Wajin: The Guardian of Scrubby Creek Transcript

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The views and opinions expressed in this recording do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Logan City Council. Logan City Council does not make any representation of the accuracy of any such views and opinions.

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Deadly Digital Communities logo with handprint.

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Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers and listeners should be aware that this narrated story may contain names, images and voices of deceased people.

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Our words our stories
Wajin: the Guardian of Scrubby Creek

by Uncle Reg Knox and Beverley Knox

Narrated by Missy Knox
Recorded on the 12th of June 2019.

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The Guardian of Scrubby Creek


The front page of the book is displayed, showing an image of Scrubby Creek with a blue sky and bushland on the bank of the creek. An illustration of a platypus resting it’s head on a lily pad is on top of the water in the image.  

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Written by Uncle Reg Knox and Beverley Knox

Artwork by Uncle Reg Knox
Narrated by Missy Knox
Drawings dedicated to their granddaughter, Georgia Knox

This project was coordinated by Uncle Barry Watson and the Murri and Torres Strait Islander Network Inc.

This project acknowledges the contributions and ideas of the Grade 8 students at Mabel Park State High School in 2004. The project received funding in 2004, under Logan City Council’s Logan Environment Grant - you in the Environment or Leag-UE Program. Logan City Council Libraries received funding for this ePublication, in 2019, from Telstra and State Library of Queensland's Deadly Digital Communities Project.

Copyright © Text and illustration, Reginald Knox and Beverley Knox 2004, 2019

About the author
Beverley Knox has lived in Logan City for the past 50 years. She is married to Aboriginal artist, Uncle Reg Knox and is loving mother to Missy Knox.

About the illustrator
Reginald Roy Knox, or Uncle Reg, as he is known, was born in 1934 at Toomelah Aboriginal Mission. Uncle Reg is a speaker of the Kamilaroi language. He has lived in Logan City for the past 50 years. He has had a long and distinguished career both as an artist and as an educator, and has received many awards for his art and his service to the community.


In the top left corner there is a photo of Uncle Reg Knox and in the bottom right corner of the page is the Logan City Council Logo.

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2004 Acknowledgement:

Logan City has a special place called Scrubby Creek where many years ago there lived a group of Aborigines from the Turrbal tribe. Aboriginal people were the first people to inhabit the land of Australia and there were many tribes each with their own language and totems. The tribe living around Scrubby Creek adopted the platypus as their totem and they named him Wajin. This story tells how he became the guardian of Scrubby Creek.

2019 Acknowledgement:

For thousands of years Aboriginal people have lived in a special place that is now called Scrubby Creek, in the City of Logan. They cared for the land and waterways, birds and animals. Logan City Council respectfully acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the lands across the City of Logan. We extend that respect to the Elders, past, present and emerging. They hold the memories, traditions, cultures and hopes of Australia’s First Peoples. We thank local Elders and community members who helped develop this 2019 ePublication.

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Early one morning all the animals awoke as Kagaru the Kookaburra laughed at the new day. The lorikeets flew through the trees screeching as they broke the morning silence. A flock of cockatoos crossed the clear blue sky as the rising sun shone over the land turning shadows into light.

The local Aboriginal people arose from their sleep and started out to gather food for the coming day. The men carried spears and boomerangs to hunt for food, while the women and children set out to collect berries and fruit from the many trees.


Two kookaburras are perched on a tree branch, laughing at the new day as the sun rises behind the mountains.

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Suddenly a deep strong voice echoed through the bush. It was Mibunn the Sea Eagle, guardian of Scrubby Creek.

“Listen,” he boomed, “in consideration, I have approached the Aborigines and requested that we could have a gathering here tonight and they have generously agreed. We shall all meet at dusk and the festivities will begin.”

The animals were excited as it would be good to meet up with old friends, and as evening fell they all gathered by the creek. Among them was Borobi the Koala, Taran the Frog, Bauyum the Lizard, Gibhur the Sugar Glider, Kagaru the Kookaburra and of course the great Mibunn.

Everyone was invited except Wajin the Platypus. All the animals thought he was ugly and useless.

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“You are made all wrong”, they shouted at Wajin. “You look funny! Your bill doesn’t match your face and your feet are all wrong, and wherever did you get that silly tail?”

Their unkind words hurt Wajin and he felt lonely and unwanted. While all the animals were having fun he crept beside a big rock and longingly watched them.


Mibunn the Sea Eagle is wearing clothing and pointing into the distance as Wajin the platypus, who also is wearing clothes, sadly walks away from the other animals and Aborigines that have gathered together.

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If only they understood that he had many special qualities, and that he needed his unique bill and webbed feet to swim and hunt for food. It was all too much for the little platypus so he silently slipped away to his burrow and listened as the animals departed and bedded down for the night.


As the sun goes down, Wajin the platypus is walking away from a group of local Aboriginal people standing with their spears. His head is down and his posture is slumped.

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The following days saw the animals happily going about their daily lives. Everything was peaceful and there was plenty of food for everyone. They especially enjoyed having the Aborigines living with them. They has a deep respect for the bush and though they swam and fished in Scrubby Creek they always made sure that they didn’t destroy the vegetation and always took care not to leave any rubbish about the place. Everyone lived in harmony and life for all was wonderful.


Gibhur the Sugar Glider is seated in a tree and Gibhur is pointing up the tree. Next to Gibhur is Borobi the Koala and Kagaru the Kookaburra, wearing clothes and standing up having a conversation.

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Suddenly early one morning Mibunn’s voice rang through the bush calling all the animals to a special meeting. There was an urgency in his voice, so the animals hurried as fast as they could go to find out what was wrong. When Mibunn explained the reason for his gathering the animals together they were horrified. Since he was the guardian of Scrubby Creek and flew over large terrains of land, Mibunn was able to see everything and anything that was a danger to his animal friends and the Aboriginal people for whom he had so much respect.


Bauyum the lizard and Taran the frog, both wearing turtleneck jumpers, and talking to each other.

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“My friends,” he said, “I have just flown over the land to the south of Scrubby Creek and I was shocked at the devastation I have just witnessed. Some different humans have settled in the area and they are not like the people we know. They wear strange clothes and their skin colour is much lighter than our friends. It is not how they look that bothers me, but rather what they have done to the land. They have cut down all the trees and set fire to scrub. They build strange buildings and turn over the soil where they have planted different vegetation. The animals and Aborigines that lived there have left as there is no longer any food left for them to eat. A sugar glider told me that they shot some of the people and set traps to catch the animals. As if this devastation isn’t enough, they intend to spread out over the land which means they may move into Scrubby Creek!”

The animals were shocked and terrified and when they told their Aboriginal friends everyone was in a panic. What would happen to their beloved habitat, their families?

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Wajin, who was too shy to face anyone, heard everything from his hiding place behind a rock. He too was horrified and sad at what he had just heard and he tried to rack his mind looking for a solution, anything that could protect their precious homeland. He was scared too as it seemed that these new people had no value for anything or anyone.

Then thinking logically, he came to a decision.


Wajin the Platypus standing in front of the setting sun, in between two trees. He has his head facing down and his body is grey signifying his sadness.

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Someone from Scrubby Creek would have to approach the new settlers and explain to them what would happen to everyone if they decided to expand their settlement into the creek area. They had to be made aware of how devastating their impact would be on everyone else.

He came out of hiding and approached Mibunn and the others.

“I have an idea!” he suggested. Everyone turned to look at him in amazement.

“What could he have to say?” they all wondered.

“Probably something useless,” they surmised. Then Wajin explained his idea.

“Not bad,” said Mibunn, “but who would be stupid enough or brave enough to actually go to the settlers’ camp?”

Everyone took a frightened step back. All except Wajin.

“I’ll go, someone has to try to get through to them.”

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“You?” said Mibunn warily. “Well, it doesn’t look like anyone else is going to volunteer and it is not a bad idea, but Wajin, it could be very dangerous!”

“I know,” replied Wajin, “but Mibunn what will happen to us if I don’t try?”

With that the little platypus set out on his mission. He was terribly frightened but the alternative was even more terrifying. As he waddled into the settlers camp a man holding a rifle and accompanied by two children came out to meet him.


Borobi the Koala and Kagaru the Kookaburra are having a conversation at a table.

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“Hey, everyone” yelled the man in a loud voice which brought out more people. “Come and see this.”

They all gathered around Wajin and oo-ed and ah-ed as they looked him over.

“Is he for real?” cried one man.

“I’ve never seen the like,” cried another.

“He is beautiful, so unique,” said another.

“Look at that beautiful bill, so soft and rubbery and he looks like many animals made into one!”

Wajin was astounded. He never thought of himself as special. The children ventured over to stroke his fur.

“Ooh, he is so soft,” they squealed with delight.

“What can we do for you, young fella?” the man inquired.

“Well sir,” replied Wajin, “my friends and I have a problem I need to discuss with you.”

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With that Wajin explained about the plight of all the residents of Scrubby Creek and their dilemna should civilisation spread to the Berrinba Wetlands around Scrubby Creek.

“Mmm,” thought the man out loud. “I think I see what you mean. We have never seen a platypus before and if you are any indication as to what other species of animals live in your area it would be a shame to lose them. You are a unique little fella.”

“Thank you sir,” replied Wajin, “would you like to come back with me and meet everyone?”

“Thank you, yes,” said the man and he and his two children followed Wajin back to Scrubby Creek.

When they arrived the man was amazed at the beautiful sight he saw there. The birds were chirping their best welcome song. Mibunn perched high on the branch of a large gum tree calling everyone to welcome the visitors. The Aborigines came and shook hands with the man while the children playfully jumped from rock to rock by the creek.

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Just then a tiny wallaby hopped towards the children, who cried out with excitement.

“Ooh daddy, look at this darling little thing! Oh please could we have him, he is so gorgeous.”

“Well,” said their father, “I don’t think you can keep him for a pet. That would make him unhappy if he couldn’t be free.”


A man with his children is standing near a large gum tree and patting a wallaby.

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The children became sad but then he said,

“However, if we leave everything as it is now, we can all come and visit Wajin and his friends. And if we try really hard to clean up our campsite and replant the trees that we have cut down, then maybe the animals will come back and we can see them all the time. Wajin here has made me see the error of our ways and I intend to put everything back the way it was and with the help of our Aboriginal friends, we will keep it that way.”

Well, everyone let out a loud cheer. This was much better than they ever anticipated. Mibunn flapped his great wings in pleasure.

“Wajin,” he called, “come here now.” Wajin thought he was in trouble again.

“I’m coming Mibunn,” he said as he approached the great eagle.

“Wajin, I know I speak for everybody when I say how proud we are of you. You are not ugly and useless. You are wise and brave and we apologise for our past transgressions. I know everyone will agree with me when I say that as of this instant I name you Guardian of Scrubby Creek. You have earned this honour. Now I can be on my way as I know this area will be left in safe hands.”

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Up went a loud cheer and the little platypus lowered his head in appreciation and tried very hard not to be shy. At last he was accepted and he was no longer sad and lonely. Wajin now had lots of friends who truly loved him. The Aboriginal people were so pleased with the animal’s decision that they chose to adopt Wajin as their special totem and he still is today.


Wajin the platypus is resting it’s head on a lily pad on the water.

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Thanks to the following 2004 Students from Grade 8 and teachers Sue Jones and Julie Tabor of Mabel Park State High School for their contributions:

Jessielee Aggetta
Samuel Ah Wing
Harriet Aken
Reah Allen
Melissa Anderson
Suzanne Andrews
Shane Avanell
Aeman Barnbrook
Jordon Beamsley
Jaylene Berry
Blake Binder
Gerard Bouffare
Kayla Bunyan
Max Casey
Daniel Chandra
Nicole Cocis
Jaret Cordery
Harley Coupe
Joshua Davies
Mohammed El Ayoubi
Osman Ertan
Thomas Fevaleaki
Andrew Fraser
Ryan Gaiger
Dale Gordon
Michael Green
Laura Grijalva
Daemonn Hamilton
Jarrod Harwood
Samantha Healy
Leslie Henry
Daniel Hooper
Gordon Iosefa
Alysha Johnston
Brenda Kapernick
Damien Kyle
Carol Larsen
Wynton Lewis
Casey Lucas
Linda Luo
Belinda Matthews
Tamolina Matthews
Tai McAuley
Peter McPherson
Keira Murray
Ektemel Naaman
Arron Newport
Sarah Nikola
Damian O’Brien
Sunita Osborne
Jason O’Sullivan
Stephanie Pickard
August Samata
Hemi Schuster
Kim Scott
Palemia Setema
Aleisha Spriggs
Zak Styles
Wendy Swan
Fala Swann
Fabian Tera
Corey Timmins
Laina Toomata
Quynh Truong
Lisa Vailolo
Jessica Vieivers
Tony Williams
Tiffany Wilmot

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The last page displays an image of the Scrubby Creek.