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Meaning[ edit ] The word bunyip is usually translated by Aboriginal Australians today as "devil" or "evil spirit". Some modern sources allude to a linguistic connection between the bunyip and Bunjil"a mythic 'Great Man' who made the mountains and rivers and man and all the animals.
In the early s, Prime Minister Paul Keating used this term to describe members of the conservative Liberal Party of Australia opposition. Characteristics[ edit ] Bunyipartist unknown, from the National Library of Australia digital collections, demonstrates the variety in descriptions of the legendary creature.
Descriptions of bunyips vary widely. George French Angus may have collected Researching newspaper articles description of a bunyip in his account of a "water spirit" from the Moorundi people of the Murray River beforestating it is "much dreaded by them It inhabits the Murray; but Its most usual form According to the report, the bunyip had been speared after killing an Aboriginal man.
Antiquarian Reynell Johns claimed that until the mids, Aboriginal people made a "habit of visiting the place annually and retracing the outlines of the figure [of the bunyip] which is about 11 paces long and 4 paces in extreme breadth.
Writing inCharles Fenner suggested that it was likely that the "actual origin of the bunyip myth lies in the fact that from time to time seals have made their way up the Murray and Darling Rivers ". He provided examples of seals found as far inland as Overland CornerLoxtonand Conargo and reminded readers that "the smooth fur, prominent 'apricot' eyes, and the bellowing cry are characteristic of the seal",  especially southern elephant seals and leopard seals.
When confronted with the remains of some of the now extinct Australian marsupials, Aborigines would often identify them as the bunyip. As the creature's bill was described as having serrated projections, each "like the bone of the stingray ", this bunyip was associated with the indigenous people of Far North Queenslandrenowned for their spears tipped with stingray barbs and their proximity to the cassowary's Australian range.
Another association to the bunyip is the shy Australasian bittern Botaurus poiciloptilus.
Unfamiliar with the sights and sounds of the island continent's peculiar fauna, early Europeans believed that the bunyip described to them was one more strange Australian animal and they sometimes attributed unfamiliar animal calls or cries to it.
The following is not an exhaustive list of accounts: Hume find of [ edit ] One of the earliest accounts relating to a large unknown freshwater animal was in when Hamilton Hume and James Meehan found some large bones at Lake Bathurst in New South Wales. They did not call the animal a bunyip, but described the remains indicating the creature as very much like a hippopotamus or manatee.
The Philosophical Society of Australasia later offered to reimburse Hume for any costs incurred in recovering a specimen of the unknown animal, but for various reasons, Hume did not return to the lake. Sydney's Reverend John Dunmore Lang announced the find as "convincing proof of the deluge", referring to Biblical accounts of the Flood.
At the same time, some settlers observed that "all natives throughout these It has a head resembling an emu, with a long bill, at the extremity of which is a transverse projection on each side, with serrated edges like the bone of the stingray.
Its body and legs partake of the nature of the alligator. The hind legs are remarkably thick and strong, and the fore legs are much longer, but still of great strength.
The extremities are furnished with long claws, but the blacks say its usual method of killing its prey is by hugging it to death. When in the water it swims like a frog, and when on shore it walks on its hind legs with its head erect, in which position it measures twelve or thirteen feet in height.
This appears to be the first use of the word bunyip in a written publication. Australian Museum's bunyip of [ edit ] The purported bunyip skull In Januarya peculiar skull was taken by a settler from the banks of Murrumbidgee River near BalranaldNew South Wales.
Initial reports suggested that it was the skull of something unknown to science. Macleay and Professor Owen, had identified the skull as the deformed foetal skull of a foal or calf. Visitors flocked to see it, and The Sydney Morning Herald reported that many people spoke out about their "bunyip sightings".
His account records "in Lake Moodewarri [now Lake Modewarre] as well as in most of the others inland He adds, "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.
He emphasized the bunyip was believed to have supernatural powers. Stocqueler informs us that the Bunyip is a large freshwater seal, having two small padules or fins attached to the shoulders, a long swan like neck, a head like a dog, and a curious bag hanging under the jaw, resembling the pouch of the pelican.
The animal is covered with hair, like the platypus, and the colour is a glossy black. Stocqueler saw no less than six of these curious animals at different times; his boat was within thirty feet of one near M'Guire's punt on the Goulburn, and he fired at the Bunyip, but did not succeed in capturing him.
The smallest appeared to be about five feet in length, and the largest exceeded fifteen feet. The head of the largest was the size of a bullock's head, and three feet out of water.
After taking a sketch of the animal, Mr. Stocqueler showed it to several blacks of the Goulburn tribe, who declared that the picture was "Bunyip's brother," meaning a duplicate or likeness of the bunyip.Academic scholarship is a world of conversations.
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