Old Monster Dog:YEAR 2-English-Elaborate2

Little J is initially scared to approach the ‘monster’ in the back yard. Encouraged to face his fears, he vows to catch the frilly-necked monster and sets about building a monster trap with the help of Levi.

Elaborate - Create short imaginative, informative and persuasive texts using growing knowledge of text structures and language features for familiar and some less familiar audiences, selecting print and multimodal elements appropriate to the audience and purpose.


(Disclaimer: The term ‘monster’ is used purely to refer to the title of the episode and doesn’t reference Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander cultural beliefs. The terms monster, myth, fable and folk lore are literary references and are not intended to cause offence or disrespect. The Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) acknowledges the continuing link and importance of the Dreaming for Aboriginal peoples and/or Torres Strait Islander peoples across Australia.)

Dragons, Yowies, Bunyips, Mumugas and other monsters

Using a map of Australia, ask the class to find Aboriginal stories of a ‘monster’ and indicate on the map which language group is associated with which story.

Read different stories and news reports of sightings.

List the numerous names associated with the Bunyip, Yowie and/or Mumuga across all language groups: Yuuri – little man; Yuuriwinowi – hairy woman; Doolagahl – great hairy man. Find examples of artworks that portray the ‘monster’.

As a class, create a pin board (electronic or physical) to identify language names, stories, and illustrations of different monster spirits across Aboriginal language groups.

Ask students to select either the non-Indigenous dragon symbol or the Dharawal ‘Mumuga’ spirit. The Dharawal people, from the south coastal areas of New South Wales, tell stories about the Mumaga, a monster which lived in caves in mountainous areas.

Ask students to write or invent a short fictitious news alert (for print, radio, TV, or social media) about a recent sighting of either a dragon or a Mumuga in their local neighbourhood. The news alert can be oral or written, but it should be accompanied by an illustration or photo, a caption and testimony from a witness to the sighting.

As a class, view the short clip from the program, My Strange Pet:

  • My Strange Pet
    Henry has a pet Quonkka called Basil, who lives in a hole in his backyard. A Quonkka is a very rare Australian marsupial with six legs, 4 ears, 3 nostrils, and a big need for attention. Basil is part woolly mammoth, part rabbit, but all heart. He can fly like an eagle but he lands like a fridge. With his sister Peggy as camera operator and sometimes assistant, Henry sets out to make a series of reportage stories to teach the kids at school about his pet Quonkka.

Explain to the class that Basil may look like a ‘monster’ but to Henry he is the family pet. Have the class consider how the role of a monster creature has been reversed in this clip.

Have students consider and respond to the question: How does the audience understand the relationship of Henry, the ‘hero’, and Basil, the ‘villain’ in this story?

Ask students to select an Australian mythical ‘monster’ and consider how they could develop a story where the ‘monster’ is domesticated and it becomes their pet. Have the students write a short story about looking after this ‘monster’ pet in their backyard. Encourage students to illustrate the story and use a publisher software program to make the story into an eBook.

Teacher References