. And above the water, you’ll see the brown dots going up to a circle with two white dots. That’s the tunnel that the platypus digs in to the bank of the land and that’s where she lays her two eggs. And so she can go on the land and go into the little hole and lay her eggs.
Now Guri Duri from the Dreaming point of view or from our traditional story, we had very strict rules on marriage arrangements, we had no inbreeding whatsoever and the laws of marriage had to be strictly followed. So a young girl would be placed to marry her husband. Now the young girl could be sixteen years of age but the husband had to be thirty years of age because it wasn’t until a man reached thirty that he was fully a warrior. He had his scarification, his knowledge, his wisdom – then he could look after a young wife, care for her, he knew the law and could do everything within the right structure.
So what happened? One day, the little wild duck was in the water and it saw the little rat-tailed wallaby. Their eyes met ad there was a little reflection of interest. But by law, they could not be together because they were two different oddities – they could not be together. But they broke the law, they ran away and the little wild duck and the little rat-tailed wallaby, they mated and the little duck laid its eggs. Now out of the eggs (see platypus only usually lay between one and three but usually – 90% of the time its only two eggs) came Guri Duri the platypus. To show respect for the mother, the duck, he has a bill like a duck, webbed feet like a duck and lays eggs like a duck. To show respect for the father, the little rat-tailed wallaby, it has a spur, it suckles its young, it doesn’t have a pouch but it has the little membrane and the little platypus gets in there and suckles on the teat and it can also go on the land because it digs in to the burrows and makes the nest out of the water. So the two have become one but because they broke the law of marriage, they’re shame; they’re very rarely seen - only in the shadowy places of the river or in the evening. So that’s the story of Guri Duri because he broke the law of marriage.
Now when you think of the European form, when Captain Cook arrived here or Lieutenant Cook at the time, Joseph Banks took a pelt back of our platypus. The Royal Society of London said no such creature could possibly exist, it had to be a hoax, it had to be glued or sewn together. Our people were well ahead of that, we understood where it come from."
- Uncle Colin Jones
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Canvas Prints- Available in three sizes, artwork is commercially reproduced on a cotton-blend (non-archival) quality canvas using latex inks.
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