While travelling through Australia, I think in a place called Cobar, an elderly aboriginal tried to explain the Dreamtime to us. We understood it to be the period of creation, when the world took shape and all life began. Ancestral spirits created the landscape, made the first people and taught them how to live. These spirits moved across the country and also made geographical sites. When creation was completed, the spirits became trees, rocks, stars and rivers etc. Many sites in Australia are still recognised today as sacred places.
Aboriginal Dreamtime stories often explain how the country, animals and people came to be. Many stories have a moral tone, which was to reinforce correct behaviour. Stories have been passed down from one generation to the next. One of my favourite tales is about a greedy frog called Tiddalik and I wrote a children’s poem about him. There several variations featuring different animals. The story probably originated from the Water-Holding frog, which live in burrows under the ground in dry periods. They emerge when it rains and absorb large amounts of water. Tiddalik still seems to represent the greed in the world and it is difficult to hear the story, without thinking of drought and climate change.