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Australian Cryptozoology




On THIS page you will find DETAILED information about Australian Cryptids, including my Bunyip adventures, as well as a book resource for further research.

Australia has very unique animals, tear-shaped creatures called marsupials. There was the large and scary marsupial lion. We had a marsupial `tiger' which was not at all like a dingo, possibly closer to a Hyena. After spotting the Tasmanian Devil in the wild, and watching its movements (June 2015) it would seem to me much like a fox in behaviour: Australia's marsupial fox?


To add to this exciting array of unique animals, we also have various extinct animals, whose final days ended in the European conquest of Australia, possably in the 19th century, juding by various strange monster tales in that time. The Australian aboriginees have a good folklore full of huge monsters, perhaps based upon memories of the strange possible megafauna, and other creatures which once inhabited our land.
For instance, there was supposedly a monster which was a six meter lizard called the Whowie, who lived in a cave on the banks of the Murray River, which separates Victoria from New South Wales. The aboriginees claimed they got together, smoking the creature out of its cave, before setting upon it.

Those memories might well be thousands of years old, with supersitious men stil warning their children against venturing too close to a lake whose ancestors knew it to be inhabited with a strange monster, even if that was no longer the case, in more recent times.




Bunyips?



The following is a brief discourse on Bunyips and some of the locations of their possible former habitats in Australia. The aboriginees of yesteryear believed in them, which is where the name comes from. According to one of our pioneers, William Buckley, who saw the back of a Bunyip on one or two occasions, in thirty years of living with the natives, 1803-35 claimed that one killed an aboriginal woman.

Bunyips are more part of history than they are of biology, but they seem to have had features common to both reptiles and birds, essentially reptiles with feathers. Something like the head and possible back of an emu and the legs of a crocodile according to one description, but there are many descriptions. It is something like a platypus, insofar as it appears to be made up of bits and pieces from various known animals.

About Bunyips: Australia's alleged Lake Monsters



Bunyips are a type of cryptozoological animal located in Victoria, New South Wales, and Tasmania, and possibly elsewhere. Whatever they were, they seem to be extinct, their last vestiges vanishing with the incursion of white man between 200 and 150 years ago.

There are many descriptions of Bunyips. They may not all relate to just one creature. The following is a documentary regaring bunyips around the Lake Modewarre area.




My Youtube Doco on Bunyips



A Facebook page for an Australian discussion club I have made, on our Cryptids

Bunyip Locations


The following are locations where `creepy' bunyip-like activity has occured 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.


Victoria

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 aboriginees, 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 Assocaition, 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.

He wrote:

"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."


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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.



Tasmania



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.

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This is a nice pic I took of the lake in the Morning Mist. It is a mysterious place.



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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 occured 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!


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Lake Tiberias, Tasmania

This is where the Tasmanian bunyip story began in 1852. A duckshooter fired at `a large animal with glossy hairs'. If shooters were targetting 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.


Conclusions:

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 sources.

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?.



Links:

The internet is all about spreading information. If you would like your cryptozoology page linked here, please email me.




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