The following are locations where `creepy' bunyip-like activity has occurred in Australia. There are probably lots more locations than this. These are locations where something underneath the water has tried to overturn boats, or strange creatures were seen, dogs howling strangely as if something was nearby, etc. The locations where a Bunyip was definitively seen, by a reliable witness, such as William Buckley, are starred. The information is naturally very incomplete.
The problem with looking for these creatures is that they seem to have died out about 150 years ago. There has been a lot of climate change and human intervention since then and some of their former habitats have been fished out. Sightings relating to curious activity however, persist.
Lake Modewarre, Victoria
Photos by me
This place is pretty bleak. I visited in 2013 with my brother. The main selling point would be the birds. The place is a quicksand-ish like sink in its dried-out condition. I do not think there have been Bunyips here since William Buckley's day. There used to be an eel population (as there is currently at Loch Ness), and I think the Bunyip must have vanished when these went. Some say it was a seal.
William Buckley was an early pioneer in the area and one of the first white men to extensively explore Australia. An escaped convict, he laboured in building the failed colony at Sorento in 1803, in what was then the Port Philip district of the extensive colony of New South Wales.
Hearing of a relocation to Tasmania, he instead escaped into the bush, and lived thirty years with the aborigines, learning their ways, languages, and becoming one of them.
During the founding of Melbourne in 1835, he walked into the camp of the Port Philip Association, a private consortium who were (uniquely for an Australian city), in the process of establishing what would become `Melbourne' three years later. He announced himself as a shipwrecked sailor, but later revealed his true identity. After a pardon, he told stories about his experiences.
"in ... Lake Moodewarri as well as in most of the others inland ... is a ... very extraordinary amphibious animal, which the natives call Bunyip... I could never see any part, except the back, which appeared to be covered with feathers of a dusky grey colour. It seemed to be about the size of a full grown calf ... I could never learn from any of the natives that they had seen either the head or tail."
This is one of the better bunyip pictures, as found at the lake. It is one of the more authentic drawings, which distinguishes it from the less authentic popular drawings. I like it because there is a nice outline without too much detail. It is as if the artist has acted with some reserve.
NSW and ACT
Burrawang Swamp, NSW Southern Highlands
This is a fascinating case of the Burrawang Bunyip. Until the 60s a weird roaring heard in town was said to have been caused by the Bunyip, though this may have been just the wind. The Burrawang swamp is a strange and spooky place which was the core of an ancient volcano. The swamp itself is a collection of waterholes. One had a 40 foot length of pipe inserted without touching bottom. 'Tim the Yowie Man' suggests this is possibly where the Bunyip is or may have been hiding.
Lake Burley Griffin, Canberra, ACT
Photo by me.
It is hard to imagine that any large creature lives here, in the heart of Canberra, our capital, but some fishermen saw a large wake in the water, which was not caused by any boat. In addition dogs have been spooked by something in the water. The lake is partly artificial.
This is me, in 2013, (TV Tower Cafe!) `retrospectively' (not really) wondering if there is anything in the lake below. (Actually I was unaware of any lake monster stories at the time.) I am in the old television tower. Actually some people also saw an eel-like creature in the swamp as well, `about the width of a telegraph pole'. It's locally known as the `Burley Beast.' Some fishermen there have had experiences and wonder if it is a very large fish or something else which has been sometimes tugging on their lines and nearly pulling them into the water. ('Haunted Mysterious Australia', pp.18-9)
Of course, the idea of a lake monster in the CENTER of a city of 300,000 people is rather disconcerting! In the 70s a cryptozoologist called Ted Holiday wrote three books on the topic of the Loch Ness Monster. Initially he said it was the Tullymonster, a pre-Dinosaur monster with eyes on its arms and a head with only a mouth. Later on he said it's a quantum mechanical object as it's never there when you are ready to see it, but always when your camera is broken or out of reach. I felt the same way with the Black Hound, and maybe this explains why an inter-dimensional monster can live in this lake!
The cold central plateau of Tasmania is a primordial home for many strange ideas of animals hiding in lakes.
Lake St Clair, Tasmania
This is Australia's deepest lake, which automatically makes it very fascinating indeed! In the 80s, people complained that something underneath the water tried to overturn their boat. There is an interesting little ditty which was composed some years ago:
But they never go to Lake St Clair
They never dare
There's a monster there
There's a monster in Lake St Clair
In May/June 2015, I was lucky enough to stay at the lake for three days, engaging in various walking trails around the lake. I saw no monster. The water was finally calm on the third day, (a prerequisite for many monster sightings), yet nothing showed its face.
This is a nice pic I took of the lake in the Morning Mist. It is a mysterious place.
Here is a photo of something interesting. Outside the window of the Lake St Clair visitor center, lurks this sculpture, a marsupial lion!
Great Lake, Tasmania
In the 30s some more attempted boat-overturnings occurred here. In 1862, the naturalist Charles Gould wrote of `odd animals in groups of two or three' observed here. I have just briefly investigated this lake, in June 2015. This is me taking a few shots before driving off to lake St Clair with my brother. By the way, this is a `highland lake' and it is utterly freezing!
Lake Tiberias, Tasmania
This is where the Tasmanian bunyip story began in 1852. A duck shooter fired at `a large animal with glossy hairs'. If shooters were targeting possibly relic megafauna at this early stage, it is no wonder most of the sightings are confined to early times. The lake is not really on the central plateau proper, unlike the other lakes listed here.
Lake Dulverton, Tasmania
This lake is near Oatlands and is quite close to Lake Tiberias. In 1987, two tourists were driving nearby and camped on the shores of this lake. In the morning something large was sniffing around their camp. It was a strange noise which was described as some kind of bird. There was something bulky and tall in the water 50 meters away. It had a hairy body and stumbled towards them. They hopped in the car and left in a hurry.
I love this quote from the book Haunted Mysterious Australia
: "Before you dismiss the Tassie bunyip as a fraud, hoax or even a pile of crocodile bones, spend a night or two camped by one of the isolated highland lakes. For when darkness envelopes the mountain peaks, and the highland mist settles on the frigid waters, the thought of a bunyip lurking in the murky depths becomes more and more likely." (p. 113).
Soon enough I will do that, and get back on the results of the `expedition.'
Some reading on Bunyips, sea monsters in Australia
Holden, Robert (2001), Bunyips: Australia's folklore of fear
, National Library of Australia.
One of the
Tim the Yowie Man (2006), Haunted Mysterious Australia
, New Holland.
Found this in the library. Excellent information on various little-known mysteries, including Lake Burley Griffin.
Harvey J. Taylor (1994), The Tasmanian bunyip : alive and well?
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