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Bunyip

THE BURLEIGH BUNYIP

In 1930, there were a number of reports of loud booming noises coming from the local swamp. The noises would sometimes stop for a couple of months, but they would eventually come back just as before. There were also reports of missing cattle and people who were assumed dead. When the white people heard of this they thought that the animal must be something unknown and so they created the name Bunyip. There were also many humorous stories and drawings in the local Gold Coast Bulletin.

A thousand pound reward was offered to the person who found the Bunyip, dead or alive. As soon as the reward was offered people (usually those who had just come out of the pub) would go into the swamp in search for the Bunyip, hoping to become town heroes. One night (after a few beers) a couple of men decided to claim the reward. So off they went with a horse and cart into the wet land. This swamp was home for the swamp pheasants so as soon as the horse heard the eerie call of the swamp pheasants it bolted, wrecking the cart and leaving the men behind. The men were forced to spend all night trying to find their way home.

In 1938 Charles Finamore, a sanitary contractor, repeatedly came across a ten foot long crocodile at the northern end of the Miami Swamp, which is very close to the local rubbish tip. He followed the footprints for around 2.5 kilometres and encounted the remains of a cow. The bones were scattered everywhere. He continued to follow the tracks which led into the Miami Swamp. People were unconvinced that the crocodile was their bunyip because at the time the man in charge of the Brisbane Museum said Maryborough was as far south as the crocodiles could go. However a similar crocodile was shot in the Logan River, about 40 kilometres north of Burleigh. This discovery proved that it was possible for the crocodiles to survive further south. Of course the Aborigines knew that the bunyip was a crocodile all along.

The Bunyip story faded into myth as the area became more populated. What do you think? Could the Burleigh Bunyip still exist?

Historical Bunyip News

 

"The Bunyip" is in the South Australian,
16 February 1847, page 8b,
23 April 1847, page 4d,
"A Real Bunyip" on
24 November 1848, page 2f.

Information on the sighting of "interstate" bunyips is in the Register,
23 December 1856, page 2d and
SA Gazette & Mining Journal,
12 August 1848, page 4c.

An account of a Mount Gambier bunyip is in the Register,
30 December 1852, page 3a:

    When the monster of the bulrushes made his appearance, the blacks on the bank [of the lagoon]... set up a fearful yell... The animal was about 12 or 14 feet [long] and I suppose must be the bunyip, so long supposed to be a creation of the native's imagination.

The presence of a bunyip in a lagoon near Melrose is reported in the Register, 28 November 1853, page 3f:

    I [saw] a large blackish substance advancing towards the bank, which as I approached raised itself out of the water. I crept towards it... It had a large head and a neck something like that of a horse with thick bristly hair... Its actual length would be from 15 to 18 feet.

    I have been repeatedly told by respectable people that they have been seen an animal in the large waterholes of this colony... I have spoken to intelligent blacks respecting it, who confirmed the reports...
    (Register, 25 January 1854, page 3f.)

"The Bunyip" is in the Observer,
27 December 1856, page 6h.

A report and description of a bunyip sighted in a small salt water lake between Robe and Beachport are in the Register,
20 August 1881, page 5d.

The "Koolunga Bunyip" was the cause for concern in the early 1880s and the Register of 21 February 1883 at page 6c carries a lengthy report on the monster:

    An attempt will be made on Wednesday 21 February to capture the bunyip, which was last seen in the waterhole near to Mr Freeman's farm. Dynamite will be used...

    Our friend described the bunyip as much like a seal... The farmer's daughter, who saw it... about a week ago, describes it as being like a dog minus a tail. The farmer himself... says the animal is like a sheep dog.
    (Advertiser, 20 February 1883, page 4g.)

The capture of a "bunyip" near Dublin by Mr W.H. Cornish and subsequent events is reported in the Register,
19 August 1884, page 5b.

A report of a bunyip in Warra Warra Waterhole near Crystal Brook is in the Register, 31 January 1889, page 5b:

    Although seen during the last ten days by no less than six different persons, none of them can give an intelligent description of what the bunyip is like... A trap has been set...
    (Also see Register, 6 February 1889, page 7g.)

"The Bunyip of the South-East" is in the Register,
6 October 1893, page 5c,
Observer,
7 October 1893, page 31e.

The Register of 27 August 1895, page 5b makes mention of a bunyip lurking in Umpherston Cave, near Mount Gambier.

"Berri's Mystery Creature" is in The News,
19 December 1932, page 8a.


Aboriginal legend has it that the Bunyip (more commonly known as Yowies) are creatures that lurk in swamps, creeks, waterholes and riverbeds. The Bunyip emerges at night time, often with terrifying cries and blood curdling screams.
Devouring any animal or human venturing near their home, it is said that women are their favourite prey, most likely because they are more defenceless.
There is no absolute description of Bunyips recorded. They have varied from animal to spirit form. Often the Bunyip has been described as a gorilla-type animal, varying to half human half animal and also as a spirit. The shape, size and colour of the Bunyip varies as much as it's description. Some have reported seeing the Bunyip similar to a fish, with the Bunyip having scales. Another with fur. Some have reported it as having fur, others with feathers. One witness reported seeing the Bunyip as similar to an Elephant, even down to the trunk. One report states the Bunyip as being similar to a giraffe, with its long necks and tail. Others claim to have spotted the Bunyip as having claws and horns. No physical evidence has actually been proven, although scientists suggest that they could have been a Diprotodon, which became extinct about 20,000 years ago. The natives were so frightened by this being, this Bunyip, that even after its extinction, they were too afraid to venture near waterholes. Their dreamtime stories were full of horror and death making it a much feared creature.
When white settlers started to befriend the Aborigines, they were told about this fearsome creature. Settlers were also warned about going near any waterholes at night, or near any known haunts of the Bunyip. Many times when the settler was out in the bushland at night, hearing strange, loud noises, they were sure that the Bunyip was out there, waiting to attack them. The existence of Bunyips was taken very seriously by the white settler.
It is thought the Bunyip legend originated from the era of 1932, during The Great Depression which was happening at this time. Often people would roam into the wilderness trying to avoid the hardships which fell upon many during this time. Some were escaping the law, others were simply travelling through this magnificent country. If the person was hiding from the law, or trying to escape the hardships, often when they heard some-one approaching they would hide. Many hid in the shrubbery, but some also hid in the swamps or lakes. To do this, they would create a snorkel made of bone through which they would breathe. Many times, thinking that their visitors had gone, they would emerge from the water covered with mud and slime. Screaming upon seeing the other person still there, the intruder naturally thought they had stumbled upon a Bunyip. As for the Bunyip having a taste for women above men or animals, it could be explained that the men having been alone for some length of time, took a fancy to the passing woman.
In the coastal town of Geelong, Victoria there was a report in July of 1845 of the finding of unfossilised bone on the banks of a small river. Apparently the bone formed part of the knee joint of an enormous animal. It was reported that a local Aboriginal person was shown the paper where he identified it straight away as a Bunyip bone. He then proceeded to draw a picture of the Bunyip, which is reproduced here.
 
Another resident of Geelong claimed that he mother had been killed by a Bunyip at Barwon Lakes, just a few miles from Geelong. There are also reports of another local Geelong woman being killed at the Barwon River where the barge crossed to South Geelong.
Yet another local Aboriginal was said to have shown several deep wounds on his breast which were made by the claws of a Bunyip he came across at the Barwon River.
There are several noted disappearances of persons from Lake Modewarre, which many say were the work of the Bunyip.
Many Australians now do not believe in the Bunyip and disregard it as being purely mythological. There are some though, who do still believe in the Bunyip. The Bunyip is quite the celebrity, being touted in children's books, as toys and even making it on to television shows and movies

Bunyip

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 

The bunyip ("devil" or "spirit") is a mythical creature from Australian Aboriginal mythology.

Characteristics

Descriptions of bunyips vary wildly. Common features in Aboriginal drawings include a horse-like tail, flippers, and walrus-like tusks. According to legend, they are said to lurk in swamps, billabongs, creeks, riverbeds, and waterholes. At night their blood-curdling cries can be heard as they devour any animal or human that ventures near their abodes. Their favourite prey is human women. They also bring diseases.

Reality or myth?

During the early settlement of Australia, the notion that the bunyip was an actual unknown animal that awaited discovery became common. Early European settlers, unfamiliar with the sights and sounds of the island continent's peculiar fauna, regarded the bunyip as one more strange Australian animal, and sometimes attributed unfamiliar calls or cries to it. At one point, the discovery of a strange skull in an isolated area associated with these 'bunyip calls' seemed to provide physical evidence of the bunyip's existence.

In 1846 a peculiar skull was taken from the banks of Murrumbidgee River in New South Wales. In the first flush of excitement, several experts concluded that it was the skull of something unknown to science. In 1847 the so-called bunyip skull was put on exhibitin in the Australian Museum (Sydney) for two days. Visitors flocked to see it and the Sydney Morning Herald said that it prompted many people to speak out about their 'bunyip sightings' "Almost everyone became immediately aware that he had heard 'strange sounds' from the lagoons at night, or had seen 'something black' in the water." It was eventually concluded that it was a 'freak of nature' and not a new species. However, a final mystery remains- What happened to the 'bunyip skull'? It disappeared from the museum and has never been sighted since.

As European exploration of Australia proceeded, the bunyip increasingly began to be regarded as a mythical animal. The mysterious skull was later identified as that of a disfigured horse or calf. The expression 'why search for the bunyip?' emerged from repeated attempts by Australian adventurers to capture or sight the bunyip, the phrase indicating that a proposed course of action is fruitless or impossible.

Explanations

Although no documented physical evidence of bunyips has been found, it has been suggested that tales of bunyips could be Aboriginal memories of the diprotodon, or other extinct Australian megafauna which became extinct some 50,000 years ago. The cries of the possum or koala could likely be mistaken for the bunyip, as most people are surprised to find koalas or possums are capable of such loud roars. The Barking Owl, a nocturnal bird that lives around swamps and billabongs in the Australian bush is sometimes credited for making the sounds of the bunyip. It has been proven that the Barking Owl screams like a woman injured or in trouble and many Aboriginal stories relate this to the noise the bunyip makes. The Barking owl's call can vary to a child's scream also


The Bunyip

Mythical Beast, Modern-day Monster
By Matthew J. Eaton

The Aborigines Dreamtime stories of creation were full of fantastic and magical beasts; the Bunyip was one of the beasts. In Dreamtime the Bunyip was a spirit, which inhabited river, lakes, swamps, and billabongs (former parts of rivers that were left behind when the course of the river was altered). Like other beasts in Dreamtime, the Bunyip was malevolent towards human beings. The Bunyip would defend it's watery home from all who invaded it, normally devouring the invader. At night the Bunyip was said to go and prey upon women and children. Because the Bunyip was such a threat to the Aborigines of the time whenever its terrifying bellowing cry was heard Aborigines steered clear of any water sources.

To the Aborigines the Bunyip was a beast of many different shapes and sizes. Some Bunyips were covered in feathers; some even had scales like crocodiles. Common features in most Aboriginal drawings of Bunyips are a horse-like tail, flippers, and tusks like the ones found on walruses. Modern Bunyip

The settler's view of the Bunyip varies greatly from that of the Aborigines. Whereas the Dreamtime Bunyip was a fierce man-killer, the more modern view sees them are herbivorous grazing animals. The Aborigine's fear of Bunyip can probably be traced back to a known aquatic man-killer, the saltwater crocodile. Settlers also report two different kinds of Bunyips. The more common of the two has a dog-like face and a long shaggy coat. The second and more rare of the Bunyips is the reported to have a long maned neck, as well as a shaggy coat. As to not create confusion between the two Bunyips; the common Bunyip will be called the Dog-faced Bunyip, and the rarer Bunyip will be called the Long-necked Bunyip.