Bunyip

:"This article is about a mythical creature. There is also a town called Bunyip, Victoria"Infobox Paranormalcreatures
Creature_Name = Bunyip


Image_Caption = "Bunyip" (1935) Artist Unknown, from the
National Library of Australia digital collections.
Grouping = Cryptid
Sub_Grouping = Lake monster
Country = Australia
Region = Throughout Australia
Habitat = Water
First_Reported = Early 1800s
Last_Sighted =
Status = Unsubstantiated

The bunyip (usually translated as "devil" or "spirit" [This translation does not accurately represent the role of the bunyip in Aboriginal mythology or its possible origins. It is probably rather an attempt by European settlers to rephrase a concept unknown to them in more familiar terms. The original meaning of the term "may" have simply been "Diprotodon" or "Palorchestes", but the bunyip as currently understood is a mythological creature distinct from other "spirit" entities in Aboriginal mythology and probably retaining some vestiges of actual prehistoric animals.] ) is a mythical creature from Australian folklore. Various accounts and explanations of bunyips have been given across Australia since the early days of the colonies. It has also been identified as an animal recorded in Aboriginal mythology, similar to known extinct animals.

Characteristics

Descriptions of bunyips vary widely. It is usually given as a sort of lake monster. Common features in Aboriginal descriptions include a dog-like face, dark fur, a horse-like tail, flippers, and walrus-like tusks or horns. According to legend, they are said to lurk in swamps, billabongs, creeks, riverbeds, and s. At night, their blood-curdling cries can be heard as they devour any animal that ventures near their abodes.

Early accounts

During the early settlement of Australia by Europeans, 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 animal 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 exhibition 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. The 'bunyip skull' disappeared from the museum soon afterwards, and its present location is unknown. [ [http://www.nla.gov.au/exhibitions/bunyips/html-site/evidence/skull.html Bunyips - Evidence ] ]

As European exploration of Australia proceeded, the bunyip increasingly began to be regarded as nonexistent. The mysterious skull was later identified as that of a disfigured horse or calf. The idiom '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.

The Greta Bunyip was a bunyip which was believed to have lived in the swamps of the Greta area, in Victoria, Australia. Locals often heard a loud booming sound which emitted mysteriously from the swamps, yet none of the frequent search parties were able to locate the source of the sound. Once the swamps were drained, the sound subsided. Some Greta locals believed that the bunyip moved on to another area, while others believed it had died once its habitat was gone. [cite book |last=Ellis (1873-1942) |first=Samuel Edward |title= A history of Greta : in which the writer touches on exploration, settlement, transport, conditions of life, development, fauna, with special reference to the bunyip and to "Esther" who preferred her rights before her privileges, and to the Kellys. |origdate= |origyear=ca. 1940 |origmonth= |url=http://librariesaustralia.nla.gov.au |format= |accessdate=2007-05-26 |edition=2nd? |series= |date= |year=1972 |month= |publisher=Lowden Publishing Co. |location= |language= |isbn=0909706247 |pages= 40p. |chapter= |chapterurl= |quote= Description: xii, [5] leaves of plates (1 folded)]

Explanations

Although no documented physical evidence of bunyips has been found, it has been suggested by cryptozoologists that tales of bunyips could be Aboriginal folk memory of the "Diprotodon", or other extinct Australian megafauna which became extinct some 50,000 years ago, such as the "Procoptodon", a Kangaroo-like animal, that had a rounded face and could lift its arms above head height, or the "Quinkana", a land-crocodile. [cite book |last=Shuker |first=Karl P. N. |authorlink=Karl Shuker |coauthors= |editor= |others= |title=In search of prehistoric animals; Do giant extinct creatures still exist? |origdate= |origyear=1995 |origmonth= |edition=1 |series= |date= |year= |month= |publisher=Blanchford |location= |language= |isbn=0 7137 2469 2 |oclc= |doi= |id= |pages= |chapter=5 |chapterurl= |quote=As far back as 1924, Dr C.W. Anderson of the Australian Museum had suggested that stories of the "bunyip" could derive from aboriginal legends of the extinct diprodonts - a view repeated much more recently in "Kadimakara" (1985) by Australian zoologists Drs Tim Flannery and Michael Archer, who nominated the palorchestids as plausible candidates.]

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 bush is sometimes credited for making the sounds of the bunyip. The bird is known to make a call that can easily be mistaken for the cries of a woman or child. Other species of birds, such as Bitterns and Bush Stone-Curlews emit blood curdling sounds that were sometimes attributed to bunyips. However, this is unlikely as the aborigines, having lived in Australia for such a vast amount of time would know these sounds.

A likely explanation for the legend of the bunyip relates to their reported locations on the Murray-Darling Basin. Australian Fur Seals are known to swim up the river system during times of flood, subsequently becoming trapped within the river system once the flooding subsides. There have been dozens of Fur Seals killed or captured as far north as Canberra,Fact|date=August 2007 incidentally, in close proximity to areas where a Bunyip has been heard or sighted. To an inland dwelling Aborigine, a Fur Seal, seen for the first time, would be a completely unfamiliar and frightening creature. Furthermore, many recorded descriptions of bunyips bear some commonality with seal physiology.

Cultural references

* The Bunyip River flows into Westernport Bay in southern Victoria and the town of Bunyip, Victoria is named for the legendary creature.
*As a part of the Monorail tour amusement at Coffs Harbour's The Big Banana, a mechanical bunyip appears out of the dam, which is a popular segment of the tour.
* "The Bunyip" is the banner of a local weekly newspaper published in the town of Gawler, South Australia. First published as a pamphlet by the Gawler Humbug Society in 1863, the name was chosen because, "the Bunyip is the true type of Australian Humbug!" [cite web | url = http://www.bunyippress.com.au/fixed/history.html | title = "The Bunyip" | accessdate = 2007-05-26 | author = | last = | first = | authorlink = | coauthors = | date= 2000-06-07-06-07 | format = | work = Home Page | publisher = "The Bunyip", (Gawler's Weekly Newspaper) | pages = | language = | archiveurl = | archivedate = | quote = Beneath the nineteenth-century dignity of colonial Gawler ran an undercurrent of excitement. Somewhere in the mildness of the spring afternoon an antiquated press clacked out a monotonous rhythm with a purpose never before known in the town. Then the undercurrent burst in a wave of jubilation - Gawler's first newspaper, "The Bunyip", was on the streets. ]
* There is a coin operated Bunyip in Murray Bridge, South Australia at Sturt Reserve on the town's river front. [cite web | url = http://www.adhills.com.au/tourism/towns/murraybridge/atractions.html | title = What to See & Do in Murray Bridge | accessdate = 2007-05-26 | author = | authorlink = | coauthors = | date = | format = | work =Murray Bridge Tourism Information | publisher = Adelaide Hills On-Line | pages = | language = | archiveurl = | archivedate = | quote = When a coin is inserted in the machine the Bunyip raises from the depths of its cave, booming forth its loud ferocious roar. ]
* "The Bunyip of Berkeley's Creek" ["The Bunyip of Berkeley's Creek", Jenny Wagner ISBN 0-14-050126-6] is a popular Australian children's picture book about a bunyip seeking to learn who he is by asking everyone he meets "What do bunyips look like?"
* The title inspired the "House of the Gentle Bunyip", ["House of the Gentle Bunyip", Hodgkinson St, Clifton Hill, Victoria (next to the Baptist Church) The house was finally saved by Ecumenical Housing (now Melbourne Affordable Housing) and redeveloped as a home for low income people. The campaign and VCAT hearings set many precedents for planning in Victoria.] was a community house established in the 1970s and preserved in 1997 after the longest community picket in Australian history.Fact|date=June 2007
* A tale of a bunyip is included in Andrew Lang's "The Brown Fairy Book" (1904).
* Barry Humphries once played a bunyip, in about 1955 in Melbourne, in a children's play called "The Bunyip and the Satellite", produced by Peter O'Shaughnessy. Having little to go on, he created the character as a prancing, bird-like clown. Humphries recreated the character shortly afterwards on live television for Melbourne's Channel Seven, telling fanciful stories to a juvenile audience.
* During the 1950s and 1960s, "Bertie the Bunyip" was a children's show in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, created by Lee Dexter, an Australian. [ [http://www.tvparty.com/lostbertie.html "Bertie The Bunyip" ] ]
* "Dot and the Kangaroo", an animated musical feature from Australia (1977) showed an aboriginal painting representation of the feared bunyip during the song about the bunyip. The sequel "Dot and the Smugglers" (1987) has Dot rescue not only the native animals, but also a bunyip.
* During the 1980s, Australian children's television and literature featured a more friendly version of the bunyip - "Alexander Bunyip" created by Michael Salmon.
* Another depiction of a bunyip in the 1989 illustrated children's book "A Kangaroo Court" ["A Kangaroo Court" ISBN 0-333-45032-9, Mary O'Toole, illustrated by Keith McEwan] .
* In the 1986 Australian film "Frog Dreaming", a Bunyip known as 'Donkegin' is said to haunt a pond within a national park called Devil's Knob. Yet at the end of the film, despite supernatural happenings, Donkegin is discovered to have a much more earthly origin.
* Bunyips in the Australian Classroom - The Bunyip Collaborative Web project is a learning sequence.
* A popular New Zealand reggae band was named 'Bunyip' with a career that spanned from 1998 to 2003. During this time they released the hit singles and toured NZ extensively.
* In the American TV series, "Charmed", the Bunyip is one of many demonic creatures and is depicted in the Book of Shadows.
* The Bunyips are monsters named in the "Doctor Who" audio drama, "Dreamtime". The story also features references to other Indigenous Australian mythology, such as Uluru.

* Depictions of bunyips outside of Australia are often unrelated to the various earlier depictions and fictional accounts. The name is given to monsters in video games such as "Ty the Tasmanian Tiger"; "Chrono Cross"; "Final Fantasy X"; "Culdcept"; a version of "The Sims 2"; "Animal Crossing", and the Nintendo DS follow-up "". In the animated series "Mona the Vampire", it is depicted as a large rabbit.

* The MMORPG "RuneScape" has a Bunyip that you are able to summon. A summoned Bunyip will give the owner the ability to eat raw fish (provided he/she has the correct cooking level to cook the fish), and will restore hitpoints when in battle.

* The pen-and-paper RPG "" defines them as a type of marsupial werewolf once present in Australia.

* The online RPG "AdventureQuest" has the bunyip as a monster, although it differs significantly in appearance. It appears as a large black creature with the mixed features of a wolf and a rabbit.

* In the Australian children's show, "Hi-5", Kellie Hoggart took a journey to 'Bunyip Island'. Jennifer Peterson-Hind also visited 'Bunyip Island' on the American version of the show.
* In the popular American animated cartoon series "South Park", God is portrayed as a bunyip.
* The bunyip is also portrayed in the book "Interlopers" by Alan Dean Foster as an inimical spirit.
* Bunyip Information Systems was a Montreal company whose Archie search engine for files on FTP sites is generally regarded as the Internet's first search engine.

ee also

*

External links

* [http://www.cryptozoology.com/cryptids/bunyip.php The Bunyip: Mythical Beast, Modern-day Monster]
* [http://www.nla.gov.au/exhibitions/bunyips/ Bunyips ... enter the lair of the bunyip if you dare] - interactive for kids / National Library of Australia
* [http://www.pantheon.org/articles/b/bunyip.html Bunyip (Encyclopedia Mythica)]
* [http://www.skepticworld.com/cryptozoology/bunyip.asp Bunyip - Skeptic World]
* [http://www.newanimal.org/bunyip.htm Bunyips in Cryptozoology]

References

Further reading::cite book |last=Smith |first= Malcolm|author= Malcolm Smith|coauthors= |editor= |others= |title= Bunyips & Bigfoots: In Search of Australia's Mystery Animals|origdate= |origyear= |origmonth= |url= |format= |accessdate= |accessyear= |accessmonth= |edition= |series= |date= |year= 1996 |month=January |publisher= Millennium Books (Au) |location= |language= |isbn=978-1864290813 |oclc= |doi= |id= |pages= 207 pages|chapter= |chapterurl= |quote=

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