The Bunyips of Australia



The Bunyip still has a vague description in Australia. According to the Australian folklore and dreamtime stories, the Bunyip is a mythical creature. It name is usually translated as "a malevolent spirit" or "a devil". However, varying explanations of the Bunyip regard that it is more than just a bed time story in the Aboriginal mythology. Rather, it is an actual creature, much like a rare animal, that lurks the inland waters across Australia.

The descriptions of the Bunyip vary largely from one area to another. It is often regarded as a monster that lurks in lakes. On drawings and sketches, it is portrayed as a hound-like animal with a tail much like that of a horse. Its legs appear as flippers and it usually has horns or tusks that look like that of a walrus.

According to popular stories of the Aborigines, the Bunyip lives in lakes, creeks, billabongs, swamps, and riverbeds of Australia. Many people who live near such bodies of water have reported the troubling cries of a Bunyip at night. Some have even claimed that they heard other animal sounds which were suspected to be the last cries of the victims of the Bunyip.

The Bunyips come in various forms. Based on the Aboriginal stories, some Bunyips are covered with feathers while others had scales much like that of crocodile. Some say that Bunyips have long shaggy coats and a head which resemble that of a dog's. While others say that it has a long neck with the face a great deal like that of a crocodile.

In 1846, a peculiar animal skull resembling that of a Bunyip was discovered from the banks of Murrumbidgee River in New South Wales. When it was put on display in the Australian Museum in Sydney, many people came to see the weird skull. After making the skull accessible to the public, the notion of the Bunyip as a real animal came into popularity. A lot of people reported that they had heard strange sounds from the lagoons during the night. Some also said that they saw "something" lurking in the inland waters of Australia.

Among the more serious sightings that were reported in the Sydney Morning Herald was that of George Hobler. According to George, one of the herdsmen saw a Bunyip while he was looking for his cows on a flooded area in South Wales. He said that the creature was as big as a calf. It came in a thick fur with darkish brown color. It had two large tusks and an elongated neck. It ears were large and pointed as that of its head. It also had a very large tail.

© Robert Benjamin


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Published: March 7, 2009