Dreamtime Story about the Dugong
This story is called "Tin Juddah" in the Kalkadoon language which means "Swim".
Long, long ago the dugong lived on the land and walked among all the other animals. He was a large animal and could not run but could only walk slowly. He lived on the plains and used to eat grass all day long and he never used to drink as he got his water from the grass he ate.
After many years of drought and no rain the grass did not grow and the dugong had to travel further and further every day to feed himself. One night for the first time in his life the dugong went to sleep hungry and thirsty as he could not find enough grass to please his appetite. It was in his dreams that he decided the next day he would travel north out of Kalkadoon country and up to the Gulf country where the grass would be more plentiful.
The dugong travelled for days and days and found the grass was not growing any better here so he kept on travelling north. Finally he reached the great ocean and could see at the waters edge some beautiful green sea grass and so he began to eat and eat. While the dugong was busy eating he did not notice a big wave that crashed on the sand and washed the dugong into the sea. While he was being washed further out and under the water he realised he could swim very well and hold his breath for a long time so instead of panicking he dove down deeper and continued to eat. When he had finished eating he swam to the surface and taking a deep breath continued to swim underwater.
After many years of living in the sea the dugong's arms and legs turned to flippers and a tail and even though he still needs to breathe air and still moves very slowly he is happy knowing his grass will always grow.