Darwin memorial | State Library of New South Wales
Darwin memorial, Wallerawang

The Darwin memorial, Wallerawang, 2006
Tim Johnman, sculptor and Philip Sparks, artist/blacksmith
Photograph kindly provided by Lithgow City Council, (c) 2009 


A Disbeliever in everything beyond his own reason, might exclaim, "Surely two distinct Creators must have been [at] work: their object however has been the same”
Charles Darwin, 19 January 1836

In the evening of 19 January 1836, Darwin walked along Coxs River at Wallerawang on the western edge of the Blue Mountains. He saw a number of platypuses cavorting.

The platypus behaved very much like a European water-rat and it was adapted to its environment in similar ways. But it was clearly a different species. Would the Creator, mused Darwin, create an entirely different species in the antipodes with similar adaptations? Why not just place the water-rat in Australia. A similar thought occurred about the potoroo (rat-kangaroo), which he had seen earlier in the day, and which acted very much like a rabbit: another piece of evidence to add to Darwin’s jigsaw. Species are not created once and for all but adapt to their environments.