What led to the selection of the platypus as the emblem of NSW state?

Travel Destinations

By Kristy Tolley

The NSW state emblem

The emblem of New South Wales, a state in Australia, is the platypus. The platypus is a unique and interesting animal that is known for its distinctive features. The selection of the platypus as the emblem of NSW state was not a decision that was made lightly. It was the result of a long process that involved several proposals and debates.

Unique features of the platypus

The platypus is a mammal that is native to Australia. It is known for its unique features, which include a duck-like beak, webbed feet, and a flat tail. The platypus is also one of the few mammals that lay eggs instead of giving birth to live young. These unique features have made the platypus a fascinating animal to study and observe.

Scientists have discovered that the platypus is also able to detect electric fields, which helps it to locate prey in murky water. This is due to the presence of electroreceptors on its bill. The platypus is also able to close off its ears and nostrils when it dives underwater. These adaptations have made the platypus a successful predator in its habitat.

Early sightings of the platypus in NSW

The platypus was first observed by European explorers in the late 1700s. The earliest recorded sighting of a platypus in NSW was in 1797, by a British naturalist named George Shaw. The platypus was initially thought to be a hoax, as it had features that were unlike any other known animal. However, further observations and studies confirmed that the platypus was indeed a real animal.

The platypus was found in several waterways in NSW, including the Nepean River and the Georges River. However, the platypus population in NSW has declined in recent years due to habitat loss and pollution. Conservation efforts are now underway to protect the platypus and its habitat.

Cultural significance of the platypus

The platypus has played an important role in Indigenous Australian culture. The animal is known by different names in different Indigenous languages, including “Willy Wagtail” and “Duckbill.” The platypus was seen as a symbol of creation and transformation, and was often featured in Indigenous stories and art.

In addition to its cultural significance, the platypus also has economic importance. Its fur was once highly prized for its softness and warmth, and was used to make hats and coats. However, this led to overhunting of the platypus, which contributed to its decline in the wild.

The platypus in Australian literature

The platypus has also featured prominently in Australian literature. One of the most famous examples is the children’s book “The Adventures of Snugglepot and Cuddlepie” by May Gibbs. The book features a platypus character named Mr. Lizard, who helps the main characters on their adventures.

Other Australian authors have also written about the platypus, including Henry Lawson and Banjo Paterson. Lawson wrote a poem called “The Ballad of the Drover,” which includes a reference to the platypus. Paterson wrote a poem called “The Man from Snowy River,” which describes the platypus as an animal.

Proposals for the NSW state emblem

There were several proposals for the NSW state emblem before the platypus was selected. Some of the ideas that were considered included the waratah (a native flower), the kookaburra (a native bird), and the convict ship (to acknowledge the state’s history). However, these proposals did not gain widespread support.

The idea of using the platypus as the state emblem was first suggested in the early 1900s. However, it took several decades for the idea to gain traction. In the 1960s, a committee was established to consider the selection of a state emblem. The platypus was one of several options that were considered.

The selection process for the state emblem

The selection process for the state emblem was a lengthy one. The committee tasked with making the decision received numerous submissions and proposals. The committee also consulted with experts in fields such as botany and zoology.

After much debate and consideration, the committee ultimately recommended the platypus as the state emblem. The recommendation was then presented to the NSW parliament for approval.

NSW parliament’s debates on the state emblem

The recommendation to use the platypus as the state emblem was met with some resistance in parliament. Some members felt that the platypus was not a suitable symbol for the state, as it was not widely known or understood. Others argued that the platypus was a unique and distinctive animal that was representative of NSW’s biodiversity.

After several debates and discussions, the proposal was approved by a majority vote. The platypus was officially adopted as the emblem of NSW state in 1971.

The final decision and announcement

The decision to use the platypus as the state emblem was announced in a press release in 1971. The announcement highlighted the platypus’s unique features and cultural significance. It also noted that the platypus was a symbol of NSW’s natural heritage and biodiversity.

Public reaction to the platypus emblem

The selection of the platypus as the state emblem was met with mixed reactions from the public. Some people were pleased with the decision, seeing the platypus as a charming and distinctive symbol of the state. Others felt that the platypus was an odd choice, and that other symbols would have been more appropriate.

Despite these differing opinions, the platypus emblem has become a well-recognized and enduring symbol of NSW state.

The platypus emblem’s evolution over time

The platypus emblem has undergone several changes over the years. In the early years, the emblem was often depicted in a simplistic or cartoonish style. However, in recent years, the emblem has been updated to reflect a more realistic and detailed representation of the animal.

The platypus emblem has also been used in various ways, such as on official seals, flags, and emblems of government agencies. The emblem has also been incorporated into tourism campaigns and promotional materials.

Conclusion: The enduring symbol of NSW state

The platypus is a unique and fascinating animal that has become an enduring symbol of NSW state. Its selection as the state emblem was the result of a lengthy and thoughtful process, and was met with both praise and criticism. However, over time, the platypus emblem has become a well-recognized and beloved symbol of the state. Its image can be found on everything from government seals to tourist souvenirs, and it continues to be a source of pride and fascination for the people of NSW.

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Kristy Tolley

Kristy Tolley, an accomplished editor at TravelAsker, boasts a rich background in travel content creation. Before TravelAsker, she led editorial efforts at Red Ventures Puerto Rico, shaping content for Platea English. Kristy's extensive two-decade career spans writing and editing travel topics, from destinations to road trips. Her passion for travel and storytelling inspire readers to embark on their own journeys.

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