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1001 tiddalik
Added on 17th July 2020

Oral Tradition Dreamtime story from Australia

Australasia Animals
1001 , Audio , Text

The story of a thirsty frog.


Tiddalik the frog woke with an unquenchable thirst and ended up drinking all the fresh water. The animals and plants began to die, so the animals hatched a plan to get Tiddalik to laugh all the water out of his body and back into the world.

Why we chose it

Tiddalik was one of the stories chosen by Geraldine McCaughrean for our World Stories project with St Ebbes School in 2016. The stories were represented on fabric hangings made by artist Ally Baker which can still be found hanging in the museum.

Where it came from

This is one of the best known Dreamtime stories. It is thought have originated with the Gunai people of South Gippsland, Victoria but is found in more than one area of Australia. According to indigenous Australian legend, the land was bare until ancestor spirits created the world and everything in it. This time is known as the Dreamtime, and its events still echo in the land of Australia today. Their actions describe the origins of the world’s natural phenomena. Animals are often at the heart of these stories.

There is a water-holding frog found in Central Australia. The frog would absorb large amounts of water during periods of drought so it could survive, feed and breed. However the frog isn’t found in the areas where the story originated.

Where it went next

There have been a number of picture books versions of the story including Joanna Troughton’s What Made Tiddalik Laugh which was also made into a short animated film.

Associated stories

A different version of the story has a much more disastrous ending. When the water returned from Tiddalik, the flood resulted in a natural disaster. The water shaped the landscape of Port Albert (on the coast of Victoria in Australia), forming many islands. People on the islands became stranded so a generous Pelican rescued them.

There are many other Dreamtime myths about ancestor beings and the origins of our modern world. The others include in our 1001 are Finding Australia, The Rainbow Bird and How the Kangaroo Got Her Pouch.

Added on 17th July 2020

Oral Tradition Dreamtime story from Australia

Australasia Animals
1001 , Audio , Text

Story Resources

  • Tiddalik story text PDF (35.172 KB)